I seemed to have caused somewhat of an uproar....I received an email from The Toronto Star....they wanted to do a story on the whole facebook fiasco! Then, a photographer came by last night to take some pictures of us at gymnastics class. Here is the link to the story:
More than 10,000 so-called `lactivists' have signed an online petition protesting the website's policy
Sep 12, 2007 04:30 AM Andrea Gordon Family issues reporter
Facebook is getting an online scolding after the social networking site deleted pictures of nursing babies it considered "obscene content" and closed the account of at least one Canadian mom.
Breastfeeding activists are emailing, posting and instant messaging their outrage. A new Facebook group set up to petition for a change in site policy – called "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" – has swelled from 7,000 members to more than 10,200 in the past few days.
"I was really ticked off," said Karen Speed, 33, an Edmonton mother of three boys, ages 9, 4 and 20 months, after five of her photos were deleted last month and her account shut down.
But she added in a phone interview the reaction from the online community has been gratifying.
"People seem to be coming out of the woodwork in support of this. I had no idea there was so much support for breastfeeding and I'm really encouraged by that."
Earlier this year, MySpace also came under fire for deleting photos of a Tacoma, Wa., woman breastfeeding her baby. But the latest incident on Facebook has sparked a much broader groundswell, from as far away as Australia.
It is being voiced in Toronto by mothers like Sarah Kaplan, owner of the new Evymama breastfeeding and maternity wear shop in the Bloor West neighbourhood. A self-described "lactivist," Kaplan founded her store "to glamorize breastfeeding." She has been spreading the word and encouraging moms in her online mothers' groups to join the chorus of objections.
"The fact is, breastfeeding is supposed to be anywhere, anytime," she said, while nursing her son, 7-month-old Remy, in her shop yesterday. Kaplan says with Canadian physicians and the World Health Organization recommending breastfeeding to 2 years of age, mothers need encouragement, not to be treated as if nursing is offensive.
Speed, who runs breastfeeding support groups for new mothers, decided last April to start an online version on Facebook, inviting women to ask questions, discuss breastfeeding problems and make contact with other moms. Soon afterward, she decided to post photos that had been on the website of her other breastfeeding support group, BLISS. "I always think seeing moms breastfeeding, and especially older kids, is important," she said in a phone interview yesterday. It's not uncommon for new moms to encounter difficulties and give up in frustration without extra support or tips, she said.
This summer, she was one of several mothers who received a standard notice from Facebook that a picture had been deleted because it was considered "obscene." She wasn't told which one, but later realized a photo of her "tandem breastfeeding" her two youngest sons was gone, even though her breasts were not visible.
Within days, she received messages that four more images had been removed.
After responding in an email and asking for clarification of what Facebook considered obscene, Speed says, she could no longer log on to her account.
All discussion threads, details of an upcoming Breastfeeding Challenge event in Edmonton, questions from mothers seeking help and contacts were gone.
"Please note, nudity, drug use, or other obscene content is not allowed on the website." He informed Speed that "We will not be able to reactivate your account for any reason."
In the meantime, there are still many pictures of breastfeeding mothers throughout Facebook in groups like La Leche League, Canadian Breastfeeding Mommies and particularly the "Hey Facebook" petition site set up since Speed was shut down.
"Photos containing an exposed breast do violate our terms and are removed," Chin said, according to a recent report in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Kelli Roman, a 22-year-old mother of two from Fallbrook, Calif., started the petition group in the summer after Facebook deleted several of the breastfeeding photos on her personal profile.
"It offended me," she said over the phone from California. "I can't see how anything about breastfeeding could be considered obscene, especially with the other things you see on Facebook ... like scantily clad women and so much sexualized stuff."
In fact, one of the top discussion threads in the "Hey Facebook" group is one that contains links to ``offensive" material on Facebook.
In Toronto, the issue of rights of breastfeeding mothers has had a high profile over the past couple of years, following incidents in which mothers were told to cover up or leave public places while nursing.
In June, the city approved a policy introduced by Toronto Public Health that allows mothers to breastfeed in any public place controlled by the city, including its agencies, boards and commissions.