A mother’s breastfeeding photo uploads gets nasty comments and her account was then temporarily barred by Facebook, calling for a larger idea on why breast-feeding is so stigmatized?
Breastfeeding just like other physiological and natural processes of a woman’s body has somehow again garnered ill-fated public reactions when posted online. This includes Facebook barring her account, which they later amended and apologized for.
With tags of being called obscene or repulsive, more recently, a 29-year-old woman named Rebecca Wasnosik, from Missouri, US, had her account temporarily blocked by Facebook because she posted pictures of herself breastfeeding her own and stranger’s baby together. Here is her story.
One day, a friend of Rebecca’s asked her if she could breastfeed her newborn daughter, while she was away for a surgery. Rebecca said an instant yes. As Rebecca breastfed her 8-month-old and her friend’s 5-month-old, they cutely intertwined their little hands together. Seeming like the perfect ‘Awwww…’ moment, Rebecca took a photo of this sweet moment to post onto her Facebook page, along with the story behind it and hoping to normalize breastfeeding.
Some words Rebecca in the post are, “When the baby arrived you could tell she was hungry and exhausted and just needed some milk. I did what I hope any person would do for my child in a time of despair. I fed a stranger’s baby.”
Although Rebecca’s friend, the other baby’s mother, was also moved to tears to see the little ones in a such an innocent bonding moment, Rebecca was surprised that many comments she received on the post said it was “weird” or “unnatural”. She even had some disturbing and offensive comments where some called her a pedophile and even sexualized the picture by asking her to feed them next.
Within three days of the Facebook post, she could not log into her Facebook account because it had been restricted. Soon, after several attempts to enable her account again, her husband acted and asked Facebook why his wife’s account was suspended.
The Facebook officials said that it was suspended after the post was flagged by many people as inappropriate and in violation of the Facebook Community Rules. However, breastfeeding pictures are permitted on Facebook and are natural, they admitted that they want a community where mothers can share their experiences and moments freely with others on Facebook. So, the account closure was said to have been accidentally suspended because while going through various reports per day sometimes it can make them slip up. Facebook apologized and reactivated Rebecca’s account thereafter.
But when it comes to breasts, it seems that a vulgar display of them as sexual ornaments in porn or otherwise, even bikini photos are widely accepted, but not when breasts are meant and shown to feed babies (their actual purpose). Rebecca fiercely added in reference to the nasty Facebook comments and her breasts, “in case anyone forgot, they are mine, so I’m fairly certain I choose what happens with them”. Among all the stigma’s out there, hope this one slides past and becomes more acceptable.