Are Photos of Breastfeeding Obscene?
Yes, according to Facebook’s obscenity clause. Recently, the world’s largest social network, as well as the comedy website Funny or Die, have come under fire for taking down photos or videos of moms nursing their babies, citing the “obscenity” clauses in their terms of service as justification.
Some background from The New York Times:
In recent weeks social networks like Facebook have come under fire for deleting pictures that show children breast-feeding and for closing accounts of the mothers who posted the photos. In some of these cases the mothers were told they had violated the site’s terms of service by publishing sexual or obscene material. A separate online campaign has urged the children’s television series “Sesame Street” to show more images of breast-feeding.
Funny or Die, which is directed at an 18-and-over audience, often posts R-rated movie trailers and other bawdy content. But it does not appear to have a strict no-nudity policy: bare breasts can be seen in blooper videos on the site, and in the short “Jon Benjamin’s Ultimate Trick Shot Video” the camera frequently lingers on the genitals of a naked man.
Does this make sense to anyone?
I, for one, don’t understand why Funny or Die permits close-ups of a naked penis but not a bare breast from which a child is eating. And Facebook is closing the accounts of moms who post breastfeeding photos…really? Some people might argue in support of the ban saying they don’t want to see someone else breastfeeding, but I say don’t look, or, if you’re really bothered by it, de-friend the person. I cringe every time one of my Facebook friends posts a photo of their baby’s genitalia–for starters, I think it’s a crazy violation of the baby’s privacy–so I just don’t look at those photos. If that parent is comfortable with sharing that kind of photo with their social network, who am I to stop them or say it isn’t right?
What do you think? Are breastfeeding photos obscene? Is Facebook and Funny or Die right to ban them? If so, are there other photos that should be banned on the same principle?