28 December 2008

Facebook vs. the exposed bosoms of motherhood

In the news today is a story about some mom who got pissed off that Facebook removed photos of her breastfeeding her kid. It snowballed into a tens of thousands of moms uniting to protest Facebook, including a "nurse-in" outside of their headquarters.

Seriously?!? Did I read this right?

Yes, dozens of news stories and forum posts go on and on about this and I am completely befuddled by the ridiculousness of it all. In particular, I fail to understand the actions and words of many people protesting Facebook. Let's go over some of the breastfeeders' arguments as to why breastfeeding photos should be permitted.

(a) Breastfeeding is natural.

So are sex and taking a dump. Oh, and vomiting and the female monthly cycle. Would you be as supportive of people posting photos of themselves having sex and pooping and doing all of their other natural bodily functions all over Facebook, as you are of breastfeeding? Some people take this further and say that breastfeeding should not be deemed objectionable because other mammals breastfeed in the wild. Animals in the wild breastfeed, but the omnivores among them (like humans) also kill their prey. So it seems that killing other species for food is natural since it is found in the mammalian wild. So let's toss some photos of people killing cows and chickens since hey, we have to eat, don't we? Killing other animals for food is natural, just like breastfeeding!

(b) Breasts are not obscene.

It doesn't matter what you think is obscene. What matters is that Facebook has a terms of use (noting that the breastfeeders in question explicitly agreed to in order to gain access to the site) which says that you cannot use their site to "upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable." So if Facebook thinks that a breastfeeding photo is obscene, it is their right to do so. Its a free country, ya know, and your standards of what qualifies as obscene or sexual are not necessarily going to be the same as Facebook's. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Opinions are not facts. So you can think that the photos of your tot suckling on your boob are fine, and Facebook can disagree. Deal with it. It is Facebook's website! If you don't like it, then leave. Facebook is not a dictator telling you what you can and cannot do with your life - they are setting guidelines for what you can or cannot do on their virtual property.

(c) Other media outlets show more explicit sexual behavior that doesn't get censored, so why should breastfeeding photos be censored on Facebook?

This argument makes no sense at all to me. Ok, you campaigning mothers out there. I guess that when little Sally tells you that she wants to wear a see through shirt with no bra to school, you're gonna say yes if she argues that teenagers wear far more revealing clothing on television. And when little Sally tells you that its ok for her to be having sex because she is using condoms but other girls out there have unprotected sex, then you'll let her do it, right? Yes, I'm exaggerating, but its an extension of the logic in this argument. Don't use someone else's bad example as justification for your own. Facebook has no control over what other media outlets allow or disallow. If you don't like what you see on a particular channel or in a particular magazine or whatever other media outlet, then walk away from it and choose to support another media outlet that meshes better with your personal taste.

If you are trying to force an entity to change their opinion so that it matches yours, then you, good sir, are a harsh lil dictator. Does it make you feel better to exert control over others? Does it make you feel better about yourself knowing that others agree with you? So why, you ask, is it ok for Facebook to tell you what the rules are, and not ok for you to smack them around for it? Facebook said, "Hey, this is my house party and you need to abide by my terms while you're here," and you said "Ok" in order to get through the door and enjoy Facebook's heated pool and wicked awesome h'or d'oeuvres. Your being there, however, doesn't give you the right to rearrange the furniture and demand that the chef make pizza rolls instead of pigs in a blanket.

  • Do I think that there is anything wrong with breastfeeding? No! I think that breastfeeding is a magnificent part of motherhood.
  • Would I breastfeed in public? Goodness no. If I wouldn't expose my boob in public without a baby attached to it, then I'm not going to expose my boob in public with a baby attached to it. I don't see how having a baby suckling makes any difference with regard to whether the boob itself it ok to flaunt.

I think that there are two separate issues here. (a) Whether it is ok to breastfeed in public, and (b) Whether it is ok to have boobs exposed, and the answer that Facebook seems to have provided is yes, it is ok to breastfeed in public, but no, having boobs hanging out all over the place is not. Contrary to some of the obsessive comments made by breastfeeders opposing Facebook, Facebook is not telling you that breastfeeding is bad. The two issues are not inseparable. You don't have to have the majority of your boob visible to the entire world in order to breastfeed. Many laws in the United States protect the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public, but I hardly believe that the intent was to have a parade of exposed bosoms gadding about.

So, for the two or three of you reading my blog (*waves at family*), this is my opinion. I respect the opinions of those who disagree, even if I don't understand them, or even if I think they are based on faulty logic or no logic at all. Goodness knows that I have no proper justifcation for some of my opinions, and my purple-loving friend points this out to me all of the time. So, if you disagree, good for you! Diversity is the spice of life.

25 December 2008

Star Trek takes one step closer to religion

So for you "normal" people who don't follow Star Trek happenings, there is a new movie featuring the shenanigans of the crew in their noob days, which is potentially coming out this upcoming spring. Whilst perusing a fan site, this photo showed up. Yes, some dude kit bashed his pez dispenser collection to make a menora, complete with tag line "to boldly go where no Jew has gone before!"

If I weren't smiling with glee at the silliness of it all, I would be more concerned about the unsettling meshing of Star Trek with religion. Eep!