Alison (bohemiancoast) wrote,

So, LJ has decided to be hardline on the breastfeeding photos. Think I'm joking? Here's an example. They've sent a notice of suspension to a user using this painting as a default icon:

it's the BVM breastfeeding, natch

and have told our very own ursinehenry that this image violates the TOS:

I can't actually see the nipple in this one

And of course, they're still cracking down hard on obscenities like this one:

turning off your pics was a good idea because this one is really depraved

If you're thinking 'oh, it's all right because they're only restricting default icons', or 'they're being reasonable by only restricting pictures with visible aereolas', I'd like to disagree. Many women are put off breastfeeding, or discouraged or embarrassed about doing it in public, because they believe that people will be offended. The position LJ has taken is one that only works if you believe that breastfeeding is a little bit dirty; all right in private, or under a blanket, but not where people might see.

But there is only one way to feed babies properly, and that's breastfeeding. Artificial feeding is a poor substitute. Poorer, younger women, and those with less education, are less likely to breastfeed, and if they start, they're more likely to stop quickly. And one reason for that is that they don't feed comfortable about breastfeeding; they don't see women around them doing it, and they don't see positive images of breastfeeding. Lawmakers are beginning to understand this; California, where Six Apart is located, has express legal provision exempting breastfeeding from obscenity legislation. The NHS explains "What we need is an environment where women of all ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds are comfortable with feeding their baby anywhere and at any time".

To make that vision a reality, we have to challenge those who attack it. It's no good to decide that this time it's trivial. Six Apart made a positive decision to go after a pile of entirely unobjectionable pictures of breastfeeding babies. I wouldn't have been remotely as angry if they'd always banned nipples and said 'sorry, breastfeeders, just bad luck'; though they'd still be wrong. But they specifically changed their TOS from 'sexual or graphically violent' icons in order to trap and remove breastfeeding icons. Six Apart think these icons are 'inappropriate', and they're wrong. I can't take my money away from them, because long ago I bought a permanent account. But I think I can help fight back.

Watch out for a new default icon soon (Edit: now with appropriate default icon: refresh if you aren't seeing the animation).

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