Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Call for Sanity In Activism

As many of you know, yesterday came with an epic win - the return of The Leaky B@@b's Facebook page - and then an epic loss mere hours later. Not only was The Leaky B@@b page removed again, but so was the Bring Back the Leaky B@@b page. (Please note: if you are new to this story, go here for some background.)

Immediately, there was the normal backlash against Facebook. And that was normal, and expected. We should keep in mind, though, that most likely, it was not a human being at Facebook who took the page down at 10pm. More likely, it was the automated system, tripped because of other people, for whatever reason, reporting The Leaky B@@b as offensive. Mark Zuckerberg is not sitting in an office cackling and deleting breastfeeding pages because he has nothing better to do with his time.

Does that make things right? Absolutely not. And, as Jessica Martin-Weber, creator of The Leaky B@@b, has pointed out, it is indicative of a larger problem - Facebook's "delete until proven innocent" stance and the inability to be exempted if you are operating a page that has certain terminology but nothing of a sexual nature on it. (For more, please read Jessica's press statement.)

Since this is what's going on, clearly we should be doing things to ensure that Facebook changes that, right? ...Right????

Except that's not what's happening.

Overnight, angry lactivists have started seeking out and reporting other groups "because they're more offensive than breastfeeding!!!" (I want to make it VERY CLEAR HERE that Jessica Martin-Weber has NOT called for this to occur. This action is not sanctioned by anyone involved with creating or maintaining the Leaky B@@b or its online community. They should not be held responsible for these actions.) I won't list the fanpages that were reported here, but I will say that while they were raunchy in some cases, they were generally not containing nudity and were usually just silly, immature things that people had "liked." Many of them contained women in bras or bikinis. There was even a call - again, NOT from Jessica - for everyone to report Playboy at the same time so THAT page would be crashed.

This is bullshit, guys, and it's got to stop.

First of all, we all find different things to be offensive. I'm offended by Pajama Jeans and Cami Secrets, but you have the right to wear them. No two people reading this blog can probably agree on what is and is not offensive right now. And, guess what? It doesn't matter what I find offensive. I am a grown woman, and I can choose to not look at things that offend me. As long as something doesn't involve the abuse of someone else and it is involving people who are over 18, I don't really get to sit on my high horse and cast judgment on the masses. Sorry, but it's true.

Secondly, breasts have a dual function. I talked about this in my last blog post, but I'm gonna talk about it again. I have pictures on my profile at Facebook of me nursing my kid - and I have pictures of me with epic cleavage in the Victoria's Secret Miraculous bra. Neither one, to me, is offensive. I'm an adult, I posted those pictures, they convey different messages, yet they are both acceptable. A friend of mine has a burlesque company and posts pictures of her ladies and herself clad in their awesomely hot costumes. Another friend is a photographer and sometimes takes risque pictures. And yet another photographer friend has wrapped maternity pictures. I see nothing wrong with any of those things, but some of you may find them offensive. And that's whatever. Again, your right to have those opinions, and your right to not look.

The Facebook policy of deleting until proven innocent started as a way for people to get pages investigated that seriously did have adult content. Or abusive things. Or child porn. It has, because people are douchebags, morphed into "If I find it offensive, NO ONE ELSE HAS THE RIGHT TO SEE IT!" And that sucks. You don't actually get to sanitize the world around you to your specifications, folks.

And, finally, allow me to point out that if you're reporting pages and encouraging others to, and they aren't actually against Facebook's standards, you are just as much of an asshole as the people reporting The Leaky B@@b. Yup, pot, you're black. Just because breastfeeding is morally loftier to you than ogling boobs doesn't make you right. You're still a douche. The end.

Now, after that bit of tough love, here's how you can actually help the Leaky B@@b - no reporting involved!

Send an e-mail or call a local TV station or newspaper. Tell them about what's going on. Ask them to pick up the story. Provide links to The Leaky B@@b and the press release.

Join Jessica's new page, Join TLB in support of Women's Health and the new Bring Back the Leaky Boob...again page (run by my friend Atina, who is a rockstar.)

Tweet, share, blog about them, about the situation.

Contact Mark Zuckerberg on his page.

Write to internet media sources and encourage them to run with the story.

Petition pro-bfing celebrities like Jenna Elfman, Kourtney Kardashian, Helena Bonham Carter, and Christina Aguleria to make a statement.

Call Facebook and urge them to reinstate the page and also to rethink their policy of instantly removing reported pages. 650-543-4800

I also asked Jessica to send me any ideas she has, so if and when she does, I shall post them here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Love Letter to My Closest Ladies

Dear Boobs,

Thank you for being so cool in so many ways.

When I was younger, I so wanted to have a set of you, and I didn't even really know why. You were just so intriguing. You took your sweet time bothering to show up, but you eventually came.

Throughout the years, I dressed you in leopard prints and lace and sometimes boring beige. We went through a lot together, and I always maintained that you were pretty freaking awesome. In fact, you've even been my nickname before - proof positive that you ladies have way more fame than I do.

When my first child was born, you were a source of amazement and anguish. You did your job for 14 months, and then went back to the high life, clad in Victoria's Secret and being totally sexy.

Now, you're a working set again, and you spend a lot of time nourishing a baby. But you don't complain, and you do such a fantastic job. From seven pounds to seventeen, that was all you, ladies. You are miraculous like that.

But I still see you as sexy, too, when you don't have a baby latched to you. You're still rockstars, and you still get second looks.

Love, me

...And in a segue...

that's the issue I sometimes have with breastfeeding advocacy. "Boobs are for babies! Stop sexualizing breasts, America!!!!!"


Breasts are baby feeding tools AND sexual devices. They are. I can be a hot sexy lady and a nursing mom. Women aren't confined to one particular role - neither are our body parts. The dual function of breasts doesn't mean I should have to cover up, or that people should be offended. It means that damn, boobs are awesome. Fun for the whole family! Lol.

So today, this is my big giant YAY to boobs. Whether they're small boobs or big boobs, nursing boobs or cleavage-y boobs, boobs in a turtleneck or boobs in a string bikini - boobs are great. We should recognize that they can have duality and appreciate everything they are and can be. Don't try to box the ladies in. Embrace them for everything they are.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hey, hey, ho ho...Why Facebook (might) have to go...

I was all set to finish up this great blog I've been tweaking here and there on breastfeeding myths this morning. And then I decided to check Facebook from my phone this morning. And my morning instantly became a little more irritable.

Some last night, you see, Facebook removed the fan page for The Leaky B@@b.

The Leaky B@@b is a support site for breastfeeding mothers. They can get on there, commiserate, ask questions, et cetera. There are forums for The Leaky B@@b, but most people honestly used the fan page instead. It was close, no need to log into another site. And it was a community. And a generally respectful one where people encouraged you and didn't judge you (mostly) if you needed to supplement with formula or if you were getting ready to quit because you just couldn't do it for whatever reason. Sure, the ladies there would try to talk you down...but ultimately, if that was what you had to do, they wouldn't blackball you and taunt you or tell you how if you were them, you would totally have succeeded because of blah blah blah.

First of all, you have no idea how rare that is in a parenting community. Usually, oneupmanship there is a blood sport (as my friend Summer wonderfully put it.) Secondly, breastfeeding support is a HUGE hurdle for breastfeeding moms. Most don't have it, or don't have enough of it. The numerous studies showing a need for breastfeeding support is literally why I have a job.

Facebook, however, seems to loathe breastfeeding. Because they blindly delete breastfeeding pages/photos/etc ALL. THE. TIME. The Leaky B@@b is the latest in a looooong list of casualties. Facebook's official stance is that, hey, they love breastfeeding, you just can't show nipple. Except that they regularly remove breastfeeding pictures, even when they DON'T show anything. If you call them on it, they may or may not bother reinstating them. It really depends on their whims. Yet pictures from S&M scenes can be easily found on Facebook - half-naked underaged teens can be found on Facebook - you can find pro-ana, pro-mia, holocaust denial groups, and, every once in awhile, pro-pedophile groups. This is all totes fine to Facebook. But breastfeeding? Well, not so much.

So here's where I stand. I am a passionate breastfeeding supporter. This is the work I do, and what I plan to continue doing. I am a peer counselor, and, as of October, should be an IBCLC. I boycott Nestle, and a large part of the reason is the horrible practices that have that put the smackdown on breastfeeding. Yet here I sit, on Facebook, while calling myself a breastfeeding activist and supporter, while they tear down seemingly everything aimed at helping women to do something that WHO, the AAP, the White House and the Surgeon General all agree that more of us really, really need to do for a plethora of seriously important reasons. And so I sort of feel like I'm eating a Crunch bar while telling a woman in a third world country that Nestle is awful and their formula will hurt her baby. I feel like a huge, hypocritical jerk.

If Facebook quickly reinstates TLB, I'll probably stay on. But even then, I will be awaiting the social networking site that does to Facebook what it did to MySpace. Eagerly. And hopefully they won't be such douches.

For those of you interested in helping get The Leaky B@@b back on Facebook, you can join this page and you can let Facebook know how ridiculous they are being through Mark Zuckerberg's page. You can write in to and tell them how you feel, too! PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU DECIDE TO TAKE ACTION, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE A JERK IN YOUR COMMUNICATIONS! Everyone who has had an account reinstated says that you get a MUCH better response by being polite and factual.