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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.