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Lactivism Online

published at Mothering.com

Myspace.com has found itself on the frontlines of lactivism. The site is under fire after recently removing photos of women breastfeeding their children. Some members have been threatened with complete banning after replacing removed pictures. Members have reported artistic images, drawings, and “blinkies” that depict or support breastfeeding have also been removed.

The removed photos would not seem to violate the prohibitions of the site’s terms of use: “contains nudity, violence, or offensive subject matter.” In alerts of the removals, the site claims that its moderators are actively removing inappropriate material and that all photos must be “PG rated.” However, a quick search of Myspace.com yields thousands of photos of nude or semi-nude young women as well as Myspace profiles for online pornography such as suicidegirls.com. While the nonsexual act of breastfeeding is the target of censorship, even ads on the homepage of Myspace.com routinely display sexually suggestive images. The decision to censor breastfeeding photos further marginalizes nursing mothers in a culture where science extols the virtues of breast milk, yet society declares the act undesirable.

In protest, lactivist Myspacers have joined in a virtual nurse-in, posting images and statements on their user profiles declaring their support of breastfeeding as normal and natural and their solidarity with the mothers whose photos were removed. Some post blinkies that state, “I’m part of the virtual nurse-in,” with the new international breastfeeding symbol (the winning result of Mothering’s recent Breastfeeding Symbol Contest), artistic images depicting breastfeeding including Mary nursing Jesus, or home photos of breastfeeding children.

Protestors and supporters have signed an online petition in response (www.petitiononline.com/Brstfeed/petition.html), urging Myspace to recognize the flaw of removing breastfeeding photos. News of the protest and virtual nurse-in has quickly circulated around online message boards, Myspace bulletins, and Myspace groups.

The action from Myspace is similar to that of blog site LiveJournal.com, which removed or otherwise censored member breastfeeding photos and was similarly condemned by breastfeeding bloggers last year. Myspace members have set their profiles to private, disabling the feature that allows members to report images to protect themselves from scrutiny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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