Questioning the Areola Rule
So, as you probably know... my account was deleted from Facebook after about ten minutes of posting a breastfeeding photo. (It was re-instated the evening of October 1st.) September 30th at about 8:30 am I posted a status photo of myself breastfeeding my daughter, in solidarity with Emma Kwasnica who had had her entire profile deleted after posting similar photos. At about 8:45 I was prompted to log in while commenting on my status photo, I attempted to log in, but was unable to. It said that my account had been disabled for posting content that violated facebook regulations. So what are the regulations they speak of? In the Chicago Tribune company spokesperson Barry Schnitt stated: "We've made a visible areola the determining factor. It is a common standard."
Yet, if you look at a close up of the photo in question you will notice that there is no visable areola. So what exactly is their reason for photo deletion? Do you think I would have been removed if I were wearing a bathing suit which was showing the same amount of skin?
Another interesting aspect was the fact this was actually my FIRST snapshot posted which was not art related. All the other posts, including the photograph by Catherine Opie, were art related. The paintings which got removed back in April were all my own, and a facebook spokesperson told reporter Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star that it had been a "mistake," that my paintings had been "accidentally removed." If that were the case why was my entire account deleted within ten minutes of posting a breastfeeding photo, which, by their own standards, contained nothing obscene?
Here is another close-up. Once again no visable areola.
What is the common denominator in these images? You've got it- they are all breastfeeding images. It seems that Facebook, a massive powerful corporation, has determined that breastfeeding is obscene, and that children need to be protected from it. As a Canadian I know that my breastfeeding rights are protected under the Charter of Rights. Breastfeeding is protected in most of the United States as well. Why then are we letting a for profit corperation determine our rights for us? Why are we letting a corporation decide what we can and cannot see? I think this problem is not only breastfeeding related.
I also question the areola rule. Why is it that visable areola is obscene? Does context have nothing to do with the rule? It seems a shame to say that women's nipples are "dirty" or obscene, when that's what we put into an innocent baby's mouth. What about them can possibly be obscene in that context? Below is breastfeeding featured in a Mr. Rogers clip. I guess no one thought to protect the children from the obscene areolas in this one.
10/4/2010 01:01:18 am
Way to Go, Kate! Don't give up or give in! Keep fighting!!!
10/4/2010 02:01:09 am
Very nice reflections, Kate. I actually don't think breastfeeding is Facebook's target, except perhaps in a local sense, when Facebook just wants to laugh at how much it can delete and be irresponsible about. Women themselves are such good targets, aren't they.
10/4/2010 02:26:49 am
So glad to see you're back up. What a ridiculous bunch of statements from facebook, sounds like those little boys just weren't nursed long enough. Maybe they'll work it out in therapy someday, lol. I can't see the Mr. Rogers clip your blog mentions (guess the school district filter I'm accessing through has some little-boys-not-nursed-long-enough problems too). Can you post the link so I can cut and paste? Is it a youtube video?
10/4/2010 03:57:19 am
10/4/2010 04:11:02 am
mb west- here's the link! <3
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A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.