Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
Breastfeeding… LiveJournal: NO. Minti: YES.
Daddytypes wrote about Valleywag writing about what a LiveJournal blogging mother named Cindy wrote on a LiveJournal breastfeeding blogging community called Boob Nazis. The Exposing LJ Abuse blog also has its own running account of events. My turn! My turn!
Background: LiveJournal informed Cindy an icon she attaches to her messages was “inappropriate” and issued her an ultimatum to remove it as her default user picture, lest they suspend her online journal. Her icon was a breastfeeding scene. The gals at Boob Nazis don’t take kindly to being asked to censor depictions of the most natural, most happy and healthy act in the world. As of this writing, negotiations are underway with LiveJournal’s parent company, Six Apart, to reach a resolution. (FYI, Six Apart hosts Thingamababy through its Typepad.com service.) Visit Boob Nazis for the latest information. If I’m informed of a response published by Six Apart, I’ll happily link it.
My reaction: What is there to negotiate? Either Six Apart digs in its heels, or it accepts breastfeeding images. For people who recognize public breastfeeding as normalâ€”that
breasts are not obsceneâ€”requiring you to conceal yourself, even as
an icon, is no different than being told to cover up because of your
race or gender or hair style or style of shoes or… or… Would you be happy being asked to move to the back of the bus to appease the sensibilities of an ignorant few? Hell, to appease the sensibilities of an ignorant majority?
Eye-popping brain-searing Internet porn is available to anyone of any age with a few novice clicks. It is outrageous to take issue with positive and healthy portrayals of the human breast. It’s just plain absurd when those portrayals take place in an adult medium (e.g., the Internet). That’s why Internet filters exist and good parents supervise their children’s usage. Moreover, spend some time reading LiveJournal blogs. There are far more adult uncensored ideas conveyed by bloggers than loving depictions of breastfeeding babies.
Sadly, it seems I, a dad, may be more steadfast in my convictions than the so-called “Boob Nazis” because they appear to be negotiating concessionsâ€”types and levels of exposure of breastfeeding depictions which may be deemed appropriate by LiveJournal censors.
My action: I asked Matt Macfarlane, co-founder of the parent community Minti.com, whether users may post breastfeeding photos on their parent blogs. Here is his response:
“Yes, Minti has no issue with the posting or use of tasteful breastfeeding related images on our site. Breastfeeding is a popular subject on our site and we already have a number of member written articles on the topic. :)
Minti is a parent-to-parent advice site (with blog features free to all members) which fully supports new content contributions by parents, in fact we had to disable a number of parenting related words from our ‘naughty words filter’ just to ensure that articles written by parents were not automatically reported by the system.
Of course, gratuitous shots of naked breasts with a token child in the far distant background would not be very welcome. ;)”
Update: A LiveJournal employee posted this apology on the Boob Nazis forum. However, I boil down the apology to this one unreassuring statement:
“At present, we have agreed to review both our policies
and our enforcement procedures to ensure that we are acting both
consistently and fairly.“
Second Update: The Boob Nazis issued a news release with more info on ProMoM.org. The Register was one of the first media outlets to pick up this story with the article, “LiveJournal tells lactating mums to put ‘em away.”