I've been a bad bloggy friend lately, I know. I've been awfully busy at work and I have some other things brewing with the DC Metro Moms Blog (more on that below), so I haven't been visiting all of my blog friends regularly. I actually had to take drastic measures and mark the 205 (!) unread blog posts I had sitting in Bloglines as already read.
Please forgive me?
Now on to another rant:
Many people weighed in on the Bill Maher breastfeeding equals masturbation debate last week. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Only by discussing issues like this will we change public perception. In my post, I mentioned that Facebook had been deleting photos of breastfeeding women. You may have even seen the nifty "Facebook Sucks" buttons that have been popping up all over the Blogosphere.
Maybe Facebook has had enough thrashing for the year, but I'm not done yet.
David Westcott of It's Not A Lecture was the first blogger to bring the Facebook fiasco to my attention. In his initial post he pointed out that not only has Facebook pulled breastfeeding pictures from its site, it also banned one woman for life apparently because of her repeated and flagrant violation of Facebook's policies. I'm guessing that she continued to put up breastfeeding pictures. In fact, if you'd like to see the pictures that started it all, go here. (Thank you, Izzy, for the link!)
But wait, there's more. In David's post he pointed to something the Canadian media has picked up on. While Facebook apparently considers breastfeeding photos a violation of its Terms of Service, it permits some 300 pro-anorexia groups on Facebook. In these groups, women exchange tips on how to starve themselves and post pictures. Photos of themselves in an emaciated state.
These are a few of the groups that I found in a few searches on Facebook:
Karen Carpenter: Patron Saint of Anorexia
the "you know you want to be pro-ana really" society
Anorexia is NOT a disease, It's a LIFESTYLE
Get Thin or Die Trying
Us Size 0, UK Size 4
Size 0 to Hero
This is only a small number of the groups I found.
Now let's talk about why Facebook says it removed the breastfeeding photos.
David emailed Facebook and asked them about it. You can read his follow up post about his email exchange with Facebook here. Please go read the emails. They're awfully enlightening. Here's part of what Facebook had to say:
The Code of Conduct says this about Inappropriate Conduct:
* is obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit
* depicts graphic or gratuitous violence
* makes threats of any kind or that intimidates, harasses, or bullies anyone
* is derogatory, demeaning, malicious, defamatory, abusive, offensive or hateful
That's what it comes down to, folks. Someone at Facebook made a policy decision that a breastfeeding photo is obscene or otherwise objectionable.
But pro-ana groups. Those are peachy keen. Here I give you another excerpt from David's email exchange with Facebook. When David pressed Facebook on the issue of pro-ana groups, here's what they had to say:
Pro-ana groups = "free flow of information" or "forum for discussing important issues."
Dr. Leigh Ann Simmons, David's wife, wrote a wonderful post discussing one of the not so obvious problems with pro-ana sites. She points to a study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders that found that women feel heavier and less confident about themselves after viewing pro-ana websites.
So not only can the pro-ana Facebook groups help girls and women harm themselves physically, it can also harm them psychologically. My guess is that a teenager struggling with an eating disorder is certainly not going to receive positive help and support from a pro-ana website.
Facebook has a lot of explaining to do.
Today David let me know that, earlier this week, the For Immediate Release podcast (according to David, the top social PR podcast in the industry) discussed the Facebook breastfeeding/pro-ana debate and David's post. In it, they mention me and Izzy and quote our comments from David's blog. Here's a direct link to the MP3. The discussion is about 1/4 of the way into the show and lasts for about 5 minutes. When they talk about the lawyer who commented on David's post and read all the legalese you saw above? That's me. Thanks for the heads up, David!
In other news, there are some exciting things happening for the SV Moms Blog, Chicago Moms Blog, and DC Metro Moms Blog posters. Elizabeth Edwards is meeting with the SV Moms on Saturday in California. Chicago Moms and DC Moms will be participating by conference call and apparently, the word is that Ms. Edwards would like to meet with the Chicago and DC Moms in person as well. I'm so excited I could pee myself! I'm glad someone is listening.
To continue this trend and to ensure that moms can participate in a serious discussion of the issues in the next election, we're going to try something a little new at the SV/Chicago/DC Metro Moms Blogs. Next Thursday, we'll all be posting about an important issue - health care. I've heard BlogHers Act is going to get involved and post about the issue too. If we get some good feedback, I'd like to do it every few weeks and hit as many social and political issues as we can. Check back for further details later on but I'm really excited about having the opportunity to speak up and have a great discussion. If any of you would like to participate, email me at lawyermama at gmail dot come and I'll give you more details.
I also have a new review of Phonics 4 Babies over at Lawyer Mama Review.