A group of moms have brought city’s attention to the manner in which Facebook confirms to the otherwise sexist norms in our society when it comes to breastfeeding rights. Although the protests took place at Facebook office lobby at 335, Madison Avenue, Facebook officials did not feel it necessary to address the gathering, or more importantly, the issue. Emma Kwasnica, the woman who launched this global movement against Facebook believes that the employees of this powerful corporation are “running rougue” and deleting images owing to their personal sensitivity. However the reality is, by turning indifferent to her protests, Facebook has been consistently adhering to the patriarchal standards. And there lies the greater crisis.
The online moral czars have flexibilities otherwise deemed illegal. For instance, in public, a women in New York has the right to breastfeed her baby in any public or private place where she has a right to be. This includes stores, day care centers, doctors’ offices, restaurants, parks, movie theaters and many other places. No one can tell her to leave any of these places because she is breastfeeding, and no one can tell her to breastfeed in a bathroom, a basement or a private room. Likewise, at work, the employer cannot discriminate against a woman for choosing to breastfeed her baby or for pumping milk at work.
Facebook and other social media which self-regulate for the most part, need to be not just politically correct, but more importantly, socially responsible by following women’s rights laws. Or stricter regulations need to be in place for private corporations, irrespective of whether they claim to be freedom loving virtual/social media networks.
Following news reporting by Cassandra Garrison for Metro details the protest, and its impact –
An international movement landed in NYC this morning as a small group of women carried their young children inside the building that houses Facebook’s NYC office, demanding that the social networking giant leave their breastfeeding photos alone. The “nurse-in” was planned after Vancouver mom Emma Kwasnica launched an online campaign, calling on Facebook to stop deleting images of mothers nursing their children. Kwasnica said Facebook removed her photos numerous times, despite the company’s claim that it does not delete images unless they show an exposed breast that is not being used for feeding. The group of moms who attended the NYC “nurse-in” insist that even though the photos are acceptable by Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, they are continually removed. They met in the lobby of 335 Madison Avenue, the building where Facebook operates on two floors. The small contingent was first asked to leave but later returned to the lobby where security allowed them to stay. The moms nursed their children and chanted lines like, “Facebook, Facebook, don’t be mean — breastfeeding is not obscene.” “People view breasts as this sexual thing,” said Wendy Ledesma, an Astoria mom who has a 17-month-old son. “We need to get over that as a society and realize that breastfeeding is normal, natural, beautiful and important.” No one from Facebook came downstairs to address the moms, but a spokesperson blamed the deleted photos on human error. Each photo that gets flagged as offensive is reviewed by an employee who then decides whether the photo will be deleted and the user’s account