It Looks Like Facebook Will Finally Stop Banning Random Breastfeeding Photos

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Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 9.24.02 AMFacebook updated its community standards this week, to help users “feel safe” while using the social media platform. Several policies were clarified, including the one regarding nudity. The site does not allow certain types of nudity, which led to many PR nightmares as the company scrambled to respond to calls of “breastfeeding shaming.” Many photos of women breastfeeding their children have been banned over the years — looks like the random bans are finally coming to an end.

Over the summer, Facebook updated its community standards to address the issue of breastfeeding photos: “We agree that breast-feeding is natural and beautiful and we’re glad to know that it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies.” The standards have changed even more to go beyond even “the vast majority.” Here’s the new language:

We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.

By this language, it seems that there will no longer be a moderator attempting to evaluate whether a breastfeeding mother has violated the “nipple” rule. If you post a photo of yourself “actively engaged in breastfeeding” you should be A- OK.

This is a necessary clarification. Banning photos of women breastfeeding while allowing other forms of nudity on the site sent a clear message about women, their bodies, and the necessity for their nude forms to be sexualized in order to be okay for viewing. For example, Kim Kardashian fully naked – okay by old Facebook standards. Women totally naked but just barely obscuring their genitals and nipples – okay by old Facebook standards. A nip slip while breastfeeding – not okay by old Facebook standards. We’ll see how the new policy is enforced, but it’s a step in the right direction.

(photo: Facebook)