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LiveJournal Takes Anti-Breastfeeding Pic Stance

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Special thanks to The Lactivist reader Imladris2, who sent over the link on this one.

Apparently, LiveJournal, the popular blog hosting site, is threatening to shut down one mother's blog because her default user image shows her daughter nursing at the breast. According to LiveJournal, this violates their terms of service because it shows images that may not be appropriate for a work or school environment.

In fact, a snippet of LiveJournal's response to the mother said:

These rules exist for the sole purpose of ensuring that users can browse the "public" parts of the site (for example, the directory) without worrying about encountering "not-safe-for-work/public" situations. For this reason, LiveJournal's rules regarding default user pictures are generally restrictive than is strictly defined by obscenity laws.

As another LiveJournal mommy-blogger points out:

It is perfectly legal for a woman to breastfeed where I work. It is legal to breastfeed in a public place. If the actual act of breastfeeding isn't considered obscene, legally, then it should stand to reason that a picture of a woman breastfeeding shouldn't be considered obscene.

This is ridiculous because LJ would never seek to have a woman change a picture of a baby being fed from a bottle, spoon, or cup.


Unfortunately, I see from the mom's site that she has removed the image and given up the fight. I can understand someone not wanting to deal with it anymore, but it's also dissapointing to see LiveJournal making this type of decision and standing by it.

Even more so, I'm a little offended at the tone that LiveJournal has taken with both the mom and those who have written in to support her. I've twice seen this statement in responses from the LiveJournal team...

Finally, please be aware that write-in campaigns are never effective in swaying the opinion of the Abuse Team or LiveJournal administrators, or in focusing attention on a particular issue. A flood of requests concerning the same issue only serve to slow down the responses given to valid inquiries such as your request for policy clarification.

Excuse me? Write-in campaigns quite often have an effect and I have no doubt that if LiveJournal's servers were shut down due to a massive influx of mail, that they'd give a little more consideration to their policies. Especially one as lame as this.

Also, my personal blog is housed on LiveJournal...but in light of this, I'm goign to have to give consideration to moving it elsewhere.

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  1. Blogger LJAB | 8:27 AM |  

    LJ Abuse has a history of being rude and arrogant when their actions are challenged, and of retroactively changing the rules when it's pointed out that they're not following what the rules say. First they said icons with breasts in them were sexual. When people said that breastfeeding is not sexual, they changed the FAQ to say nudity, instead of sexuality.

  2. Blogger Goslyn | 11:07 AM |  

    In light of this, you should ABSOLUTELY move your personal blog elsewhere.

    arrgh. I think it is ridiculous not to be able to show images of breastfeeding.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 7:47 AM |  

    Two more accounts have been suspended as of Wednesday, and another is expected to be suspended on Thursday.

    A whole bunch of LJ users have created accounts on greatestjournal and are migrating there, where they expect better treatment.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:56 PM |  

    Info on press release and nurse in:
    http://gotmom.blogspot.com

  5. Anonymous Anonymous | 1:07 AM |  

    Yes, GreatestJournal is the place to be.

    Have you seen SixApart Veep Doug Bryan's comments? 6A and LJ can't bear to be `autocratic' with LJ Abuse members, apparently.

    Fellow SixApart exec Anil Dash, meanwhile, was sounding awfully defensive over on John Scalzi's blog `Whatever', which is drawing some sensible comment. (Oh, and Dash had a lot to be defensive about, after his very offensive initial comment.)


    Also, have you seen ProMoM.org's Gallery of Banned Icons? It's far smaller than the actual total, but growing. Submissions are requested, to submissions@promom.org

    Thanks for a lovely write-up of the furor.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:40 AM |  

    the image was banned because it showed a breast on a site where showing a breast is not allowed, whether a babys head is in front of it or not. the image was not allowed, just deal with it and put one up where your breasts arent on show, whats the big deal.

  7. Blogger The Lactivist | 5:16 AM |  

    Well that's not entirely true.

    The original policy was "no graphically sexual or vulgar images" and they were claiming that a breastfeeding baby fell into that category.

    After a ton of uproar, they reworded it to say no part of a breast.

    Of course you'll find no shortage of icons of uses cleavage, or of girls in wet t-shirts with nipples showing through.

    But put a baby there and whoo-wee! All heck breaks loose.

  8. Anonymous >milk spiller | 10:38 AM |  

    exactly.
    what about all the little teeny boppers that put up pictures of themselves in their goddamn underwear?
    we don't have problems with pedophilia because of breastfeeding mothers, you know...

    after all...
    breasts were not put on the human for just any reason.

    they are FUNCTIONAL, and breastfeeding is what they're there for.

    i suppose these jerks would argue that the tribal folk in places like malaysia or new guinea are 'vulgar' or 'sexual', even though that's how they live.

    if it weren't for the breastfeeding mothers of generations past, the human race wouldn't have survived.

    with that said,
    no one HAS to look if they don't want to.

    these people need to just shut up and go about their business as we go about feeding and taking care of our offspring.

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