Back in January, fellow blogger Amy over at MOTHER LOAD posted about a Facebook controversy involving the company’s decision to pull any profile photos of mothers breastfeeding their babies. She mentioned a protest group on Facebook called, “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene.” A few days later, she followed up with a post including the photos that started the controversy. On the right was a picture of the breastfeeding photo in question. The mother is wearing a sweater; very little skin is showing. The photo on the left was part of a Facebook ad of a young, topless woman in a very provocative pose. Though she is turned mostly away from the camera, enough of her is showing to leave little to the imagination.
So why bring this up now? And why care enough to bring it up at all? Well, as a breastfeeding advocate, I felt called to comment on that post back then. My exact words:
Wow. There it is in stark contrast — the “meat” version and the “milk” version. I’m sorry, but everything is sad about the photo on the left (including the degradation of the young model, body and soul), and everything is beautiful about the one on the right. Thanks for bringing us back to the root of this. I joined the protest group, and I’m glad. Someone has to bring attention to the ridiculousness of this. Thanks Amy….
Last week, a notice came into my inbox that someone had commented on my comment. Those exact words:
Roxane B Salonen and the liberal use of absolutes.
Everything is sad about a beautiful topless women and everything is awesome about another topless women toughening up her nipples and looking notch her carbon footrint up a few thousand points?I let the trade paperback version of motherhood slide most of the time but come on!
Let’s not forget that ‘the beautiful journey’ all starts with naked people.
Be a mum. Be a militant, conscientious dissenter-type mum.
Be proud of being a mum.
But remember that it’s just a choice like any other (most of the time anyway:)
In response, I commented another time:
In response to Kiran, actually, what is most wrong about the woman on the left is that they have not shown nearly enough of her. She is not a one-dimensional image. She is a person with a soul. I only see the one dimension there, though. And the topless woman on the right isn’t topless at all, actually. I think you may have missed my point, but I don’t think saying much more will help. Still appreciative of Amy for bringing it all out in the open. By the way, I agree, nothing wrong with a naked body. We all do start there and that is a beautiful thing.
I could stop there, I realize, but I’m not quite ready to let it go. And though I don’t wish to be aggressive about this, I do have to say this: I am being a “conscientious dissenter-type mum” by bringing my thoughts to light. If I could make one clarification about my initial comments, however, I would say that not everything was wrong about the young, topless woman in the provocative pose. I know nothing about her. She’s probably a very nice person, though I feel sorry for her. I worry that she might have bought into society’s propagation of the exterior alone defining a person. I wish no ill will upon her. But the point still must be made. What’s most wrong with those two photos side by side is that one is a natural depiction of the main reason women have breasts — to feed our young — and it is tastefully presented. Sorry if I offend anyone by that, but it is the naked (ahem) truth. The fact that that photo was pulled from Facebook due to its “offensiveness quotient,” and the ad of a young woman (girl?) being exploited was posted for all to see, whether or not they wanted to see it, is what is wrong with this picture.
I cannot take complete credit for the thought that, when it comes to pornography, what’s wrong about it isn’t that it shows too much but that it shows too little of the person, did not come from me. I heard it on the radio recently, though I can’t remember the source, unfortunately. But it struck me. How very true that is! There is so much to the human person, but we are a society that focuses on the surface, negating the depth and complexity of who we are. We objectify one another, and in the process, destroy the most truthful aspects of ourselves. We become a lie to each other in our very images of ourselves.
As Amy said after including the second post on the same subject, “Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.” Just know that it is not a soapbox filled with judgment, but of sadness for what we do to ourselves when we don’t honor the truth of all that we are and were created to be.
Your turn. I would love to hear your thoughts.