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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Facebook and the Mommy Wars

The Mommy Wars are raging on Facebook between nursing mothers who want to let it all hang out and the Facebook admin team who are committed to keeping the site family friendly for all, including children. The war began with moms posting bare-breasted photos, nipples and all including one shot in the bathtub with the baby nursing on the far side in the background and a large bare breast in the foreground. Facebook removed it and other nursing photos for violating their terms of use explaining that, "Photos containing a fully exposed breast - as defined by showing the nipple of areola - do violate those terms on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material." The moms responded with a petition drive and a "nurse-in protest" which involved posting more bare-breasted pictures on Facebook. Before dismissing this as the corollary to the Lilliputian War over which end to crack a soft-boiled egg, I think there are some serious issues that bear discussion.

As a former nursing mother who often breast fed in public, I think the moms are absolutely correct that there is nothing obscene or indecent about nursing in public with the proviso that mothers are discreet, modest, and respectful of others. And there's the rub. Many of the photos are neither discreet nor modest. Is it possible to nurse modestly without baring oneself to the world? Of course, I used to wear loose knit tops that fell over the baby's face as he/she nursed and fed my little ones in movie theatres, on mall benches, in church, and wherever else the baby was hungry or needed to be quiet. Once at a meeting a male friend came over to admire my newborn and only when he got close did he realize I was nursing. He couldn't see anything, but got flustered. I just smiled and showed him the baby when I was finished and put back together. A nursing acquaintance of mine took her new, long-awaited baby on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Lourdes. She bought a large brimmed bonnet for her little girl and nursed across Europe totally covered by the baby's hat.

But discreet nursing isn't what these moms are talking about. They want to proclaim their right to pop out their breasts in public for all to see. I have known nursing mothers like that. It's as if feeding their babies is not so much about nourishment and nurturing, but a political statement. If you don't like it, don't look, they say. Easier said than done especially if little boys or teenagers on the cusp of manhood are nearby.

So I stand with Facebook on this one; they are upholding common sense. The mothers, on the other hand, are illustrating a grave problem in our culture -- the lost virtues of modesty and prudence. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and good, but it also deserves to be treated with dignity and mystery. Something mystical happens between the little one at the breast who looks into Mommy's eyes and sees her as the first image of God. When Mom shoves her bare breast in the public's face what does she think people see? Certainly not the baby focusing on Mommy's face. No, the breast takes center stage - in a way not too unlike the exploitation of women's bodies in other settings.

Let the breastfeeding moms of the world unite, not in a war over their right to let it all hang out in public, but in a contest on creative ways to breastfeed modestly in public. If these moms think about it perhaps they will have the same concern for young men tempted by nudity, whatever the setting, as they have for the little newborn suckling at the breast.


Turfsuper said...

the lost virtues of modesty and prudence

First, pornography and chauvinism are in the minds and bodies of the beholders. You would silence nature and replace it with a pornographic culture in a dangerous and vain attempt of silencing nature.

Women are forced to become an image of our pornographic culture, deny themselves their reality with a culture that denies nature. You are demonstrating what happens when the chauvinist mind which protects itself from nature with a culture that denies the reality of nature.

The more the chauvinist mind denies the existence of nature’s power, the more the chauvinist fears that power. Chauvinists begin to believe their own delusions that they are endangered by the dark power that they have invented in their own heads and hearts. They imagine that they are endangered by images of breast feeding and it must therefore be covered.

The dilemma of the chauvinist and the pornographer’s mindset is that they themselves cannot separate from nature. Nature is part of them. Their minds are their bodies. They are caught inside their own creation. Ultimately when the force of nature or when reality ‘wrongs’ them, they are driven to reshape the world to their delusions and silence others for the voices chauvinists and pornographers only they themselves can hear. Sex isn’t pornography but pornography is the imposition of delusions onto others. Pornographic culture is a stage and you would turn everyone else into props so you can play the make believe that images of a woman’s body can make us lose our eternal souls.

Your values are beliefs are chauvinistic and pornographic because in attempting to protect yourself from your feelings and nature, you impose props, laws and silence over the reality of others in attempt to delude yourself over your own reality.

“The most striking difference between ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of argument at the expense of truth, whereas moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality.”
Hannah Ardent from The Origins of Totalitarianism

Instead you have chosen an imagery which tries to deny or cover reality and not imagery filled with the power of reality. How can you believe that images of breast feeding will endanger us while images of aborted babies will not? If breast feeding is to be covered because the image is too powerful then using your logic, the images of abortion should be banned as well.

The reason abortion is a problem is because this culture has replaced nature with culture that denies nature and is a very republican mindset. This is the “final solution” for the pornographic mind. Pornographic cultural images such as “she’s only sixteen and the rest of her life will be ruined” have replaced the nature of abortion. Pornography has slowly imprisoned men and especially women with an image of “success” to deny the reality, the nature of abortion.

Ray Schneider said...

Click -- disengage brain and babble about pornography in an incoherent way for a page and a half. -- Hello Turfkiller back trolling around are we.

Not sure what the point is -- good and evil are also in the minds and bodies of the beholders which doesn't make them less real unless you're a molecular machine whose values are all illusions, but then why talk about anything?

But I forgot, trolls don't have to be consistent ... why am I always forgetting that and taking them seriously. Must be one of those mind and body and beholder things.

See you in the briar patch! When you finish being the tar baby.

Cheers, Ray

Turfsuper said...


When you are part of the pornographic culture, it's hard to see. Sex isn't pornography. The local "adult merchandise store" isn't pornography.

Pornography is the imposition of delusions on others and silencing their true nature and identities. This is how abortion has gotten lose in our society. How many parents have imposed on their daughters abortion so that their daughter can fulfill the dreams of the parents. This is true pornographic lust in it's worst form.

Images of sex, breast feeding or abortion do not endanger us. You have a choice to make when you see any image. The differences in people are the things they do when they see images. But because of the nature of pornography and the mind set of the pornographer they must when reality "wrongs" them like when their daughter or spouses become pregnant, commit an act of violence.

Ray Schneider said...

Turfkiller has a fevered imagination. I never said, nor do I recall the original post ever saying that sex was pornographic nor is breast feeding. All things that God created are good in their own place and proper use.
We are talking rather about abuse. As I've never been in a so-called "adult" store I don't know what is there. However, those who exploit sex for the titillation of others are promoting promiscuity and disordered behavior. The sexual abuse of children, the rape of young and even old women is the corollary of such activity.
So once more I'm not sure what you are talking about. There is a certain incoherence in your position as if you have labeled something and can get beyond your own label.
Human beings are thoughtful reasoning creatures in their highest embodiment made in the image and likeness of God. Sex in the lower animals is a mere instinct but in mankind it is not mere rutting, but an embrace of the divine in one another with sexual intimacy as the expression of that love. Reduced to mere rutting it is using a divine image, the human person, for an animal function, mere sexual pleasure. That is pornographic. If you don't understand that then perhaps you have moved down the food chain from humanity to a lower form. Hang on there is hope for you yet!

Cheers, Ray