I breastfeed, but I would not consider myself a “lactivist.” I usually can’t wait to wean, and am surprised at myself every time I feel sad about weaning when it is time. With my first baby I would go into another room by myself to nurse, as I remember all my aunts and parents’ friends doing when I was young. By the time my second came along, I was tired of hanging out by myself while all my friends and family members enjoyed each other’s company, so I started using my nursing cover. Missing out on all the fun because my baby is hungry? Forget it. Now with my third, I have been starting out a nursing session using a nursing cover, but poor Wren just gets so hot and sweaty and uncomfortable, I usually discreetly remove it once I feel her getting drenched in sweat. I never in a million years thought I would be that mother who was unabashedly whipping out her boob in public when her babe was hungry, but I think by the fourth I will be at that point. I’ve got three under three. Go find somewhere to hide so I can breastfeed? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I still haven’t yet reached the point where I am putting photos of myself nursing on Instagram, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the beautiful photos of breastfeeding when I come across them. Photography can be an art, and as a mother, I love the Cassatt depictions of breastfeeding too!
Young Mother Nursing Her Child Mary Cassatt
I follow a number of moms on Instagram. I can’t get enough of mommy feeds. And I couldn’t help but notice that one by one, each of the more popular mommy feeds were being deleted, either for breastfeeding photos or for shirtless babies and toddlers. Fellow Instagram moms were quick to point out, with reason, that there are countless accounts featuring way more cleavage than your average breastfeeding photo that are polluting Instagram with impunity. What a horrible double standard. Using Instagram for sexual exploitation is ok, but using it to depict a mother feeding her baby is forbidden.
As for deleting accounts for naked baby pictures, I think that too is ridiculous and a double standard. Are 12 year olds posting provocative pictures having their accounts deleted? Gosh, I hope so. But I really think we would be depriving the Instagram world of so much beauty that is the innocence of little babes on the off chance that some sicko can magically doctor the photo to make it corrupt and depraved. Bringing this back to Cassatt, I am forever grateful that she didn’t choose to refrain from creating her depictions of motherhood due to a perceived risk that some pervert would someday corrupt her works. There will always be evil individuals out there, but we shouldn’t let them keep us from showing people innocence and beauty.
Instagram mommas have started the hashtag #stopcensoringmotherhood , and they have my full support. When Instagram has eliminated all of the pornography from its site, then by all means, start policing breastfeeding photos and naked baby butts if you have nothing better to do. But until that time, having a flawless record on deleting a mother’s feed for depicting motherhood while countless tits and ass photos remain says a lot about you and your priorities. Who knows? Maybe Instagram does despise motherhood and values pornography. Plenty of people do. But if not, maybe they should amend their policies to make it more difficult for innocent mothers to have their precious memories disappear in the blink of an eye.