Instagram cracks down on . . . Moms?

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.

Baby’s First Caress Mary Cassatt

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.


About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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11 Responses to Instagram cracks down on . . . Moms?

  1. Gay Hammond says:

    I think breastfeeding moms enter a different kind of zone, where certain behaviors are acceptable. (I, for one, found myself taking my breast out in front of people I would NEVER have considered doing that in front of, before or since, but you’re so focused on feeding the baby!), and that this should be allowed. What we have to train it the PUBLIC, so that they follow certain rules of ettiquette (like, hey, don’t STARE at a woman’s breast when she’s nursing, idiot!) I think it is one of the MOST distinctive signs of our dysfunction as a society that we idolize the sexualized, but demonize one of nature’s most iconic and life-affirming rituals. . . sigh.


  2. Éowyn Fair says:

    Of course they despise motherhood! The majority of websites like Instagram seem to be owned/run by “progressives” who have apparently progressed past the need for family. Anything that smacks of traditional family values or gender roles is offensive to the agenda. Nearly-naked teen girls are merely “exspressing themselves” and living out their individuality.Instagram doesn’t want you influencing these impressionable children with your accursed family values and imposing your beliefs on them!

    lol. But seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a part of it.


  3. morgan says:

    Great point! I also think there is absolutely nothing erotic in breastfeeding. In fact when I heard from a friend who lived in the U.S. for quite some time that she had trouble finding a hiding place when her little one got hungry during a trip to the supermarket and she ended up locking herself in a toilet stall (ugh!), I thought she was joking. Nope, she was dead serious.
    I don’t remember how many times I had to take out my breast in a more or less public place, and besides the occasional odd look (which you always get, whatever you are doing ;-)) there never has been any reaction.
    Grown-ups do eat in public places, too, don’t they?
    And If you visit a finnish sauna (or visit a nudist beach) you see a lot more flesh. And if you still can’t get enough, well, then there’s the internet… google search alone will bring you tons of naked boobs…
    (Yes, I’m european.)

    But. what still puzzles me – don’t you get any “breast-feeding” shirts and sweaters and stuff in the U.S.? They have “hidden” openings near the breast-area which allow you easy-access without flashing everyone? Over here you can get them in every store where maternity clothes are sold.
    (They didn’t fit me, cause I’m a skinny girl with big boobs so my brothers just had to get used to seeing them on a regular basis. *lol*)


    • sylcell says:

      You can get breastfeeding shirts here at maternity stores. They are SO ugly though. Are they cute where you are? I just wear a lot of shirts and pants or shorts and pull my shirt up (because I don’t like stretching the necks of my shirts.) Not ideal.


      • morgan says:

        There are cute ones (bellybutton and vertbaudet are big online shops around here. Bellybutton unfortunately only sells within Europe and vertbaudet – I have no idea). Unfortunately they are also pretty expensive.
        H&M (huge swedish fashion chain) have affordable ones – mostly plain and simple (you can never have enough black or white shirts ;-)), but functional. I think they recently expanded their market and are now also available in the U.S.?

        But most of the time I just did the same as you did. Pulling up your shirt, or stretching their necks (I didn’t like to show my belly to everyone, because having three kids in a row really did a number on that one. And I like wearing v-neck shirts that show a hint of cleavage so the problem of overstretched necks isn’t that bad). I also found some button-downs, which I really liked.

        Couldn’t we swap stores? Over here kids clothing is … gah. Thankfully my sis is a flight attendant and my brother in law frequently travels overseas for business and I’m always totally excited when they bring stuff home, cause here kids clothing is so stereotypical, it would be hilarious. Unless your son wants a glitter shirt, and you don’t want to put him in one saying “I Loooooove shopping” or “I’m sooooo pretty” (plus an anorexic chick on it. Or your daughter is totally into cars. And hates skinny jeans, because she can’t climb trees with them…


      • sylcell says:

        We do have H&M here! I was so excited when they opened. I didn’t know they sold nursing wear! I really should get a light summer button down, now that you mention it. Yeah, I can’t complain about the kids stores. I love baby Gap and Target, and of course all the small businesses.


  4. kathleen says:

    I really want to be more European about breastfeeding in public/in the presence of others, but it’s difficult sometimes. I’ve had a few successes (like feeding Samuel on the sidelines of the Peachtree Road Race and at the symphony concert in the park) but at a family cookout last week I hid away in a bedroom to breastfeed. I guess it’s easier (for me) in very crowded spaces as opposed to in smaller groups of mixed company (particularly, like, uncles and brothers-in-law) where you’re more conspicuous. I also am convinced it’s easier/more acceptable for smaller-boobed people to breastfeed in public, but it’s certainly possible I just need more practice being discreet.


    • sylcell says:

      Yeah, I have accidentally flashed my grandfather. Whoops! He didn’t seem to notice or care. Babies definitely can get really distracted around other people and can have a hard time nursing when they just want to look around. I just get so bored and lonely nursing alone in a room! (She says petulantly)


      • kathleen says:

        I agree re nursing alone in a separate room. I especially dislike doing that in my own house when I have guests over, but I definitely feel like I would make some/most dudes uncomfortable. Argh.


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