A woman has written a brilliant response to Facebook, after being banned from the site for sharing an article about breastfeeding to a breastfeeding group.
Karen Gill-Rich, a mother from Australia, received the ban for posting the medical article to a private group on Facebook. The article, written by a lactation consultant, contains information on nipple blanching, or vasospasm, where nipples turn white after blood flow to the nipple is limited after breastfeeding.
The whole point of the article is to let breastfeeding women know what to look out for, and in order to do that the writer of the article included an image of nipples that are showing signs of blanching. So far, so sensible.
Karen shared it to the group Breastfeeders in Australia to help spread this useful information to other people who are also breastfeeding. Here's where things start to get ridiculous. Facebook being Facebook decided that this violated their nudity policy and banned her for sharing the article.
Because we live in 2017 and apparently it's fine to share whatever hate speech you like online, as long as your nipples are hidden from view when you do so.
Karen is an administrator of the group she posted to. She attempted to share the article within the closed group several times, and each time she did so the article was removed. She was banned for a week from Facebook each time she did it, leaving her unable to post to the breastfeeding group.
Karen replied to the ban, extremely reasonably, telling Facebook that their removal is in violation of Facebook's own stance on supporting breastfeeding.
Her requests were met with a generic response about Facebook's community standards. Karen didn't stop there, however, instead writing a brilliant open letter to Facebook.
"I’m cross. You and I were onto something. You and I had a great thing going. You and I had helped 30,000 breastfeeding women to find success in nourishing their babies and reach their breastfeeding goals, however long that may have been," she wrote in the letter.
"We have talked them through sleep deprivation, poonamis, and puke down their backs. We have shared our stories and cried with people that are standing on the edge of their threshold as a parent because things weren’t going to plan."
"I’m a lactivist. I’m passionate about helping women that WANT to breastfeed. I don’t tie myself to trees or march in the street but I do make myself available to friends and family as well as perfect strangers that reach out for help….. UNTIL THIS WEEK."
"I posted [the above] article in a response to a mum who was experiencing nipple pain when breastfeeding. She had reached out in a BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT GROUP. She was about to give up due to the lack of help she was receiving. She didn’t know what was causing her pain and she didn’t know how to fix it."
"My advice was not unsolicited, it was factual and medically sound. It directed her to relevant online as well as real-world help. The offending article is written by an IBCLC qualified lactation consultant and has medical based information regarding vasospasms. It also contains 2 photos of a blanched nipple for reference."
She goes on to write about her ban, and how bizarre it is in context of the posts that Facebook does allow.
"A quick search and I can find Karma Sutra positions with links to videos, topless beach babes with a poorly placed scribble across her nips, vibrators and many other pages with similar, sexual content.
These are all still in place as of this morning. I can join these groups and buy these products and services. I can even link up with a group that does live sex both using Facebook live OR if they get in trouble for that, they advertise ‘plan B’ which is a whats app group… all with Facebook’s blessing. Yet I can’t link an article to help a mother feed her baby."
The letter has drawn a lot of support online, and a change.org petition for Karen's ban has received almost 5,000 signatures. Check out the letter in full, it's well worth the read.