#FreeTheNipple Success: Facebook Lifts Ban on Nipple Photos, Pros And Cons

By @mystidrift on
Dozens of mothers take part in a breastfeeding flash mob demonstration at a public place in Hong Kong June 14, 2014.
Dozens of mothers take part in a breastfeeding flash mob demonstration at a public place in Hong Kong June 14, 2014. The group urged the government to establish a breastfeeding policy to protect the rights of nursing mothers, the organizer said in a press release. REUTERS

Thanks to the #FreeTheNipple campaign, Facebook has quietly lifted its ban on exposed nipples on breastfeeding photos. As moms rejoice, some pros and cons also come with the lifting of the ban.

Facebook's decision to lift its ban without formal announcement came after the #FreeTheNipple campaign garnered international attention. The campaign was spearheaded by two of Bruce Willis' daughters, Scout and Rumer Willis.

Bustle reported in the previous month, Scout Willis strolled through New York's east village neighborhood topless, in support of the #FreeTheNipple campaign. It targeted Instagram's policy against female nudity. But Scout Willis' motivation prompted Instagram to suspend her account after she posted a photo of a sweatshirt that featured two topless women. Instead of backing down, she slammed Instagram's hypocrisy by reposting a photo from Dan Bilzerian's account of scantily clad women, where she captioned it "@instagram pictures of breast cancer survivors have been flagged+deleted but this is super #sick and #hot amiright???"

Rumer Willis, meanwhile, supported the "FreeTheNipple campaign by starring in a PSA along with Soko, Tyler Jacob Moore and Kim Allen about normalizing breastfeeding. The PSA was released in conjunction with the promotion of the "Free the Nipple" movie. It explores society's acceptance of graphic violence over a female's naked body. The PSA uses the tagline "Everybody's gotta eat" in support of the #FreeTheNipple campaign (watch video below).

Facebook's policy change was first announced by feminist writer, Soyara Chemaly, on her blog entry, Huffington Post reported.

Last year, Soyara launched a campaign with the initiative of making Facebook recognize its double standard in allowing content that mocks rapes, domestic battery and other violence against women and content that sexually objectifies women, while prohibiting breastfeeding pictures that feature the female nipple.

Facebook has finally conceded with the campaign after 60,000 #FreeTheNipple tweets and 15 advertisers leaving the social media site, Bustle reported.

Pros on the #FreeTheNipple Campaign

To see a photo of a female body's breasts used for breastfeeding a baby is a reminder of the breasts' functions of nourishing another human life. It is in no way a form of sexual content that can be ogled at compared to the near-pornographic shots users post on Facebook, with their provocative clothing and positions. A mother breastfeeding her baby is a form of mother-child bonding, which is completely non-sexual.

Cons on the #FreeTheNipple Campaign

Selfies are rampant in Facebook. But mothers shouldn't start a trend on breastfeeding selfie. Documenting the connection a mother feels with her baby should remain sacred. The ban lift is a step toward making breastfeeding, and breasts in general, non-taboo, but it shouldn't be an excuse to show your nipples.


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