Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

Breastfeeding Icon Ban On Live Journal Continues

So here is the response letter from Six Apart. It's a good start, but doesn't mean much while women are still being targeted for their breastfeeding user icons. A whole new batch of suspension letters were sent out today. If they are really and truly willing to try to work this out, if they are asking us to hang in there with them and halt any kind of media campaign, then I believe they should extend the same grace to the women whose user icons are in question. And again, all of this is just a great, big, stupid, collosal, and offensive waste of everyone's time, because while some people, certainly not me, may find nudity offensive, breastfeeding is exempt from all of these indeceny laws pretty much everywhere except here on Live Journal. It should be a non issue but it isn't and I think Live Journal and Six Apart are really the ones who are being caught with their pants down, I think they are clearly the ones who are behaving in a manner that is offensive and indecent.

And please, if you are sick of hearing about this, keep it to yourself, because this matters to me. It should matter to anyone who cares about women and children. This is important. Live Journal is my home away from home and things that happen here reflect things that are happening in the outside world. If there is censorship of breastfeeding women here, this is a reflection of censorship and prejudice elsewhere, and we as a community are taking a great big giant stride backwards, and I for one believe in standing up and fighting back.

It doesn't matter how this started, (with a naked picture of Bea Arthur apparently,) the basic fact is that it did start, and women are being targeted. I hope you understand this, that if these women do not remove images of themselves breastfeeding their children, (images that contain even the barest sliver of areola,) from their default user pics, that suspension of their journals will result in a deletion of everything they have ever written here, they will essentially disappear. This matters people, it really and truly matters.

Here's the letter, it's a nice letter;

"As you are aware, on Friday we sent out a request to a member of this community asking her to remove her default user picture because it was found to be in violation of our standard restrictions for default userpics after being reported by a fellow LJ user.

Enforcing these restrictions is not a fun or enjoyable part of the LJ Abuse staff’s job, but it is important to maintain consistency throughout our service so that everyone (kids, adults, and parents) can know what to expect when they use LJ. We do our best to have as few restrictions as possible. With any restriction we attempt to make sure that we have a clear, objective test.

To use an analogy, this is like a police officer having to enforce speed limits in neighborhoods where kids play. When enforcing these policies, sometimes you end up catching someone who is in fact a very law abiding citizen, but who just happened to be driving over the speed limit.

That being said, we’d like to sincerely apologize for the following:

The lack of sensitivity our procedures appeared to show toward the right for women to breastfeed their children.
The confusion and perception that LiveJournal and/or Six Apart is against mothers who choose to breastfeed their children.
The impression that we simply were not willing to listen, when in fact we are.
The lack of clarity on the policies, which was possibly made worse when we updated our FAQ on Saturday. We updated the FAQ to clarify our policy, not to change it in response to this specific situation.

Simply stated:

LiveJournal is in no way against breastfeeding or breastfeeding mothers. We salute your dedication to raising happy, healthy children.In the process of enforcing our policy, we are not saying in any way that userpics showing breastfeeding are wrong or inappropriate.We appreciate your voices and your use of our service.At present, we have agreed to review both our policies and our enforcement procedures to ensure that we are acting both consistently and fairly. Along with this, we want to add appropriate detail to our online FAQ so that it accurately reflects our policy. I look forward to involving xavi7734 in this process.

By way of background, our Abuse team revisits these policies regularly to make sure they're the right solution for our users and for the company, and we'll be looking for ways that we can better address grey areas (like userpics supporting breastfeeding). We've always believed firmly in free expression, and we think that our policy of being strict about what's allowed in default user icons but lenient about what's allowed in non-default icons is a good balance between two very different points of view. We'll be working in the upcoming weeks and months to make absolutely certain that we have the right policy and the right way to handle issues.

Finally, we very much appreciate your support of LJ and the value that your community and those like yours bring. As I have conveyed toxavi7734, it’s because of users like yourselves that LJ exists, and we want to continue to run a service that enables you to create community, connect with others, and express yourselves in a free, safe, and positive manner.

I look forward to reading your feedback to this post as a temporary member of the community.


Father of 4 breast fed children,
Doug Bryan
VP of Business Operations, Six Apart"

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