Tag Archives: Emma Kwasnica

More Facebook Flak

I’m doing my postpartum doula training with an organisation called Childbirth International, and through this, I’ve come in contact with passionate and dedicated women who are working in the childbirth ‘industry’. One such person is Emma Kwasnica, who has been at the forefront of some of the Facebook breastfeeding bruhaha. She has asked other CBI folk to pass on this open letter. And so I’ve obliged.

Hello,

My name is Emma Kwasnica. I am a 30-year-old Canadian tandem-nursing mother
living in Montréal, whose Facebook account has now been entirely disabled
over the breastfeeding photos controversy (
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1869128,00.html). The
official petition group on Facebook, now over 153,000 members strong, is
called Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is NOT obscene! (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2517126532).

 I am reaching out becauseI think you may be interested in the Facebook fiasco over breastfeeding
images, and them being classified as “obscene, sexually explicit and
pornographic”. Yes, I said *breastfeeding*. The most loving, selfless act
on Earth.

For the record, my entire Facebook account has now been deleted, with no
explanation from the administrators of Facebook. While they have not
confirmed the reason for disabling my account, I can only suspect it stems
from the fact that, in the days leading up to the disabling of my account, I
had photos of me breastfeeding my daughters deleted, and was given a
“warning” for having had uploaded “obscene” content that renders Facebook
“unsafe for children” (see screenshots here :
http://picasaweb.google.ca/emma.kwasnica/20081011BreastfeedingChallenge#5288261770656740850&
http://picasaweb.google.ca/emma.kwasnica/20081011BreastfeedingChallenge#5288261775340683298
)

Given the amount of obscene, pornographic, and truly disturbing photos,
applications, ad banners, and groups that proliferate across Facebook, I am
stunned that this has happened to me. I am an aspiring midwife/Childbirth
Educator/Breastfeeding Counselor; I run a lively discussion group on
Facebook called ‘Informed Choice : Birth and Beyond’ (
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=21515708855), and have been sharing
all of my summarised research, studies, links regarding pregnancy, birth and
motherhood with a group of over three hundred people, since July 2008. And
now, everything that I ever wrote, all my photos, all of my
midwifery-related research, has been deleted –right off the face of
Facebook. Furthermore, this does not concern me alone, as many (over one
hundred ?) other Facebook users had their posts deleted, too, since whole
discussion threads were deleted into oblivion, if it was indeed me who began
the thread (which, 80% of the time, it was, since this was my group, me
sharing the recent research relevant to the childbearing/-rearing woman).
Facebook has not responded to the e-mails I sent, politely enquiring why my
account has been disabled. They remain faceless. Hence the reason why I am
now reaching out and going public with my situation. I am desperate to get
my words back, and most importantly, the general public needs to be made
aware of Facebook’s disgusting double standards regarding “decency”. I am
revolted to report that Facebook allows the likes of a group called “Dead
Babies Make Me Laugh”, and yet, someone such as myself, who wants nothing
but to inspire and help women on their journey to birthing healthy, vibrant
babies, has had her whole account deleted.

In the name of normalizing breastfeeding, I have now done several radio
station interviews (a Sakatoon one, as well as Montréal’s 98.5 FM, and now
today, a 40-minute segment on “Maritime Morning” out of Halifax, to which
you can “listen live” this weekend, when the show will be re-aired, here :
http://www.news889.com/station/bios/); I was also interviewed for ‘La
Presse’ newspaper here in Montréal, the article for which appeared in this
past Monday’s edition of ‘La Presse’ (
http://technaute.cyberpresse.ca/nouvelles/internet/200901/04/01-814622-des-meres-en-croisade-contre-facebook.php),
and the English translation for which you will find below. I may be doing
another one-hour long segment on the same Saskatoon radio station at some
point this week, and a second show on “Maritime Morning” in the coming days.
I was interviewed this afternoon by CBC TV media, and appeared on “CBC
Montréal News At Six” this evening (the news hour broadcast will be
available online at CBC’s web site for the next 20 hours, here :
http://www.cbc.ca/ondemand/newsatsix/montreal.asx (you can skip ahead to the
Facebook vs. breastfeeding photos segment, which begins at 48:40).

There is an interesting Canadian perspective to the entire Facebook fiasco,
in that the tireless organisor of the original online protest (
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=39521488436), in which 11,700 people
participated on December 27th, is from Ottawa (Stephanie Muir), the TERA
site that is currently the “safe haven” for breastfeeding photos which have
been deleted by Facebook is a Canadian one (http://www.tera.ca/photos6.html),
and is coordinated by Paul Rapoport of Hamilton, Ontario… and now, the
only (known) person so far to have had their Facebook acount fully disabled
over this issue, as a direct result of the MILC online protest –me, a
Montreal mother.
Please help me by spreading the word of Facebook’s appalling actions (such
as by posting this to your blog), and consider this an official plea to get
the word out ! For the sake of the next generation of babies, people
everywhere need to understand that the larger issue of normalising
breastfeeding is deeply important here. In 2009, it is unacceptable that
women feel shamed, or are sexualised, while providing the most normal, the
most physiologically appropriate food for their babies : breastmilk.

Sincerely yours,
-Emma Kwasnica, Montréal

P.S. Here you will find the full-page newspaper article/image from Le
Journal de Montréal (
http://picasaweb.google.ca/emma.kwasnica/20081011BreastfeedingChallenge#5261616556288520402),
in which I am tandem-nursing my daughters at Montréal’s 2008 Breastfeeding
Challenge. This is particularly relevant, as Facebook has said that no
major newspaper in North America would publish the type of breastfeeding
photos that they have deleted. This simply isn’t true – this newspaper
image is living proof ! If Montreal, a city of over 3.5 million, can handle
seeing this image in a daily newspaper, then why can’t Facebook ?

6 Comments

Filed under Breastfeeding, Lactivism and Doula-ing, Motherhood and Parenting