ailuros (donnaidh_sidhe) wrote,

*my* breasts aren't obscene, either



Breastfeeding is normal and not obscene, you say? So are my tits. I can even show them in public without being arrested (hooray for Canada). And any way I choose to use them is "the right reason". How can anyone espouse a view like the above and still delude themselves into believing they support women when they are against nonmothers? And they are anti-nonmother, as evidenced by the cause they push and the rhetoric they use.

For the uninitiated, I am alluding to a bizarre drama began three or so weeks ago when hardvice (watch out for the infamous goatse.cx photos as he documents the process) was reported to LiveJournal Abuse for having a topless Bea Arthur as his default icon because it showed nipples and areolas, which is against the LiveJournal terms of service. He retaliated by deliberately seeking out and reporting several users who had breastfeeding icons as their defaults. This has now spun into a flurry of self-proclaimed boob Nazis petitioning LiveJournal Abuse, staging a 24-hour journal deletion protest, and claiming that, among other things, not being allowed to use breastfeeding icons as their default icons on LiveJournal is an attack on mothers on par with human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Spare me.

They also claim that breastfeeding is natural and not obscene, and should therefore be exempt from the LiveJournal rule that states no female nipples or areolas are permitted in default icons. I agree that breastfeeding is not obscene. But I most emphatically and heartily object to the boob Nazis looking for an exemption from the rules for themselves -- mothers only -- and not for all women (see the second paragraph of this comment). My breasts are just as natural and non-obscene as those of a nursing woman, and I vehemently object to the idea that they are somehow filthy because I am not a mother. This sounds far too much like an echo of the madonna/whore dichotomy -- your secondary sexual characteristics are obscene because you do not use them for anything but perhaps sexual attraction; mine are not obscene because I am using them to feed a child that I produced. (I won't get into my frustration here with the way in which women's bodies are forced into being seen as either fuckable or non-fuckable.)

I venture to say that if breasts were actually obscene and pornographic on their own, an infant sucking on them wouldn't change that fact. I will avoid being gratuitously offensive (for once), but simply imagine for yourself a scene you would consider pornographic, then add a baby to it. Does that make it any less pornographic? No. In fact, it makes it disturbing and even sickening to have an infant present in a pornographic scene -- it makes it more obscene, not less. By this standard, a baby sucking on a woman's nipple could not mitigate any inherent obscenity a lone breast may possess. [See comments for a bit more discussion.]

I understand why LiveJournal has the rule against female nipples that it does (and parent Six Apart has made its stance on the matter clear). I also do not think it is fair from an ideological standpoint to permit male nipples to be shown in default icons and not female ones. However, LiveJournal, as a privately owned enterprise, has the perfect right to deem what is appropriate on its webspace and to accept or reject criticism of its rules according to whatever standards for making decisions that it has. And while I agree that the best way to change any rules is to voice opposition (or stop using the service), in choosing to push for an exemption for breastfeeding icons instead of levelling the playing field for men's chests and women's alike, the boob Nazis set mothers on pedestals above other women and deem nonmothers less worthy of equal treatment. That is why I adamantly refuse to support the boob Nazis.

[EDIT: Just came across Exposing LJ Abuse, a blog documenting, among other things, this drama from the anti-LJ Abuse side.]
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