Monday, 6 February 2012

Facebook Protest: TITS FOR TOTS!

Obligatory outfit shot! Did the nails at 2am especially for the protest!

Performing (breastfeeding) for RTE's camera, the cameraman was not a sleaze, despite the unfortunate smile here. Charlie helped himself to my tea.

Me giving orders to my long-suffering photographer. The lovely dad tending to his baby girl came all the way from Waterford on a 7am train. His wife is on the right putting on her sling to feed the baby. That's dedication to a cause.

Chris Finn from Friends of Breastfeeding made a brilliant speech, emphasising the way normal breastfeeding goes if it is not interfered with. (As in: weaning at average 4 years etc) Noah was just happy to have his hat on, it was chilly on the willy.

Friends of Breastfeeding had done brilliant placards, laminated in case of the rain. There was a great turn-out, people arriving all the time.

The lovely ladies of FoBF, so much hard work for these busy moms, and it's a voluntary group! They offer support over the phone, organise support groups, help people with complaints etc. If you aren't a member, sign up now! Join them for the women's mini-marathon!

We told him this was a meeting to celebrate breastfeeding. I hope he never learns the truth about people's ignorant attitudes.

Suitable face for the placard.
Hats off to Friends of Breastfeeding, a voluntary support group who have grown a great profile for themselves in the last few years. They organised a fantastic protest and had a great media presence. There were many journalists and researchers from radio and tv there, and I hope the campaign gets the exposure it deserves. (For anyone under a rock it's protesting Facebook deleting photos of babies being breastfed on the grounds that it is sexual content).

Facebook had a great ploy, they had tea, coffee, chocolate and water in their lobby, so we all headed in there (of course: we had kids, it was cold, we are always hungry), but they didn't let the press in. There was a man on the door, buzzing people in and the staff had big smiles for us, but they weren't letting the journalists in, who had to ask us to come outside for interviews. Eventually we left, and the protest began in earnest. Placards were given out, we all posed for photos and interviews, and we listened to a speech which stated the benefits and the normality of breastfeeding, and how mistaken society is when it tries to censor breastfeeding.

 I made the same point in all my soundbites, that Facebook censoring these photos is as bad as someone in a cafe or restaurant telling you not to breastfeed there. I was asked by a young female journalist "Where do you draw the line with breastfeeding photos?" I said "There is no line, it's not even an issue, it's a baby having their lunch. Anyone who sees it differently has a warped sense of reality, as breasts are primarily there to feed babies". I really can't believe we are still having to say this. And the reader's comments I saw in an online paper about the protest still have me shaking my head in disbelief. I was asked to go on camera to talk for RTE 1's news, Noah was breastfeeding in the sling and I'm sure they would have loved the shot. After January's "episode" on RTE 1's Four Live I declined and explained why. I didn't mind him filming me breastfeeding though.

It was brilliant meeting all these amazing people, and putting faces to the names I see so often on Facebook. I met many readers of my blog, and was delighted to share experiences with them. It's great to connect with like-minded people, because breastfeeding is not celebrated in Ireland, a lot of it happens in private, so when you are in a group of breastfeeders it is so liberating. Whether you're a bottle-feeder, a breastfeeder, doing both, doing neither, it's important to stand up for babies rights, that is the right to be fed in public, without asking permission, without making excuses, just whenever and wherever you need to. If people see it as us "flaunting" it in their faces, so be it.

We will continue to do this until it is seen as normal in society. So if you want the debate over, get behind us. (That's probably the safest place, as you might get squirted, accidentally like.)

TITS FOR TOTS!

5 comments:

  1. Brilliant work girls. would have love to be there. and GREAT DAD TO COME FROM SO FAR

    and love to see so many babywearing :)

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  2. Well done today Niamh! Wish I could've been there. I have been keeping an eye on the comments on Broadsheet tonight and some of them display a shocking level of ignorance and sexism - even some of the comments written by other women! Although thankfully there are other more balanced views in evidence too. It's just so essential we normalise breastfeeding and that's what this morning's 'protest' was about as I see it. I think a big issue is how to get more working class and young mums into the idea of bf'ing and social media is a good way of doing this. A lot of women don't do it cause their peers don't do it or at least they don't see them doing it.

    Glad you had a good day and hope it helped the burnt out feeling pass :)

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  3. Yay! Well done, glad it went well and thanks for the run down, great for those of us who couldn't make it! Love the pictures, Charlie is such a dote, with his little curls peeking out!

    The comments on the various media sites are indeed atrocious, really makes me sick to think this is the attitude people at large have. Very sad indeed. :(

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  4. Hi, I'm with the world-wide organizers. Can we steal photos and put them up on the FB! stop ... FB page?
    Janice Peake Reynolds

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  5. Be my guest Janice! I hope we've collectively had some effect!

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