“The policy of no unclothed breasts or genitalia permitted in default user icons is to allow a simple, easy test for appropriateness of default user icons.”
But some breasts are acceptable. Men's breasts are acceptable. Children's breasts are acceptable. But a women's breast when she is nursing is not?
That is violence toward women and children in the worst way. At the very least, children who nurse are healthier. And in many poorer countries thousands and thousands of children who don't nurse die every year. They die from to malnutrition because their families can't afford enough formula. Or they die because contaminated water is used to mix the formula. Keep in mind that in many places contaminated water is the only water available.
To save these children, breastfeeding must be shown to be OK everywhere, every day and every way. Showing it as acceptable is an easy way to help save millions and millions of babies. Restricting images of a mother nursing her child contributes to the idea that there is something sexual, distasteful or wrong about breastfeeding. This in turn influences millions of women to choose formula feeding instead. While this is a trivial choice in First World countries, it is a fatal choice for children of women in Developing Countries. The amount of children who die every year as a result of this choice is overwhelming.
Live Journal needs to reconsider its interpretation of their terms of service. Dead babies are violent and disgusting, breastfeeding is not. Not nursing leads to dead babies.
BTW, I noticed that it says in the header that I have no LJ account. That's not true. My user name is cdozo. Around this time last year, I upgraded my paid account to a permanent account. In addition, in the past six months, I have bought paid accounts for at least two people.
MyNameWasHere, a.k.a. LJ user cdozo
I understand that the issue is a sensitive one, and that you and many others are disappointed by the application of this policy in this particular situation. Please understand that there are many reasons that this policy exists, and all of them involve balancing free expression with respect for a wide range of views and opinions on what is and is not appropriate for public viewing.
LiveJournal has always placed restrictions on default userpics, as the default userpic is visible in many public areas throughout the site, including the Directory, the Schools Directory, and the profile page. These restrictions are detailed in http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=111.
We feel it's important to strike a balance between the ideal of free expression and the rights of, for instance, a parent to prevent their child from seeing unsolicited material that the parent feels is non-age-appropriate or the right of an individual to be able to browse public LiveJournal spaces without being exposed to nudity or violence.
LiveJournal instituted a simple policy regarding the default userpic seven years ago at inception, and has been using the same policy ever since. It is not in any way intended to criminalize, sexualize, or oppress women who breastfeed or the act of breastfeeding itself. The issue involves being able to set a clear, easily-delineated standard that permits for the maximum range of free expression while also respecting the choices of individuals who choose to avoid seeing the unclothed human form while performing site searches, viewing the Schools directory, or browsing user profiles. This policy and standard includes, among other qualifying elements, that any female breast portrayed in a default user icon cannot include visible nipple or areola, regardless of the presence or absence of any other element in the icon.
The policy of no unclothed breasts or genitalia permitted in default user icons is to allow a simple, easy test for appropriateness of default user icons. It's important for us to have a easy-to-apply standard to weigh all reports against. Even if a particular icon depicts non-sexualized nudity, the standards we've chosen to apply still state that the depiction of unclothed breasts or genitalia in a user icon is inappropriate for default use. We apply this policy evenly to all reports that are made to us.
Many users have icons depicting the act of breastfeeding that qualify as suitable for use as a default icon under these guidelines. The rules for non-default user icons are far less stringent, and, in the majority of cases icons that are not suitable for use as a default user icon are welcomed and encouraged for use as non-default.
I do regret that we have in any way given you the impression that this is an attempt to attack, penalize, or censor any group of people. Many of the Abuse team and many employees of Six Apart are mothers themselves, have chosen to breastfeed their children, and fully support this parenting choice. We ask you to understand that we are dealing with a number of sensitive issues here, and must balance the needs and desires of all our users as best as we can.
LiveJournal Abuse Team