Welcome to this week’s Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by The Gnome’s Mom, Happiness Redefined and myself! This week we are touching on a pretty tough topic: Online Breastfeeding Safety* and how to keep yourself and your nurslings protected.
If you saw my Facebook updates and tweets I hope you had a chance to meander over to My Baby Experts on USTREAM last night(if you missed it, you can still check it out). Shari Criso had a client who has been through a horrific ordeal stemming from a taped interview with Parents TV two years ago.
MaryAnn was a new mother, new to breastfeeding and so absolutely enthralled with this new found bonding experience that when she was asked to participate in an interview with Parents TV, she said yes (even if she was a bit nervous at first). She would be talking about what it was like to breastfeed as well as nursing on camera…this was Parents TV, of Parents Magazine fame- a well-known and trusted name if there ever was one.
Before they started shooting, she clarified that she would only be identified by her first name in the video- they agreed. The taping went off without a hitch (or at least as well as it goes in those early weeks of nursing) and she was happy with the experience and her ability to put good information on breastfeeding out to help other new moms.
Imagine her surprise when doing a Google search for her name a few months later she pulled up page after page of her name and face linking back to porn sites. The media company had revealed her full name and someone else had taken the footage of her breastfeeding her daughter and spliced it in with some very explicit pornography.
I cannot even imagine the horror of discovering this, but then to eventually have your child’s name come up with pornographic sites is even more gut wrenching.
For a few months Meredith Corporation (the parent company to Parents TV) helped her fight this, but eventually they stopped answering phone calls and emails. It’s unfortunate that Meredith didn’t stand by her in this ordeal. They released her name with the footage, they should take some responsibility. Two years later, MaryAnn is still fighting against the person who did this.
I know I’m not the best about keeping information about myself and my family private. I post pictures of my kids, not any breastfeeding pics that I can remember as there are very few to begin with, but there are plenty of sick people who poach pics of kids off the internet and use them in ways I don’t even want to think about. Our names are all out there, I’m fairly certain some simple Google searches would bring up information about where we live.
We decided long ago that we were comfortable with putting ourselves out there, but it’s certainly something that we reevaluate on occasion.
But to bring this back to breastfeeding…breastfeeding a baby is not a sexual act. Breastfeeding a baby is natural and NORMAL. Splicing video of a breastfeeding mother into explicitly sexual acts may be disgusting- but it doesn’t make breastfeeding a sexual act. (Although it does turn it into something perverted and sick.)
Should we really stop posting pictures or videos? Does covering everything back up help or hurt the fight to make breastfeeding normal? Because I feel like the first instinct here is to say no more pics, no more videos, bring out your covers, hide away in the back room or find a bathroom stall.
But that seems like a radical swing in the wrong direction.
Where would we be without YouTube to tell us how to manually pump at 2am? Or what a good latch might look like when we’re just not sure? How to do a football hold and latch twins at the same time? These are all precious resources that I am grateful to have had and they should be protected.
I think the key here is that MaryAnn was at the mercy of a large company and they did not protect her or her interests and then they dumped her when she most needed their help. Certainly a huge company with a legal department would be able to fight harder than a mom trying to navigate the seedier side of the internet on her own.
So what can we do? We can Support MaryAnn. She is just like you and me and if we’ve learned anything it’s this- breastfeeding moms stand together.
Where do you stand on this? Do you keep all the details of your life private or do you let it all hang out (like I do)? Would this make you think twice about posting a breastfeeding pic on facebook or a video on Youtube?
Be sure to link up your posts- you can blog or vlog, just keep to the topic of Online Breastfeeding Safety.
Be sure to “like” the Support MaryAnn Facebook page and get updates on what others are saying about this.
*Our original topic was Thoughts on Nursing in Public and we were going to Vlog (yea for video and seeing your friendly faces!) but attention needed to be given to this topic ASAP. I still might vlog this out tomorrow and I will add that (or I might just save vlogging that for another time) it’s late and I don’t want to wake my three little guys with my chatter.