Should birth images be censored on social media?
Recently, we shared a photo series that featured winners from The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers (IAPBP) Annual Image of the Year competition. These photographs captured a wide range of emotions of the birth experience and were raw, intense and beautiful.
One of the photographers who was featured in the series is Morag Hastings, whose photo of a naked woman bent over in the shower is especially evocative. You can feel what this woman is feeling — it's an extremely powerful piece of art.
Besides being a photographer, Hastings is a doula and an advocate for normalizing childbirth in all its forms.
But Ms. Hastings is currently getting heat from Facebook after posting a different birth photo of a mother standing and the baby's head between her legs.
Hastings says, "The image that they removed showed a powerful woman catching her own baby standing up, there was a bit of the bottom of my clients bum, thighs, baby's head ... and some blood."
Facebook informed Hastings that her page would be unpublished and she found out that she's unable to use it for 30 days. This image of a baby being born isn't what we're normally used to seeing, which makes it even more interesting and important.
On her website, Hasting said, "We need to be able to share images of our babies being born in ways that can inspire women to take charge of their births. To be able to do this, we need to be able to share images that show a bit of leg and maybe a bit of blood. We need to not feel scared and oppressed by Facebook's lack of education around women's bodies acting in a natural way. I want to spend my days inspiring women about birth, not fighting the world's largest social media platform when I share images of women being powerful."
Facebook decided that that photograph breaks their nudity rules, and shut down Hastings' business page, Apple Blossom Families, for thirty days, saying, "We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks."
But what about the picture Kim Kardashian West posted of her very famous backside? I don't think you can get any more fully exposed buttocks than that, and yet she wasn't reprimanded at all.
Here are both images showing Facebook's double standard:
Hastings says, "Get with the times Facebook; it's 2016, women are way more than sexual objects. We are amazing creatures that create life and we want to freely share it with each other so we can learn about birth in a healthy way."