Julie Bell, a registered nurse, certified doula and herbalist, shared a photo of a newborn baby resting on his mother’s chest, and when doing so she didn’t even question whether or not to post the remarkable photo to Facebook.
We are dead-set serious about challenging the double standard on social media, discriminating against normal birth, breastfeeding and motherhood: . . . . "When registered nurse, certified doula and herbalist, Julie Bell from Victoria shared a photo of a newborn baby resting on his mum's chest, she never dreamed that she might be breaching any kind of guidelines on Facebook. But, shortly after posting the beautiful image, Julie's account received a seven-day ban and a warning that her account would be unpublished for any further breaches. "There's no adult nudity whatsoever in this photo, the only nudity is the baby's bottom," Julie told Kidspot. The image was sent to Julie by one of her Blissful Herbs clients, a mother who had previously experienced a traumatic birth and who was celebrating the beautiful peaceful birth she had with her second baby. “My dad who is blind as a bat managed to snap a few photos with a flash," the mum explained. "He never looked at the photos and after the baby arrived. He said, 'Honey sorry – I don't think I got anything on the camera. I couldn't see what I was taking photos of!' So a few days later I had a look and was blown away when I saw this image." It was a beautiful moment and one that was soured when the photo was deemed to violate the community standards of Facebook. Not long after the Facebook ban, Julie's Instagram account was removed for a birth photo which contained no nudity. Julie, who has been working as a doula for more than 20 years is fed up. "We get dismissed and fobbed off when we protest accounts and pages that are blatantly violent, pornographic and misogynistic," she said. "We are censored and censured when we seek to educate and empower women about our bodies in ways that have nothing to do with sexually servicing men. "We experience the loss of business and revenue as a result of this apparent discrimination against normal healthy womanhood, birth and breastfeeding." Julie's account was reinstated after a number of influencers within the birth community stepped in and helped her get the attention of Instagram, but the problem isn't limited to Julie's account." . . Contact me if this has happened to you!
Shortly after posting the powerful image though, Bell received a seven-day ban from Facebook and was sent a warning that her account would be unpublished if she breached the social networking sites guidelines again.
Julie spoke to Kidspot and said, ‘There’s no adult nudity whatsoever in this photo, the only nudity is the baby’s bottom.’
Bell also explains that the image was incredibly significant for the mother, as she had previously experienced a traumatic birth experience and was now celebrating the successful and beautiful birth of her newborn.
‘We get dismissed and fobbed off when we protest accounts and pages that are blatantly violent, pornographic and misogynistic,’ Bell said. ‘We are censored and censured when we seek to educate and empower women about our bodies in ways that have nothing to do with sexually servicing men.’
‘We experience the loss of business and revenue as a result of this apparent discrimination against normal healthy womanhood, birth and breastfeeding.’
Julie isn’t the only woman experiencing the ‘community standard’ guidelines though.
Lacey Barratt, an award-winning photographer from Victoria, has received two 30-day Facebook bans as the result of the images she posts of women’s birthing experiences.
Barratt claims that she doesn’t post photos of birth to be confronting or provocative, but rather believes it is one of the most raw and powerful moments a person can undergo in their lifetime.
She says, ‘I never post anything just for the sake of it, there’s always an underlying message to my image.’
Lacey regularly posts images that advocate for the Stop Censoring Birth movement, a social media campaign that encourages women to post their raw and incredibly intimate birthing pictures.
STOP CENSORING BIRTH // If you do a hashtag search for #stopcensoringbirth, you will see the message in the image above. @bumpbirthandbeyond is currently serving a 7 day ban on FB for posting a birth video, after a 3 day ban for a post on cervical mucus. Far too many women enter motherhood underprepared for the life changing journey ahead. Far too many mothers start their journey burdened by a traumatic birth experience. This is unacceptable. Women deserve access to childbirth education from the time they are able to conceive, to have a positive attitude towards birth, supported by a positive birth culture, armed with all the information necessary to make informed choices about the care they desire. The double standard with nudity on social media needs to end. Birth is not pornography. Birth is a normal physiological process that occurs approximately 300,000 times EVERY day! 2018 will be the year birth is embraced on social media and no longer censored. #bumpbirthandbeyond PC @karynloftesnessphotography @ellianagilbertphotography @katiemurray.birthandlife @tampabirthphotographer @catfancote.capturingbirth @mamamistica
Angela Gallo is also a well-known doula, photographer and educator who is fighting for uncensored birth images to be allowed on social media.
She said, ‘The core of it is that birth, on Instagram and Facebook is viewed as pornographic, crude, offensive material, and as such it is constantly being reported.’
‘We are trying to furiously improve birth-culture in a positive way,’ Angela continued. ‘These accounts are being shut down for no good reason, such as a nipple or a buttcrack.’
Angela claims there has been some progress with women getting their accounts reinstated by Instagram after a ban. She also says Facebook are also listening and trying to improve their policies to help empower the birthing community.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.
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