Should breastfeeding photos be considered nudity or obscene?
by Michele Zipp
Take a look at how many photos you have on your phone. If you are like me, you have around 1,623. Wow. I really should do something about that. I should print some -- put an album together -- so I can free up some storage. One mom decided to do just that. She had hundreds of photos that she was having printed at her local Sam's Club in Oxford, Alabama. Some of those photos includes pictures of her breastfeeding her baby. And when she went to pick up those photos, the clerk at the store first refused to give her the ones containing nudity -- nudity of the breastfeeding variety.
These "obscene" photos were picked out of her batch and put on the side, along with some photos of her child in the bath. The clerk told the mom about their policy of not giving her the photos that contained nudity. This seems like the clerk is being a bit too literal of the job requirement.
Jerrika Aiken wrote on her Facebook page to the store:
I am honestly outraged that today, the Oxford, AL Sam's Club, tried to refuse me my photos of my children in the bath tub (chest up, not genitals) and of me breastfeeding my son (the breastfeeding photos showed no area more than a woman would show cleavage, no nipples) The most upsetting part is that breastfeeding is NOT nudity and I feel very discriminated against and embarrassed that there would be any issue with my photos of a completely natural and healthy act. I hope this will come across to the right person, and possibly stop this discrimination which is 100% illegal to discriminate against. I pray no other mother is treated this way at Sam's Club.
I agree with her -- no mother should be treated this way, made to feel embarrassed, discriminated against for breastfeeding her baby, for doing what is completely natural. According to Aiken, these photos were printed and then singled out. When she saw the clerk putting some on the side, she knew that they were photos of her breastfeeding. And that's because breastfeeding moms are fully aware of the issues most of the general public have with the sight of a mother feeding her baby. Many nursing mothers have had eyes glaring at them with disgust when they breastfed in public. People complain about seeing moms breastfeed too often.
Let's just take a minute and think about that. Why would anyone complain when they see a baby getting the best nourishment she can get? So I don't see how a photograph is any different. We take photos of ourselves breastfeeding our babies because it is such an incredible bonding experience -- one we want to document and remember for years to come. It's those moments, the fleeting moments when our babies are young, that pass so fast. So we take pictures to remember, to put ourselves back in that beautiful moment long after that moment passed.
We don't know much about the employee. Maybe he or she was new on the
job. Maybe he or she was told about this strict no nudity policy and
was just trying to do the right thing. I'm trying to see all sides here.
I do think it was a mistake on the employee's part. Breastfeeding isn't obscene, neither are breastfeeding photos. We all need to realize that the sight of a mother breastfeeding her baby shouldn't be shocking or indecent.
When the manager got involved at the store, they agreed to give Aiken her photos but warned that they wouldn't do it again if she had more another time because it was against their policy. I'm a bit surprised at this, and hoping the incident brings up a conversation at stores who print photos, allowing them to realize that breastfeeding isn't obscene and shouldn't be put in the same category as nude photographs.
What do you think? Should breastfeeding photos be considered nudity or obscene?
Image via David D/Flickr