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LJ holds breastfeeding icons inappropriate

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May. 20th, 2006 | 09:59 pm
posted by: thewhimmed in lactivism

cali4niachef was reported to LJ Abuse for using as her default icon. She was told to remove it, on the grounds that it was "inappropriate for a general viewing audience". If she doesn't remove it, her journal will be suspended. (Full post here).

LJ Abuse is maintaining the line that BFing icons are inappropriate to be seen in a public place, despite the fact that in just about every single US State, women have the right to breastfeed wherever they are legally allowed to be.

( Some of the more misguided statements that have come from LJ Abuse )

If you wish to show support for cali4niachef and the other women affected, please feel free to use this as your default icon, and join the email petition.

Several news networks have been contacted, and LJ's parent compant Six Apart has also been contacted.

(the above was copied from general post that is widely circulating and jexia.


i signed the petition and have since recieved a response from lj saying that "If an icon depicting the act
of breastfeeding does not also depict a clearly visible unclothed breast in which the areola or nipple is visible, it does not fall into this category.", so apparently, they are back-peddling a little and now only nipples are "inappropriate".

they then followed up with "The physical-world analogy is not perfect in this situation; breastfeeding is indeed perfectly legal in public places, but in a public place, another parent is also able to cover a child's eyes or remove a child from the area if he or she believes that such an action is inappropriate for their child to see." the reference of a parent being able to shield their child in public but not online is ridiculous posturing. the fact that other parents see breastfeeding as inappropriate for children to see is also so sad, strange world we live in.

for me, i told lj that if they didn't recant and change their position so that breastfeeding in all its forms is taken out of the "obscene and inappropriate" category, that i would not be renewing my paid subscription when it runs out.

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Comments {3}


(no subject)

from: f1ymetothemoon
date: May. 21st, 2006 06:38 am (UTC)

I signed the petition, posted the link in my journal, and had already sent in a complaint.

Here is what I received from LJ's Abuse Team in reply to a complaint I sent yesterday...

Dear LiveJournal user,

Thank you for your inquiry. For reasons of privacy and
confidentiality, we are not able to discuss specific content in a user's journal with
anyone other than the owner of that journal. We can, however, speak
generally about LiveJournal's policies in certain situations.

The standards informing LiveJournal's policy governing default user
picture icons are not, broadly speaking, grounded in specific legal codes.
Because LiveJournal is a privately held company, it can choose to set
and enforce guidelines for use that are more strict in places than
United States law would otherwise be. Specifically, default user picture
icons are prohibited to contain overt violence, or a direct, unobstructed
view of any primary or secondary sexual characteristics, regardless of
the content of the icon itself.

This policy is not grounded in the belief that breastfeeding is
illegal, obscene, inappropriate, or otherwise subject to censorship. Rather,
the content restrictions placed on default user picture icons are made
necessary by the fact that default icons can be seen in many places
within the LiveJournal.com domain; their appearance is not limited to
entries or comments for which they have been selected. Because these icons
can be seen in places on the site where one would not reasonably expect
to find sexually explicit content, such as user directories and
searches, they must not contain material which may be considered inappropriate
for viewing in certain settings. We realize that breastfeeding is not a
sexual activity, however images depicting the activity cannot be used
as default icons if they display an unobstructed view of the subject's

You are free to use your breastfeeding icons within your personal
journal and communities. The content restrictions apply only to default
icons; non-default user pictures are not subject to the same restrictions,
and community maintainers are free to decide for themselves what
content, if any, to disallow in their communities.

Finally, please be aware that write-in campaigns are never effective in
swaying the opinion of the Abuse Team or LiveJournal administrators, or
in focusing attention on a particular issue. A flood of requests
concerning the same issue only serve to slow down the responses given to
valid inquiries such as your request for policy clarification.

LiveJournal Abuse Team

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(no subject)

from: saara687
date: May. 21st, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)

"Finally, please be aware that write-in campaigns are never effective in
swaying the opinion of the Abuse Team or LiveJournal administrators, or
in focusing attention on a particular issue."

*shrug* Won't stop us from doing it, though.

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(no subject)

from: lowiness
date: May. 21st, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)

I also sent in the complaint and got the standard response. I emailed back saying it was a satisfactory response and said I would consider pulling my paid membership if this wasn't fixed. This is the response I got back to that:

"Dear Ms. *******,

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.

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.

All of our users are welcome to use a wide variety of user icons as non-default. We recognize that LiveJournal is an all-ages site, and that there are users who choose to use LiveJournal for adult purposes; we support that viewpoint just as much as we support the parents who choose to allow their minor children to use LiveJournal to record their thoughts and feelings. Yes, it is quite possible for an unsupervised child to find objectionable material on LiveJournal, and that's why we also strongly recommend that parents supervise and monitor their children's Internet access. We're not trying to marginalize any of our users, no matter what purpose they're using LiveJournal for. We only feel that it's as important for a parent to feel comfortable that their child isn't going to be exposed to potentially objectionable material in areas that the parent has previously deemed "safe", such as the school directory or the interest search.

We know we're never going to make everyone happy, and I understand completely how our position might seem as though we are discriminating against a particular action, group, or movement. Please believe that this is not our intent. We have always simply tried to reasonably make a policy that can be evenly and rationally enforced.


Denise Paolucci

Six Apart, Ltd // LiveJournal.com

LiveJournal Customer Service Manager"

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