A Toronto mom lost her Instagram account after she shared a breastfeeding photo with her and her daughter. CTV News shared the story of Heather Bays, a professional photographer who is completely heartbroken after losing her account. Bays not only used Instagram to document her own journey as a mom, but also to showcase her professional work. Now, she’s lost her entire account because some deemed her breastfeeding photo offensive. Adding insult to injury, it was shut down over Mother’s Day weekend!
One black and white breastfeeding photo takes down an entire Instagram account
The breastfeeding photo in question was a rather classy black and white depicting Bays feeding her daughter. If you look at the photo, it’s kind of difficult to see how it could be considered offensive. Think about it for a moment: you see FAR more skin in the average pool party or beach shot than Bays shows here. In fact, I’ve seen more exposed breasts just walking past a Victoria’s Secret display in the mall!
What is it about a breastfeeding mom that gets some people so up in arms? We talked about breastfeeding in public and whether it was natural or indecent. I think most of us agreed that it’s a pretty natural act, although there are a few places we can think of that it wouldn’t be appropriate. My feelings on that were if it’s an appropriate place to eat, it’s an appropriate place to feed your baby. Yet still, it seems that there are many people who get incredibly offended by seeing a woman breastfeeding. Which leads me to a huge question:
Do you have a right to not be offended?
This question goes way beyond just a breastfeeding photo. It seems that there are some who feel they have a special right to go through life never having to see anything that offends them. I’m sorry, but that is not the way the world works. Do you know what offends me? Something that I really never, ever want to see? Clowns. Clowns offend me. They’re creepy. They give me nightmares. Does that mean I have a right to complain if, say, Olfa, takes her children to the circus and posts a picture of clowns on her Instagram? I can complain all I want, sure, but I don’t have a right to demand that her account be shut down.
Do you know what else offends me? Child sexual exploitation, animal abuse, child abuse, people starving in third world nations, people starving in my own nation, rape, murder, women who are tortured because they want an education…the list goes on. The things that offend me are basic violations of human rights and other atrocities. Things that we should be fighting against. Guess what? Although they offend me, I don’t feel that we should rid the internet of photos relating to those violations because those photos spur people into action. They make people aware.
While a breastfeeding photo is hardly on the level of spurring people into fighting a major wrong in the world, Bays’ photo of herself breastfeeding her daughter may encourage other hesitant moms to breastfeed their own children. Isn’t that what the goal is? To get more moms to breastfeed? To encourage them to overcome common breastfeeding challenges and give their babies the best possible start to life?
I didn’t breastfeed my son for personal and medical reasons. In fact, I come down strong in defense of those who choose to formula feed. I also support those who choose to breastfeed, because we all have to do what is best for our situations. Breastfeeding is not an offensive act. Sharing a photo with your followers and friends, especially when it’s a relatively classy photo that barely shows any skin, isn’t offensive in my opinion. Even if it was, the right to not be offended is not a basic human right. Being offended by something tells us that we care, that we have causes we want to stand up for. Maybe some people just need to think a little harder about the things they choose to care about. In the grand scheme of things, a mother breastfeeding is far less offensive than, say, human trafficking.
Update: Instagram has reportedly reinstated Bays’ account. Good!
What do you think? Was Instagram right to shut down Bays’ account over a breastfeeding photo?