Stop Shaming and Censoring Breastfeeding Moms
Stop Shaming and Censoring Breastfeeding Moms
Why this petition matters
On the Thursday, May 21, 2015 airing of The Today Show, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb discussed breastfeeding on their segment "OK! Or Not OK!"
The avatars of Kathie Lee and Hoda said the following in regards to sharing breastfeeding photos on social media:
Kathie Lee: "There are two types of people, Hoda; those who feel the need to share their most precious moments [showing a cartoon of a mother breastfeeding] and those who'd like to keep it private like I prefer [showing a cartoon of a door], but God bless us all."
Hoda: "I say breastfeeding is beautiful and natural [showing a cartoon of the mother breastfeeding on a computer screen] but sharing it on social media? TMI [showing the letters "TMI" in bold blue]. And that stands for Too Much Information."
The Today Show has shared the following in contrast to the content aired on this segment:
1. Approximately three hours after the airing of this segment, Alesandra Dubin of The Today Show published an article titled "Breastfeeding Model Covers a Major Magazine (And Readers Love It!)". This article was shared on the Today Show's social media (Facebook) page with the accompanying caption: "We gave birth, we are women, we are mothers." This article offered praise for celebrities who choose to post photographs to social media. http://www.today.com/style/breastfeeding-mom-covers-magazine-t22341
2. On the April 1, 2015 airing of the Today Show, Kathie Lee and Hoda's bodies were blurred out to give the appearance of nudity - which was accepted and approved by the Today Show Production Team. http://www.today.com/video/today/57193070
3. On February 7, 2014 airing of The Today Show, a segment was aired in which Hoda Kotb encouraged women to show some cleavage while out on a first date. http://www.today.com/popculture/hoda-women-who-are-dating-show-some-cleavage-2D12074568
After learning of the content aired on the Saturday, May 21 segment, mothers gathered peacefully on the Today Plaza for the taping of the Saturday, May 23 Weekend Today episode.
Prior to the episode, Today Plaza security confiscated two of the signs written by supporters. The signs said:
1. "Keep Calm And Breastfeed
It's Just A Boob"
2. "Keep Calm and Latch On
I Support My Mother's Right to Breastfeed
Any Time Any Place"
A supporter created a sign with supplies provided by the Today Show. This sign read "#Brelfie" (with brelfie defined as a photo a woman takes of herself and her child while breastfeeding). This sign appears to have been blurred by the Today Show Production Staff on at least one occasion while on air.
The FCC does not prohibit the airing of breastfeeding or messages supportive of breastfeeding. https://www.fcc.gov/guides/obscenity-indecency-profanity-faq
Breastfeeding mothers have the legal right to nurse their babies wherever and however they please in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The law in New York, where the Today Show is filmed, is strengthened by a Breastfeeding Mothers' Bill of Rights. https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2028/
Facebook's Community Standards contain the following: "[W]e always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding".
Three statements below include reasons why mothers may choose to share a breastfeeding photo or "brelfie" (breastfeeding selfie).
Leilani Rogers, Founder of the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project, stated: "Moms are in hiding because of this mindset that breastfeeding is inappropriate for public display. And then they are not feeding their babies on demand, which ultimately affects their breastfeeding goals. So society's support plays a HUGE role in a mother's breastfeeding success."
Vanessa Simmons, Founder of NormalizeBreastfeeding.org, noted: "Breastfeeding has been the normal way to feed children since the beginning of time. I remember as a young child receiving a magazine in my mailbox with mothers openly breastfeeding in public. No one said a word back then. Fast forward 25 years, and the public now shames mothers like myself who choose to celebrate this beautiful bond that comes from breastfeeding as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends - a minimum of 2 years."
Laura Delmonico, Founder of the Nationwide Nurse-In, remarked: "Sharing these images helps encourage future moms to breastfeed, giving them confidence to be unashamed of what their breasts were designed to do. Why would anyone think it is okay to shame women for doing such a normal, beautiful thing? Why is the Today Show so out of the loop?"
Therefore, we petition NBC Studios to:
1. Issue an on-air apology for the sentiments expressed on the Thursday, May 21 show that were targeted at humiliating breastfeeding mothers;
2. Publicly extend words of support for all mothers who choose to share pictures of themselves feeding their children, whether celebrity or not, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, and whether covered or not;
3. Consider airing a segment with breastfeeding mothers who describe the importance of normalizing breastfeeding;
4. Cease the censorship of breastfeeding photos, as well as breastfeeding-supportive posters and social media postings;
5. Remove the May 21, 2015 "OK! Or Not OK!" segment from all future airings of this episode.
We appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this petition.
Jill A. DeLorenzo, mother of two
With the support of the following Facebook pages and groups:
NormalizeBreastfeeding.org - 10,616 members
Nationwide Nurse-In - 696 members
Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project - 4,771 members
Paa.la - 7,221 members
Best for Babes - 75,966 members
The Badass Breastfeeder - 203,937+ members
Mothers for Public Breastfeeding - 8,465 members
Breastfeeding Mama Talk - 426,802 members
Breastfeeding Help - 7,151 members
Just for Dad's - 344 members
Breastfeeding World - 618 members
New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition - 1,377 members
Attached - 439 members
Mama Knows Breast - 6,120 members