This week I posted a reminder on the Lactivist Facebook page that looked like this:
“Hi folks, just a reminder to keep pictures of breastfeeding off this page please. Facebook are really funny about it and I just don’t have the energy to fight them if they delete the page. Sorry (Lisa)”
The logic behind this is that if we have a rule that no pictures of breastfeeding can be posted then there is no way anything can be reported and there is no way we lose the page.
After I posted that request there were lots of comments that criticised me, comments like
“That makes me sad. FB is FB. Their rules suck and we all know it. You, however, are called “lactivist” and state quite clearly that your goal is to support breastfeeding. The ‘-ivist’ part of your name is from ‘activist,’ but there’s nothing very active about what you’re saying. How is it supportive of breastfeeding to ban your fans from posting their most precious pictures?” from Zen Parenting.
“maybe you should change the name of the page to “lactation,” since there is no activism in the roll-over-and-play-dead mentality you’ve adopted. un-liked.” from Bianca
“it does seem to be that the lactivist page is about selling products with slogans on, rather than any actual lactivism ” from Sally.
Lactivist does make a little money, a whole £450 last tax year so I am also on tax credits as I’m clearly on a low income. I’m a single parent too so there is no rich hubby to bail me out Rules of tax credits are that you cannot volunteer and get them, you have to be seen to be trying to earn money. Having already been investigated for this I really have to be careful how I allocate my time. I can do a lot of facebook stuff in the name of market research and promotion and I try to do as much supportive stuff as possible as time allows.
I’m planning an ebook, I produce flyers and give them out for free, I donate numerous t shirts to groups as raffle.prizes. I’m having to pick my fights and I really have not got the time or energy to fight facebook who have historically banned people and deleted pages with pictures of breastfeeding.
The Facebook page has helped thousands of people, in order to stay that way I have to keep it workable. Have you ever tried to contact Facebook? Can you imagine the hours needed to reinstate a page? I applaud anyone who has got breastfeeding pictures on their page, and I agree totally that these pictures need to be seen so that breastfeeding in public is ‘normalised’ to the many people who find it offensive. However, this lactivist is fighting battles that can be won in the shorter term, not ones that leech energy.
I’m pissed off about all this, so pissed off that I’ve suspended the page while I think of what to do. I spend literally hours of my own unpaid time reposting requests for help, advertising breastfeeding groups, promoting other peoples products and generally trying to be supportive to those that need support. And it’s not only me, there is a team of volunteer admins all doing the same thing, keeping an eye on posts when people really need help, deleting the occasional hate mail and generally keeping the page running.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep the page offline for, I am considering just having it as a place to promote lactivist products and not as a support group.
There is only so much I, and the rest of the admins who have watched the Lactivist facebook page help thousands in the last few years can give.