Bel (nollimetangere) wrote in ukparent,

a letter from LJ and my response

Dear LiveJournal user nollimetangere,

Thank you for your feedback. Please allow me to explain, as the controversy surrounding this issue appears to stem from a misunderstanding.

LiveJournal has always placed restrictions on default userpics, as the default userpic is visible in many public areas throughout the site, including the Directory, the Schools Directory, and the profile page. These restrictions are detailed in We feel it's important to strike a balance between the ideal of free expression and the rights of, for instance, a parent to prevent their child from seeing unsolicited material that the parent feels is non-age-appropriate or the right of an individual to be able to browse public LiveJournal spaces without being exposed to the unclothed human form or to excessive violence.

There are not blanket restrictions on default userpics depicting the act of breastfeeding, and the restrictions have nothing to do with targetting or restricting breastfeeding activism or awareness campaigns. We must hold to as clear and consistent a guideline as possible to determine the appropriateness of default userpics, in order to ensure that our standards are enforced equally for every user. Any usericon in which unclothed breasts or genitalia are visible is therefore inappropriate for use as a default icon, and when such icons are reported to the Abuse team, the user is asked to make that icon non-default. 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.

We do not prohibit people from using icons that are inappropriate for use as a default icon as a non-default icon, as the issue is not with the depiction of the icons themselves but their use in areas, again such as the Directory and the Schools Directory, which have been designated "nudity free". Non-default userpics are not held to the same standard, as they can only be visible in entries, comments, and communities, all of which are "user space" as opposed to "LiveJournal application space".

The application of this policy to icons depicting breastfeeding is not in any way intended to be a statement that breastfeeding is dirty, shameful, or obscene. We fully support our users' right to make their own decisions regarding parenting choices and styles, and we appreciate the dedication of parents who have chosen to participate in breastfeeding activism and education. We feel that the restrictions we have always placed on default usericons strike the best balance between individual expression and individual courtesy.

We do agree that in a perfect world, the issue would not arise, but unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and we believe that our solution to the issue is a reasonable compromise between two wildly divergent points of view regarding what is and is not appropriate for LiveJournal -- not simply regarding icons depicting breastfeeding, but all material which a parent or other individual might feel is inappropriate for public.

I apologize for any miscommunications which may have given the impression that LiveJournal is in any way "against" individual parenting choices; the issue is not at all a political one. We welcome and value our pro-breastfeeding users and communities, and appreciate their dedication to and passion for their cause. However, because LiveJournal is a community with extremely varied standards and audiences, we must balance out the interests of all our users, and we have always felt these restrictions are the best possible compromise.

We will continue to evaluate the policy, based on the feedback we receive, and it is possible it will change in the future. If you do choose to leave LiveJournal, we'll be sorry to see you go, but we wish you luck in the future, and hope you find a blog service to meet your needs.


Denise Paolucci

So let me just get this absolutely clear, a picture depicting breast feeding, but not revealing the areola or nipple is ok? I guess if this is the case that it's a fair compromise although I would like to point out one thing.

It's one thing to censor the images children see on your communities, but most children using you service can read and I'm able to find plenty of communities dedicated to ideals which i would consider harmful to my child. communities like:

racial hatred- folk_and_faith

self harm-



who have links to pages like this in posts-

check out the icons with quotes.


the journal title of this community is

A flat stomach is nice but a concave stomach is perfect
What's yours like?

and yet they claim to ban promoting?

i do understand that some people may find naked breasts offensive, but surely when a hungry baby is attached to them it changes the tone completely. I just don't see how it's less offensive to promote hate and suffering than to feed my child the way nature intended in any type of public forum.

And for the record, I don't even breastfeed and I never have(I plan to try again with my next child), but I still think it's wrong to censor those who do. Just as it would be wrong of me to censor the people posting on the communities I've brought to your attention despite the fact that I find them disguting.

I understand that LJ has a fine balance to preserve to keep everyone happy and I will probably start posting in my journal again, but I really look forward to the removal of restrictions on breast feeding icons.

Thank you,

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