Why It’s Time to #StopCensoringMotherhood

By Andrea Fowler, REDBOOK.

After a difficult pregnancy, photographer Ashlee Wells Jackson had trouble accepting her new, post-baby body. So she decided to help herself--and mothers everywhere--reevaluate what it means to be beautiful.


We've long been fans of her photo documentary, The 4th Trimester Bodies Project, which is dedicated to "embracing the beauty inherent in the changes brought to our body from motherhood, childbirth, and breastfeeding," last September. Since then, there's been a massive outpouring of support--but not from everyone.

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Facebook and Instagram have caught wind of the project, and it seems they aren't liking what they're seeing, having shut Jackson out of her accounts multiple times, including twice in just the last week.

"It's ridiculous censorship of things that don't need to be," Jackson told The Huffington Post--and she's absolutely right.

When Jackson first encountered these issues, she started a petition on Change.org. It has since received over 19,000 signatures.

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"Facebook has specific policies about breastfeeding photos and claims most photos won't be banned under their guidelines," the petition reads. "However, my artistic images that respectfully depict everyday women are continually removed. Instagram, on the other hand, has no policies about breastfeeding photos and removed my account with no notice or warning. Accounts of other women who post breastfeeding and postpartum photos have also been mysteriously taken down and their photos removed. These policies, designed to keep lewd photos off Facebook and Instagram, are misused to make women and breastfeeding moms feel like they're doing something wrong."

We could not have said it better ourselves.

Because of her recent social media struggles, Jackson launched the#StopCensoringMotherhood social media movement. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook users seem to be in full support, with over 2,400 posts using the hashtag on Instagram alone.

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This isn't the first time seemingly innocent photos have been removed from social media sites. Earlier this month, Jill White's photo of her daughter recreating a vintage Coppertone ad was deleted for its "indecency."

But beyond the confines of what is and isn't appropriate to share online, the 4th Trimester Bodies Project taps into something we very much like--the positive acknowledgement of the fact that we all have issues with our bodies, but those hang-ups don't mean we aren't, and don't deserve to feel beautiful.


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