Monday, 6 February 2012

Facebook Protest #fbbf #Dublin

Well, I did it.  Got us all there and back in pretty much one piece.  

Emergency boob-stops = 4 
Dirty nappies changed on the front seat = 4
Emotional breakdowns (mine) = 1.5
Illegal U-turns after wrong turns >6

I'm sure there's more but I've blanked it out...  Here's what I can remember:

When we arrived, two HR reps (both women) from Facebook met us and invited us in out of the drizzle and into the lobby.  They even offered us coffee! 

Fiona from the fabulous Friends of Breastfeeding had brought along examples of some of the deleted images to show to representatives of Facebook.  The ladies from the HR department confirmed that Facebook supports breastfeeding and seemed genuinely surprised when they saw some of the images that have been deleted.  They told us that Facebook only deletes photos when they show lots of skin - however Fiona's pictures told a different story.  The HR ladies also confirmed to me verbally that all flagged photos are reviewed by a real human being before being deleted.  Definitely a training need then..

You can view some of the pictures Facebook has deleted over the years on this website.

Facebook's representatives also kept a good eye out for the press, and they informed them that they had to wait outside and weren't allowed to film in the lobby.  We soon realised that Facebook was probably trying to make it look (from outside the building) like very few people had turned up.  If we stayed inside (in the warm!) then clearly fewer of the mums would be able to talk to the press, there would be no usable photos and the net result would much less press coverage of the protest.  Sneaky!

So of course we had to go outside again - fortunately it had stopped drizzling by then.

DBM group member the lovely Grainne (a real baby whisperer for her 'That's Not My Monkey' efforts with dd2 on the M1) was brave enough to be interviewed by RTE.  Go girl!

Many other mums were interviewed or photographed by members of the press, and Chris from Friends of Breastfeeding gave a really excellent speech.  Well done to everybody who made an effort to speak out publicly to raise awareness of this long standing problem.  I'm sure many of them felt the same as me - like a fish out of water.

I was lucky to meet MANY amazing women - and not a few amazing men - too many to list here.  Amongst them was Niamh from The Mama's Hip Blog (pictured above) who has written her account of the day here.  
I honestly think EVERYONE who attended today deserves a 'big-up' for making the effort to come along.  People had travelled from all over the island (from as far away as Derry and Waterford) to attend. 

So many people are 'armchair activists', and I guess I don't really get it.  Essentially they agree with something, but they'll tell you they just don't 'do' protests.  It's not their *thing*.

Well I'll tell you - it's not my *thing* either.  I do NOT get a kick out of an 190 mile round trip alone with two small children (who does?).  I find the thought of being labelled a 'lactivist' a real turn off.  It's certainly not something I aspire to be!  I just want mums to be supported to breastfeed if they want to.  I certainly don't want anyone (in this case Facebook) making it harder for them by making out they're doing something weird.  So even though it's not my *thing* I accept that protesting is sometimes necessary.  

As nice as it was to meet so many lovely people, I hope I don't have to do anything like this again.  Ever!  I just don't want it to be an issue.  

On the upside, there was cake! 

Well done to all the people all over the world who turned up to the protests today, thank you to everyone who changed their profile pictures in support, and to those who wanted to come but couldn't make it - it's your turn next time ;)

Below, the real face of 'lactivism'.

EDITED TO ADD:  In the time it's taken for me to write and review this post I've seen on Twitter that @babycalmclasses has been banned from Facebook for three days for (seemingly) posting a cartoon showing a newborn having skin to skin with a topless mum.  I SO hope this isn't true. :(

Here are links to some of the press coverage of today's protest.  If you have blogged about this or know of an article I've missed, please let me know so I can add it to the list:


  1. Waow you all did an amazing job - thank you on behalf of Alexander and myself. Xxx

  2. Hat's off to you for not only making the trek to protest in Dublin~ but also for writing it up so nicely in your blog for all of us to read/share/share some more! With you today in spirit with my profile photo changed in my little neck of the USA (state of ga)~ this is great for normalizing breastfeeding which seems to be needed in all corners of the world~ virtual and real! Lynn (.Y.)

  3. Thrilled to hear you got the opportunity to speak to represetatives from FB, it has been interesting to follow the way the different offices have dealt with the protests. I think out New York Mamas were moved on by the police!
    And thank goodness for cake.
    Thanks for the write-up too.

  4. Bridget Cavanna: My friend who is not a parent, does not want to be a parent, does not like to hear my parenting stories (all there are, these days!) called me from Ireland to say she had seen 'all over the media' about the protests! She totally 'got' it and agrees with the cause. For me, that means it was a huge success! Well done.xx

  5. Well done all of you. If I could have got to the London protest I would have. I certainly will join in next time - well hopefully there won't need to be a next time!

    You have all done a brilliant job and let's hope that Facebook staff are having some very much needed training at this very moment.


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