A(n Open) Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

25 11 2011

My Facebook page was recently issued a warning for sharing this picture (right before Thanksgiving, no less):







Quote from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page:

“I’m trying to make the world a more open place.”





I sent Mark the following message. (Won’t you join me?)

Hi Mark.

You want to make the world more open? So do I. The best start is in childhood. We need to be open, connected, and understanding. Raising these values from the ground up is key. Allowing this to take place beginning in infancy is the trick to building a better society. This is really hard to do, though, in a culture that sexualizes things which are truly more innocent, while condoning things which are clearly more overtly sexual in nature.

We are trying to support mothers and children in breastfeeding. I don’t know if you’re aware of this very BIG issue for women, and all of humanity, but education and support in this subject is needed since women worldwide are coming from an era of breastfeeding-as-gross and artificial formula as God. We are trying to show that this is a normal and healthy function that doesn’t need to be hidden, stigmatized, or silenced, and is actually better for human development. We want people to be open and free to believe in this and do it.

Yet, every time we show a photo of this, we get spanked. I just recently was fb spanked for showing the first photo here on my birth page on FB. Read that whole blog [post]– it’s really informative. In any case, you can see that her nipple is not even exposed, and a child is attached. This isn’t sexy, it’s mothering. It’s more National Geographic than Penthouse. If people consider this child exploitation or sexuality, that is a reflection of our repressed and perverse culture. It’s not in the spirit of connectedness or openness at all to censor these images. Yet, the photos which follow these ones on that blog are much more explicit. Women exploiting themselves sexually, which I am not even judging here, is allowed. These images are much more sexually provocative and yet they are sanctioned.

We feel in the mothering community that this is a gross double standard. Mothers, young mothers, natural parenting advocates and their pages, represent a large portion of your facebook users. I’m willing to bet somewhere between one half and one third of your users fall in these categories.

While probably not intentional, we feel this is a display of sexism, and it creates a lot of outrage in our communities every time one of these innocent photos results in any of us being warned or banned. It is NOT pornography. It is support, life, family, and beauty. Please understand the unfairness of the double standard.

I’m not trying to get anybody censored, not even the young women who choose to expose themselves to be provocative. I’m just trying to say that if FB is okay with them, why not us? We are trying to help make the world a better, safer, healthier, more open place. Breastfeeding moms are not accepted too often in our society, and we need to shed that stigma through education and honest representation. Please hear us.

Thanks, Elizabeth


Thanks for reading, and if you think this regulation is a failure and is keeping our society far from open, and perpetuating perversions, please consider letting Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg know.

Be True to Yourself– no matter fucking what.

30 06 2011

Trolls People have tried to warn me about my strong personality somehow getting in the way of my goals as an author. Like, what, I’m supposed to deliver some watered down version of myself because I’m trying to be “marketable”? Think again. No, that’s just what they’d like because it would make their jobs of trolling easier if they can stifle any of the strong voices.  Sure I want to sell books, but I’m still in favor of being upfront about who the fuck I am. I’m not hiding behind personas like WeepyDog/MJones25/RedShoes/dadawalk/teenage cancer patient/”Lauren”/”Elizabeth Ann”. [names edited to protect the guilty.]

They call it being “professional”.

Ron Burgundy: Big deal. I am very professional.

I’ve had jobs before that required me to be as such, and I have also had to represent myself in such a manner out in the real world. I’m told I’m pretty good at it. In person, I’ve been called regal or even snobby. I have an air I guess of being or feeling somehow above things, is how I take it. Sometimes it’s advantageous (“professional”), sometimes not (“personable”). There is a time and a place for being professional, and it doesn’t necessarily mean not ever standing up against attacks, falsehoods, or criticisms. I guess I have a certain amount of casual professionalism on Facebook. I want our fan page for the book to be comfortable and welcoming for people genuinely interested in the topics discussed in the book. (We even have a new discussions section– check it out.)

But, there is a place for total honesty, where I don’t have to hold my tongue quite as much– this blog. I’m not made of stone, and I’m not a robot. This is MY space.

Being yourself and saying what you have to say, and doing what you have to do, is what brought me here in the first place– to authorship, to natural childbirth advocacy, to unassisted childbirth. While I want my message to be accessible,  I am not in the business of making friends. The truth is often alienating! I’ve never been even close to a good salesperson. It feels too dirty. I don’t like the idea of “selling myself”. I don’t do what I’m told, and I don’t smile on command. I’ve tried in the past but I’m just not extroverted enough to swing it. I’m better at just being me. That’s all I have to offer, and that’s all that I can do, and I’m sure that will be good enough for and championed by the people who need me most in the world. It is them who I hope to serve.

I am in the business of telling you what I see with my own eyes. I see a lot of people regurgitating nonsense and re-feeding it to one another (ew), and I am not interested in joining a club or a clique where I am expected to roll with a pack mentality. Either you like me or you don’t. If you don’t like me, I think you’re probably a prejudiced asshole. To truly know me IS to love me, unless you’re against all that is holy and good.

But in seriousness, UC is a controversial subject. I expect to offend people, especially people who go around looking to be offended, of which there are plenty. Likewise there are also people who are looking to offend, although I am not trying to offend anyone intentionally.

Now you’d be right in saying that some of THE largest UC proponents are religious and that perhaps I am alienating my religious base whenever I say anything freethinking, liberal, or anti-religious. Well, I can’t really help that. The close-minded ones can move right along, and the open-minded ones can either take from me just the birthing aspects of our dialogue to get something out of our time together, OR they may even open their minds to hear my thoughts and learn something new or find a common ground with me.

This post seems a little defensive, maybe. Maybe it seems a little mad. Good. It’s a reflection of how I feel. It’s how I respond to a sometimes hostile environment. Other people are so busy trying to be “professional”. Trying to be “civil”. They ignore antagonism. I only will up to a certain point. I’m willing to get down. I can easily hold a grudge, I’ll ask you “what did you say?”, and I am not one to just “let go” or “turn the other cheek” over anything heated or confrontational.  No, I’m down! You want to get down? UC needs an angry voice. I’m willing to fight dirty if it means natural childbirth has a strong impassioned angry motherfucker at bat. Yeah, I’ll be that guy. Bring it. God knows the other side has plenty of angry and nasty bitches fighting on their own behalf. They’re counting on us to be meek, silent, professional.

So yeah, readers… It won’t be the first time or the last time you see me pissed off. Peace is at the core of most of our principles and beliefs as UCers, regardless of faith. Peace is our friend. It centers us. But you know what? This is me, this is who I am. And now you know that I’m a real person.

No matter what, by being true to yourself, you ultimately win. And since I’m not a total pragmatist, here’s your magical thinking for the day– good always conquers evil. And yes, it is accompanied by plenty of rainbows and dolphins and sunshine, if you have to fucking know.