One mother is slamming TikTok after the social network banned her from the platform. Their reason? She posted a video of herself breastfeeding. Now Emma O’Donnell, 33, is using her platform as a mommy blogger to discuss the continued stigma surrounding breastfeeding.
In her TikTok, O’Donnell offered tips on breastfeeding in public. She emphasized that no mother should feel pressured to cover up, but some may feel more secure if they do. She demonstrated the techniques, which included placing a sheet over her shoulder to conceal her chest. At no point in the video does O’Donnell bare her chest.
In an Instagram post, O’Donnell described her experience with TikTok, stating that she was nowhere close to showing her chest.
She writes, “Yet the video was removed and I’ve been blocked from the platform for indecency. However, if I had been dancing around in my underwear without a baby I dare say the video would still be there.”
Breastfeeding on TikTok
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NORMALISE BREASTFEEDING! Last night I posted a video on Tiktok – showing mothers how to descreetly feed their baby’s! Let me first say – I in NO WAY think mothers should have to cover themselves! I’m all about getting the tata’s out!!!! But I understand some people feel more comfortable when they are descreet – so this video was showing how it can be done in a way that doesn’t cover baby’s head and allows eye contact to be maintained! No flesh was shown (the point was IT WAS Descreet, I was wearing ^ this jumper!) and yet the video was removed and I’ve been blocked from the platform for indecency. However, if I had been dancing around in my underwear without a baby I dare say the video would still be there!! This sadly is not the first time this has happened, women everywhere are constantly having posts removed for breaching community guidelines over an act that is entirely natural!!! We need to see a change!!! It is not right that society deems women to be purely sexual play things. We can strut around with our bits hanging out but by god, don’t dare use them for the purposes of which they were designed. This is a time that women need all the support they can get – they are unable to attend lactation support groups and are relying on the online community even more so than usual. We should be allowed to support each other without fear of being blocked, judged or criticised! I have tagged some of the Mummy’s helping spread the word this week and we ask that you please stand with us. Share this, or post on your page and/or sign the petition in my bio! We need to make as much noise as we can so maybe one day (hopefully soon) we’ll be heard!!! Enough is ENOUGH!!!!! 😡😡😡
When O’Donnell posted the video, she received a notice from TikTok claiming she had breached community guidelines. According to Metro, she tried to appeal the ban, thinking it was an algorithm error. TikTok reviewed her video and stood by the initial decision. O’Donnell ended up appealing the decision three more times before her video was reinstated.
However, O’Donnell is still outraged that her video was flagged to begin with.
“This sadly is not the first time this has happened, women everywhere are constantly having posts removed for breaching community guidelines over an act that is entirely natural,” O’Donnell wrote.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed to Metro that the platform was fine with breastfeeding being depicted in videos, such as O’Donnell’s. They stated, “Content depicting breastfeeding is welcomed on our platform and #breastfeeding has over 185m views. The video in question was removed in error and has subsequently been restored.”
Mom Demands Change on Platforms
O’Donnell hopes that sharing her situation will help normalize breastfeeding content on social media. She was also inspired to create a Change.org petition targeting Instagram, Facebook, and Instagram.
“It’s more about the fact that you can’t have one rule for girls and lads dancing around in next to nothing, but once there’s a baby involved that’s somehow wrong,” O’Donnell told Metro. “It doesn’t make sense.”
In the petition, she explains that platforms allow posts of women that are “far more exposing,” but crack down on breastfeeding moms, which she finds unfair. In light of the pandemic, O’Donnell believes building an online community of women sharing their breastfeeding experience is a lifeline for moms who can’t access in-person support groups.