A new mom, who just so happens to be a comedienne, posted a video of herself breastfeeding on Funny Or Die. Ahna Tessler is seen breastfeeding her twins in a skit called Leah Got a Job. "Leah" seems like exactly the kind of person who would think breastfeeding is obscene. She's first pictured from the neck up and talks about hating kids even though she is an art teacher. She flips her hair, talks tough, and when the camera starts panning down, there are two babies at her breasts.
Funny Or Die isn't exactly the place I would expect to see a comedic breastfeeding video (with a lot of f-bombs, you've been warned), but that is precisely why I think it's fantastic that Tessler decided to write it into a script, film it, and post it. My husband and I both think it's funny. But Funny Or Die didn't think it was so they killed it, removed all Tessler's videos, and suspended her account. Watch it below.
Tessler thought they removed it was because of her excessive cursing, but when she asked the site, they told her it was because of her breastfeeding. Mind you, the site does have nudity on it. Full-frontal male nudity. Yet you can't see anything except two babies at the breast in the video. So essentially Funny or Die is saying penises are no big deal, but a mom breastfeeding her 2-month-old babies is way too much for people to see. The New York Times reports that they are reinstating her account, and a rep for the site shared, “Funny or Die supports breastfeeding in all forms, especially among consenting adults.”
Funny. I'll give them that.
So what are the rules for posting on Funny or Die? Why was Tessler's video deleted? Did someone get offended? They gave some sort of thought it was a spammer excuse but I'm not buying it.
We've talked about breastfeeding photos being removed from Facebook and how people find women who nurse in public repulsive and the instances keep happening over and over again. It feels so redundant that even I was being complacent about it. But I can't be. Moms can't be. Women can't be. Anyone who believes in equality cannot be. This is a women's rights issue. Moms are considered second-class citizens. We aren't respected. We aren't being taken seriously -- we are often dismissed as "Oh she's a mom." We have negative phrases attached to us like "mom jeans" and "mom haircut" and far too many people think of moms as women who just clean crap out of babies asses all day. Whose brains aren't as adept. Whose interests are dull. Whose comedy isn't as funny. We fought so hard for the right to vote and for women's lib, and yet our maternity leave is pathetic, and we are blasted for feeding our children. Do we deserve to have it all? To have a career, a family, and be able to have some job security while we nurture that family? Yes. Yes, we do.
I'm not sure Tessler's video was posted to bring up these feelings in people. But the removal of it sure has. Far too many people feel breastfeeding is obscene, indecent, and repulsive.
This is a problem. A bigger problem than we realize. We can't keep accepting this discrimination against moms, against motherhood. I'm not sure the nurse-ins we have are doing a lot of good either (though I think they are fantastic for nursing moms to feel supported by other nursing moms). People think we are a nuisance, or doing it for attention, and while any breastfeeding mother and those who respect her knows that isn't true, more needs to be done in other arenas to stop this. Our health care reform needs to increase maternity leave. Maybe if we start there, mothers will get more respect. Maybe educating our children that it's normal -- showing breastfeeding on Sesame Street -- could help future generations. But what can we do now?
Breastfeeding mothers -- all mothers -- are just asking for tolerance. We want acceptance. Freedom from judgement. Equality for us and our babies. Some compassion and sensitivity from others. And we should be able to express our humor, without censorship.
What more can be done for tolerance of breastfeeding mothers? What do you think of the video?