If you've not read about this, you can go here, and do so:
Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 - Women on the popular blog site LiveJournal are calling foul at the company’s decision to brand images of breastfeeding as ‘inappropriate.’ Many users of the site have joined together to urge LiveJournal's parent company SixApart to address their concerns and reevaluate the policy.
Small "userpics" of no more than 100 by 100 pixels represent LiveJournal members throughout the site. Users can define one of these icons as "default icon" which plugs it into the user's public profile. These default icons were originally not permitted to be ‘sexually explicit or graphically violent.’ Recently, icons which depicted breastfeeding were cited as being ‘inappropriate’ by the LiveJournal abuse team, a group of volunteers who monitor complaints on the site. After clarification was requested, LiveJournal changed their FAQ to reflect a no nudity rule and is claiming that icons with visible areola or nipple are not permitted. Whether or not areola is visible in a photograph is dependent on a number of factors, including skin tone of the mother and physical changes during pregnancy.
To be quite honest, I'm not real worked up about the breast feeding aspect of this. Of course women have a right to breast feed, and of course it's ridiculous to ban the icons. But the battle for breast feeding in public and breast feeding images is for other people to go out there and fight. If you want to read a bit more about that there's a post here at Making Light, with a bunch of links.
The real problem, here, however, is that this is just another example of sanitization. Of something that might offend someone being removed so that that one person can browse through the pornography saturated internet web without having their eyes burnt out. Or some such shit. And that's a real problem, because that kind of mentality will find itself into a lot of different areas. Which is stupid, because the response to someone who finds breast feeding offensive--in fact, anyone who finds anything offensive--is simple, "Don't read it anymore."
There is a petition to sign and while these things might not be worth much, I signed it anyway. You want, you can too.
(And so it is said, I am a paid user of livejournal. I have not had any problems with livejournal. But this is the kind of thing that would see me move my dog and pony show that is this blog to another service. Because as I said up there, if you don't like something, you can, ultimately, go elsewhere. If this becomes a trend of livejournal, I will.)