Is Facebook a Good Place for Childbirth Videos?

Is Facebook a Good Place for Childbirth Videos?

Trust me, I didn’t want to capture my own child’s birth on video—but I understand why other families choose to commemorate the occasion.

When I heard Facebook removed a birth photographer’s video (a tribute to Mother’s Day), it kind of irked me. On one hand, I don’t want to scroll through my feed and see childbirth photos or videos. But I don’t have to view them if I don’t want to, do I?

Why did Facebook all but ban Monet Moutrie, a Colorado-based birth photographer?

Her viral video at Birth Becomes Her was seen more than 100 million times. It was removed for violating the social media site’s community standards. The video had been featured everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Midwifery Today. While her status has been restored on Facebook as of this week, the matter raises a few good questions—especially for women. Should work like this be on Facebook? Should it have been removed? Is this the kind of content social media sites should go after?

Let’s also remember this promotes Moutrie’s work. Just posting your own childbirth video could be seen as a separate issue altogether.

Nicole raises a good point, as she penned in a blog post on her website:

“As one of the world’s leading birth photographers, I believe that seeing and sharing real images of birth are important. They bring life and light into dark corners and places. They offer people around the world the opportunity to learn about their bodies and the process of reproduction.”

She went on to say:

“There are many images and words on Facebook that are full of hate and violence. There are countless depictions of women that make young girls feel inferior, ugly, or lost. Can you please spend more time hunting down these accounts? Can you join with the good work happening here instead of censoring it?”

Faith Restored?

When I asked Moutrie about her account and videos being restored, she said she was pleased but thinks more change is needed.

“Instagram and Facebook still need to find a balance between ‘community standards’ and allowing real and uncensored images of womanhood and motherhood. Birth is not pornography. Motherhood is not pornography. And the female body is not pornography,” she told HelloFlo.
“I think that we have sexualized women’s bodies for so long that it’s hard for many people to realize that the female body is complex and powerful (both in and outside of a sexual context),” she said.
While she believes Facebook is trying to figure out these boundaries, she said several of her videos–without explicit nudity–have been banned in the past.
Beauty of Birth

Watching Moutrie’s video made me remember how awe-inspiring birth is. While her videos don’t focus on nudity, they do depict birth in its rawest forms. As someone who didn’t get to have a natural birth, it makes me happy to see the joyous moments other women have celebrated. And even though I wouldn’t have watched Monet Nicole’s videos while pregnant—I refused to watch any birth videos to prevent more anxiety—I can admire birth films now. (If only those middle school sex ed birth videos were as beautiful, I may not have feared childbirth so much. In fact, studies on the topic show how early depictions can affect women into adulthood!)

In short, I feel like people who don’t want to see the video can simply not watch it instead of inciting debate. Facebook should focus on stopping online pedophiles or online sex trafficking, for example.

What do you think—does work like this have a place on Facebook and other social media sites? Should social media giants be focused on banning content that promotes other women’s issues such as violence?

Images Courtesy of Monet Nicole.