Bloody Baby Pictures Banned by MySpace
My friend and sometimes blogger Snikta recently had a baby and, like any proud papa these days, he posted photos of his newborn girly to his MySpace account. He received the following generic message from MySpace, which had already yanked a couple of the photos, those of his daughter in her first moments in the outside world:
Subject: We had to delete one of your photos
You may feel singled out, but be assured that we delete each and every one of these images as we locate them. If you find an image which you feel is in violation of our Terms, please feel free to use the ‘report image’ link below the image.
Thanks for your understanding.
MySpace Safety & Security
MySpace’s terms of service do include a provision against “photographs containing nudity, or obscene, lewd, excessively violent, harassing, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable subject matter,” with “otherwise objectionable” giving them fairly unlimited latitude to remove whatever they fell like. They also note that images are removed “as we locate them,” suggesting that MySpace is trolling for objectionable photos, not just responding to those that have generated user complaints.
However, it’s difficult to understand what’s so objectionable about photos of a newborn. The nudity provision was violated by the images, but we tend, culturally, to have a higher general acceptance of naked babies and small children than of adults. They’re bloody photos, to be sure, but this is how babies look when newly emerged into the world. Perhaps the MySpace folks have seen too many tv/movie births, in which infants arrive plump, clean, and 3 months old. Perhaps they’ve ruined their eyesight looking at the metric sh*tton of photos of barely covered boobs and butts that they *do* allow to remain on the site.
The thing that amused me most about the message was the bit about “our site is for people as young as 14.” I know it’s a form letter, but I tend to think that just about every 14 year old would actually benefit from seeing these photos, particularly in abstinence-only land. Birth isn’t a neat and clean event, to be fantasized about by young girls who want someone to love and love them – it’s messy, bloody, and real. Heck, I saw the photos and thought twice (for a split second) about birthing any babies. A new CDC report indicates that the teen pregnancy rate rose in 2006 for the first time in 14 years – would a little reality check really hurt anyone?
If I’m being honest, I hesitated to post the photos here. I worried about freaks and pedophiles and their reaction to a naked baby. I made sure to get clear permission from the parents, though, and that’s good enough for me. Aside from which, if nothing was ever posted on the web that some weirdo would think inappropriate things about, there’d be nothing on the web. While MySpace is technically within their rights to remove the photos, there’s nothing obscene about newborns, even naked and bloody ones. That’s how we all got here, after all.
PS-The little one is all cleaned up and safe at home.