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Why Was This Breastfeeding Billboard Taken Down?

A Times Square ad for lactation cookies featuring pregnant, near-nude cookbook author Molly Baz was "flagged for review," causing outrage on social media.
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By Natalie Gontcharova, Senior Editor
Published May 16, 2024
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If you’ve ever been to Times Square, you’ve probably seen quite a few near-naked billboards, whether they’re for lingerie or Calvin Klein jeans. But apparently one type of near-naked billboard isn’t allowed: one that celebrates breastfeeding and the pregnant body.

Last week, a billboard went up in Times Square featuring pregnant celebrity cookbook author Molly Baz in underwear and holding lactation cookies over her breasts. The ad, which was for inclusive breastfeeding brand Swehl, came with the tagline “Just Add Milk.” But only three days later, Clear Channel, the company powering the ad, took it down, saying that the image violated its “guidelines on acceptable content,” according to The New York Times.

Baz told Good Morning America that the 45-foot ad marketing lactation cookies was meant to celebrate breastfeeding moms, and that she’s disappointed by the decision. “It’s super disheartening and infuriating to me that my, kind of, first public foray into being a public mother was one that was deemed inappropriate,” Baz said.

On her Instagram account, Baz pointed out the hypocrisy of taking down the ad: “i’ve done a lot of campaigns in my day but as soon as my pregnant belly and breasts got involved, things apparently got real uncomfy for some folks. take one look at the landscape of other billboards in times square and i think you’ll see the irony. bring on the lingerie so long as it satiates the male gaze.”

The decision has sparked a viral discussion, with scores of moms and others expressing support for Baz. “This is so depressing and enraging,” Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier and mom of one, commented on Baz’s post. “Time to shift the paradigm @clearchanneloutdoor,” wrote Robin Arzón, vice president of Peloton and mom of two. “We are not ashamed of our bodies.”

That about summarizes it—pregnant and breastfeeding bodies should be celebrated, not hidden. It’s time to empower breastfeeding moms and pregnant people instead of telling us our bodies are indecent.

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