Middle Tennessee moms stage nurse-in at Clarksville mall after it excluded breastfeeding photos from a Mother's Day photo contest pic.twitter.com/Rifh4s78c6
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) May 9, 2017
Update: Since Ashley Franks shared a screen grab of a message exchange in which Governor's Square Mall denied her photo's entry into a Mother's Day contest on social media, the fact that her photo was rejected because in it she's breastfeeding her children has spread worldwide. Other mothers in the Clarksville, TN, area are supporting Franks by protesting at the mall in the form of a "nurse-in," which took place in front of a Victoria's Secret store window featuring a poster of a model in a bra and underwear.
Original Story: When Ashley Franks saw her local mall post to Facebook about a Mother's Day photo contest, she followed the instructions and sent them a direct message containing a photo of her and her kids to be entered to win one of three $100 mall gift cards. The photo she chose, a beautiful snap of her nursing her two children taken by Iron Lace Photography, was denied entry just four hours later.
"We are so sorry we cannot accept this photo," wrote a representative for the Governor's Square Mall in response to Ashley's direct message submission. "Although it is tasteful, we have received some photos of this nature that have no been tasteful. To keep things fair, we have decided not to accept any breastfeeding photos. Would you mind submitting another photo? We apologize for the inconvenience!"
A frustrated Ashley shared a screen grab of the message with Kristy, moderator of the Breastfeeding Mama Talk Facebook page, saying: "I submitted this photo to my local mall's annual Mother's Day photo contest and this was the response I received. I feel so defeated. I have been fighting this fight for far too long. Encouragement is needed." Kristy posted her photo, writing: "This is unacceptable. How can you run a Mother's Day contest and deny a photo of a mom doing one of the most motherly acts a mom could do? This is not acceptable and I really hope they do the right thing!"
She is urging her page's followers to share this image of Ashely and her babes, which is juxtaposed with the screen grab. "Let's all band together and let them know that breastfeeding moms are not gonna tolerate being shunned," she wrote. "You can help by sharing this and leaving supportive comments. Let's refrain from leaving any reviews at this time. I want to give them a chance to correct their wrong. I will be staying in touch with the mama and will update you all as needed. Thanks!"
Despite Kristy's suggestion, the comment section of the mall's original post has been inundated with mothers sticking up for Ashley, some even sharing their own photos of themselves breastfeeding their children. "How disgusting of you to sexualize breastfeeding to the point where you can call some photos tasteful and some not," one commenter wrote. "Mothers doing the thing their breasts were designed for is beautiful, and you should be ashamed of your ridiculous rule."