I know how to write an attention-grabbing lede, right? So, on the topic of Time’s breastfeeding cover: a few, hasty observations made without any knowledge of what the publisher, photographer or model were truly going for:
- This woman is a very thin, probably healthy, woman. She’s magazine-model-ready. This is flaunted by her thin, nearly sexualized combination of transparent tanktop and no-bra.
- Here we have her three year old kid suckling her tit, staring also into the camera.
Number of times this ever happens in real life? 0. Okay, 1.
Number of people who were previously perhaps … confused or hostile to the cause of public breastfeeding that are going to be swayed away from that opinion? 0.
Number of grown adolescents having their suspicions confirmed that breastfeeding is something to sexualized, spotlighted, or otherwise mocked/feared/poked/prodded? a lot.
I don’t want to get too worked up about whether this woman is or is not the ideal representation of your “average” woman. She’s clearly not, but I know plenty of women who look just like her that have had babies and probably breastfed. Women come in all shapes and sizes. The choice here is curious and probably damaging.
I haven’t read about attachment parenting, so I don’t really know what it is. (I guess I can read the piece in Time and find out!) Maybe this super weird hypersurreal representation of breastfeeding is appropriate somehow in the context of attachment parenting?
If not, maybe they could have chosen a representation of a more normal photo of a woman breastfeeding her child. They’re not hard to come by, really.
The chosen photo does nothing but stoke the fires of the debate between prudes and pervs, and the mothers are yet again left out in the cold (or more accurately, in the stink of a shit-stinking bathroom, clandestinely feeding their baby).