Lots of people are talking about the TIME Magazine cover showing a mother breastfeeding her not-quite-four year old son. From what I understand breastfeeding is just one component of Attachment Parenting. I have friends who have done Attachment Parenting and their kids are pretty awesome. I have others who didn’t and those kids are also pretty awesome. In both camps there are kids who seem to be on track for “a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection” (Attachment Parenting International).
So it seems like there are multiple means to an end and the decision is a highly personal one that parents should be able to make without being judged.
The only reason I’m bothering to blog about the cover has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Instead, I would like to talk about the mother’s pose. She eerily echoes the poses of women as they are on countless magazine covers – as sexual objects to be gazed upon.
Check out this google search of “Cosmopolitan covers” to see multiple examples like the one below:
I’m unsure what to make of the parallels except that it seems to fetishize the breastfeeding mother in a way that may distract from the issue at hand. I would guess that the objectification of the mother may be the reason that news stations are blurring the barely exposed breast but…given that we see more exposed on the red carpet during awards season, I suspect it has more to do with American cultural discomfort with breastfeeding.
Again, in a possible misrepresentation of the issue, the mother and child both stare directly at the reader, signifying defiance. Rather than a representation of the stated benefits of attachment parenting, the image challenges the viewer to disapprove. It is designed for controversy.
It is not surprising that the TIME image is composed to have maximum shock value in the attempt to sell magazines. I don’t know if their sales will go up but a lot of people are certainly talking about it.