I’m an advocate of breastfeeding. I mean, if we polled most people in a Time-Magazine-cover-free, non-controversial environment, everyone would probably say the same thing, right? I think it’s pretty cool that we humans can have babies and self-produce the sustenance to keep them alive and healthy. It’s basic and natural and in many countries in the world, it’s the ONLY choice and the one thing that can give children a chance at survival. Who in their right mind doesn’t think that’s a good thing?
That’s a stupid and naive question given all the shit I’ve read on the internet about the Time magazine controversy. For the record, I think a three-year-old kid standing on a chair sucking on his mommy’s tit is an odd image to choose for a magazine cover. The first thing I thought when I saw it wasn’t about it being vulgar or offensive but rather, what might happen to that tender nipple if Junior stumbles off the chair and forgets to let go. Gotta say it made me hug the twins and cringe a little.
Then I gave it a lot more thought because this notion that breastfeeding has become some kind of those-who-do and those-who-don’t line in the sand smacks of a media-created battleground.
I tried to laugh this off as I often do. Or make fun of it as I do even more often. But there’s a distinctly un-funny side to this for me. I find it beyond arrogant that the American media [and, sorry, some misguided mothers] have hijacked breastfeeding and turned it into a media circus rather than simply advocating its benefits in a non-controversial way. Then again, those of us here in the industrialized world have never known what it’s like NOT to have choices [see above comment about women in this world who have none], isn’t that right?
Guess what, America? Breastfeeding ain’t the latest urban-mom fad. And here’s the kicker…American moms didn’t invent it [collective gasp!]. Some just seem to have taken over it and claimed it as their own….like Yoga only Yoga isn’t the free-gift-with-inception we females are given.
For me, this controversy sheds some unflattering Fluorescent on a few things:
1) TIME wants people to pick up their magazine. It’s a business enterprise. I understand that.
2) TIME manipulated people into picking up their magazine just because they’re appalled/pissed/turned-on by the hot mommy with her tit exposed, which, IMO, becomes merely about a controversial image and nothing at all about the content or value of an article.
3) Our media creates lots and lots of guests for Good Morning America.
4) Bloggers can get a zillion people to their site with one fell swoop of an exposed tit.
5) There are some crazy assholes whose on-line rants about this are shocking, scary and completely hateful and I’m astounded every time I read them. Most of them I’m too embarrassed to even repeat here calling out the mothers in the TIME article in horrendous, over-the-top, sexualized ways. I’ll just leave it at that.
6) The term “wearing” your child makes him/her sound like a blouse and co-sleeping sounds like a recipe for never having the opportunity to make other children that can also be worn. [okay…I had to throw in some levity to take the edge off the pissed]
I will repeat my sentiment here to make sure I’m not misunderstood: Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing that everyone should embrace…always.
So…here is a suggestion to breastfeeding mothers. How about if you want to breastfeed your child in public [which I also advocate] you use some common courtesy and discretion? I have observed mothers who do this [and have been one myself] and rarely do they attract much attention or disdain [which I personally despise]. I have also observed those who whip out the nip however they damn well please just to make a fuck-you-if-you-don’t-like-it point which, I have noted, is not always greeted with smiles and moonbeams. This seems to piss off some of the more hard-core, non-advocating peeps which, in turn, makes it all the more difficult for other mothers trying to do right by her child. I mean, if your potty-trained toddler has to pee, most mothers and fathers would do their best to take that child to a restroom rather than whipping out his wiener and watering the begonias for the gods and all to see, right?
Here’s a suggestion for those who think public breastfeeding in a respectful and courteous way is not acceptable under any circumstances: Kindly take your uniquely American puritanical notions and fuck off.
And lastly, here is a suggestion for TIME Magazine: how about covering something relevant? Like hunger, the economy, war, influential people who are changing the world for the better? Or why breastfeeding in general is a good and wonderful thing in and of itself rather than showcasing the minority who chooses to breastfeed beyond what’s consider the norm simply to create shock value. Your recent publicity stunt is just that.
It will take its place on the Shelf of Shame created by your anything-for-ratings, sensationalized-and-therefore-irrelevant news media brethren. Nobody gives a shit about the content now. They just see the photo.
As for the mom on the cover? Practice what you believe is best for you and your family. Godspeed and good luck as I’m sure you and your husband/partner are wonderful parents. And I mean that sincerely. Unfortunately cover mom? You’re error in judgment has made you look more like a chick who wants to funnel people to her blog rather than a good parent advocating breastfeeding. You have TIME to thank for manipulating you as well.
Women who breastfeed are not going away. Nor should they. The should be celebrated. But inflaming the conservatives who diss public breastfeeding by choosing a visually sensational tactic to make your point is just plain dumb. It doesn’t further the cause of breastfeeding. It damages it. Nice job, TIME. Nice job.
I say hail to breastfeeding mothers everywhere! And shame on TIME for turning this wonderful, natural practice into a ridiculously polarizing debate over exposed boobs.