Time Magazine Breastfeeding Cover Offends All Kinds
This week, Time magazine unveiled a shocking cover to accompany its May 21, 2012 issue: a mom breastfeeding a THREE year-old, along with the headline: “Are You Mom Enough? Why attachment parents drives some mothers to extremes – and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.”
For some reason, breastfeeding makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. In December, NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne started a controversy when he Tweeted that he saw a mom breastfeeding her child in a supermarket and was grossed out by the “nasty” display. (He later apologized.) Around the same time, mom Michelle Hickman organized a protest at Target, where she was treated rudely by employees when she tried to breastfeed her baby. Since breasts are vulgar enough to be censored on TV, perhaps we simply associate them with vulgarity – or perhaps, even more disturbingly, we are so saturated with images of women displaying their breasts in a sexual manner that we’re shocked when we see breasts used for their actual intended mammary purpose.
As formula grew popular in the early to mid 20th century, so did the stigma of breastfeeding – but it may finally be fading away, thanks in part to these public discussions and protests, as well as some celebrities, like Beyonce, who are demonstrating that it’s perfectly natural to breastfeed in public. But the Mommy culture encourages women to be more “natural” and breastfeed – and women who choose not to breastfeed are often judged for making the “wrong” choice for their babies, even though plenty of babies were fed formula and have grown up to become perfectly functional humans.
All that doesn’t even address the body of Time’s article, which explores the idea of “attachment parenting,” which Jezebel summarizes as “breastfeeding into toddlerhood and beyond, co-sleeping, and “baby wearing,” (meaning the infant is forever attached to the mother in one of those baby slings).”
Time Magazine has won: Women who breastfeed infants were offended that the cover showed a child who many consider to be much too old to breastfeed. Women who breastfeed toddlers were offended that people think their choice is inappropriate. Moms of all kinds were offended by the suggestion they might be too attached to their kids – or not attached enough. Men and women who don’t have kids were offended because breastfeeding still makes us uncomfortable.
So before you freak out, remember that that’s exactly what Time Magazine wants you to do.