I’ve been asked my opinion on the Time magazine cover depicting a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son. My view is that women should be able to breastfeed for as long as they wish and be supported and encouraged to do so. However Time Magazine’s cover of Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her three-year-old son, does more to sexualise breastfeeding than to promote it (could it even put some women off?). Most breastfeeding mothers cuddle their children in their arms while feeding. Here, Time has Grumet standing up (a better view of the breast perhaps?) and, somewhat unconventionally, depicting her child accessing her breast using a small chair. Both are staring at the camera in an impersonal image devoid of warmth – hardly the best advertisement for attachment parenting. Then of course there’s the headline ‘Are you mum enough’? which sets women up for competition and judgement. Mothering is challenging enough already, thinking they might not be ‘mum enough’ contributes to feelings of inadequacy.
Bitch Media echoes my thoughts on this image. And on three other magazine covers as well – two from Newsweek and one from Foreign Policy – in this May 10 piece by Kjerstin Johnson.