Healthy Kids

Why I Feel Personally Criticised by Time Magazine

Yesterday the world was all abuzz about Time Magazine’s controversial cover photo featuring Jamie Lynn Grumet breastfeeding her preschool aged son:

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As a sexy, non-stereotypical mom who also practises extended breastfeeding, I have to say I’m not exactly impressed with the cover photo.

Why? Because on Instagram and other social media services, the over-whelming response to Time’s picture from their followers was: “Gross, disgusting” etc… Their reaction is not supportive of extended nursing. The public’s reaction to the photo makes me feel criticised, and like I should be ashamed for my choice to practice extended breastfeeding.

Truthfully, I don’t blame their followers for reacting that way. The picture is distasteful – it in no way illustrates the mother/child bond that is the very heart of extended breastfeeding. While I understand that Time was trying to show that even “non-stereotypical” moms practise extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting, I think the image does a disservice to us. Perhaps a collage of pictures of a non-stereotypical mom could have better illustrated their point:

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(I’m non-stereotypical right?)

Or, if Time really wanted to be supportive of extended nursing then an image that captures the essence of extended nursing would have used:

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Perhaps that’s why I feel personally criticised by Time and the public’s reaction?

What do you think?

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  • Frakthefat
    May 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    An image like that wouldn’t face created contraversy or sold magazines so of course they wouldn’t use a truly representative image.

    • Janice
      May 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      True – I guess I just don’t appreciate how it feeds popular misconceptions about extended breastfeeding.

  • Tara Burner
    May 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    But then an image (collage) wouldn’t have sparked the controversy and created such a buzz from their readers/others who apparently are clueless when it comes to breast feeding, bonding, parenting, natural nutrition…need I go on?!
    I know a woman who BF til her son was 5 or 6 and people STILL talk about it and the boy is now 20! and yet all the closed minded people still continue bringing it up…sad 🙁

    • Janice
      May 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Perhaps it’s because they picture extended breastfeeding to be sexual like the Time magazine cover illustrates it to be?

  • Emma
    May 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I have issues with it because I think the articles in that issue have some interesting things to say about attachment parenting, and some of the potential problems with attachment parenting (and I say that as someone who pretty much followed all the AP ‘rules’, at least for the first year. Well, and the whole CIO thing.). But the actual content gets overshadowed and overwhelmed by the EWWWW PRESCHOOLER NURSING AP PARENTS ARE SO GROSS reaction. There’s far more interesting things to discuss about modern motherhood, so that narrow focus on extended nursing irritates me.

  • Kodjo
    May 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Yea…I’ve never breastfed anyone so I will pass on this one lol.

  • Anne
    May 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Janice,
    Have to agree with your points here. A stunt to sell magazines has distorted those of us who’ve breastfed toddlers into something other than the nurturing parents we really are. I never felt ashamed or worried if I was covering up enough or even felt I had to ask permission to breastfeed in a public place. But I also don’t think most of us would have posed for that photo.

    • Janice
      May 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Agreed – I don’t think 99% of us feel the need to sensationalise a close bond that way, nor does the picture even accurately reflect what I believe the article is even about. Unfortunately it’s a complete marketing ploy that doesn’t do any moms a favour. Those that choose not to or couldn’t nurse are offended by the “Mom enough” caption, and those that have extended breastfed are alienated by the image that sensationalises and sexualises it.

  • Amber K
    May 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    I think it was definitely just to sell magazines and to stir up buzz. They could have gone a million other ways that would have gotten a better message across, but then there would be no controversy!

  • misszippy
    May 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I think Time missed the boat with the picture. They put a hot mama look on there, which is fine, but they’re almost trying to make it look provocative, which is wrong. It’s a healthy choice for moms to make and the picture immediately makes you think it’s not, which is a shame. Time should be criticized, no moms who want to do extended feeding!

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