Thursday, May 17, 2012

THAT picture

I recognize that I am SO late on this, but since "everyone" was talking about it last week (and I didn't have time for anything last week), I thought I'd share my reaction to this pic:
As some of you know, I support extended breastfeeding completely (and yes, I  love Dr. Sears, too.) And honestly, I think breastfeeding needs to be in the public eye so it becomes the "norm", as I believe the ideal "norm" is that a child nurse until mom or baby are ready to stop. 

Eventhough I so strongly support a mother-baby or mother-toddler dyad's right to nurse for as long as they wish, this pic doesn't spark the "ahhh mommy and baby" reaction in me. I was surprise, but when I examined the picture further, I discovered it was the picture, and not the act, that turned me off.
I think the picture is purposely sexualized and defiant. I mean, do kids really nurse like that? on a chair? Also, she is in skin tight clothes and sassy. There's nothing wrong with a sexy, sassy mom, but it plays into the photographer's purposeful sexualization of the act. It is a picture that you could easily "sub" an adult male in and it would be overtly sexual, and not because of her boob, but because of the way she is standing, etc. The little boy is also dressed in adult-ish clothing, thereby increasing the probability that the whole situation will be seen as sexual.

The way she is standing also looks like she is making him do it, which is something I've read alot: that its the mom's own sick-o thing.

Then, the wording next to the picture "going to extremes". It may not be the norm, but I wouldn't call nursing a toddler "extreme"- the window for natural weaning has been calculated on the basis of other mammals' behavior (weight gain, molars, etc.) as being somewhere between 2.5 and 7!  Now, please, I am not saying that everyone should nurse unil 7 or even until 2.5. I am just saying that if that is the range nature has set up for us, falling into that range is not "extreme". Again, the pic is playing into the stereotypes.

So, that is my problem with the picture. Where's the soft couch, a sick child, a child looking up and smiling, rubbing mom's hair? A chid that fell and needs comfort?.... none of that is in this picture. I find it rather annoying that Time was almost certainly out to sexualize, or atleast, villify extended breastfeeding- not an honest debate about the pros and cons.

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100%. I also support extended breastfeeding (and am very pro-AP in general), but the cover of this magazine was simply meant to shock. It's not an accurate portrayal of breastfeeding by any stretch of the imagination.