TIME Widening the Gap

I’m sure that by now, you have all seen the cover of this month’s TIME magazine.

My initial reaction was “That’s awesome! Showing an older nursling on the cover of a magazine! I’ve always believed that the more people are exposed to nursing, the more they will accept it. But wait… there’s something wrong here.

I first noticed the camo pants on the child. He looks much older than the almost-4 that the article proclaimed him to be. Why does he look so much older? And this particular mom’s website is called I am Not the Babysitter. It’s supposed to be a play on how young she looks. So why a boy who looks older than she is an a mom who looks younger than she is?

And why on a chair? That’s a really awkward way to nurse. Being a mother nursing a 3 year old myself, I can see the problems with that. My child would bounce and wiggle and probably try to jump off the chair with my boob in her mouth! This doesn’t show a normal nursing relationship.

And, while I do it myself, nursing from over the top of your shirts is, by definition, more revealing. Most moms I see, even the ones who don’t use a cover, don’t do it. I obviously have no problem with it myself and think it’s much more convenient, but it certainly adds to the shock value of this photograph.

That’s just it: shock value.

That’s what TIME magazine was aiming for–shock value. They weren’t trying to get the message out there of this lovely relationship and older child can have with their mother. They weren’t trying to say that attachment parenting is a valid method of parenting. They were trying to shock us. They were simply trying to sell their magazines by making you either hate or love this mother based on this one photograph.

My initial reaction was excitement at bridging the gap between nursing others and those who find nursing to be private, disgusting, or even pornographic. The gap caused by a system who won’t help mothers nurse, but still touts it as “best”. A system that causes guilt and outrage and isolation.

Instead, TIME magazine was trying to shock us. They were trying to cause such a reaction that could cause more magazines to sell. They weren’t trying to bridge any gaps, they were taking advantage of those gaps and widening them. They were trying to put us against each other in order to make a profit.

Shame on you TIME magazine for causing more hate. 

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8 thoughts on “TIME Widening the Gap

  1. I saw an interview with the mom and William Sears, who wrote The Baby Book, on the Today show and thought it went pretty well. I was disappointed, though, when they showed a poll saying about 30% of people thought the cover and story was great, while the other 70% didn’t approve… They also brought up the fact that the magazine used the most shocking picture to gain attention.

  2. Exactly! Very disappointing that TIME chose to encourage the view of breastfeeding as extreme and/or obscene through such an inflammatory image.

  3. I’m an attachment parent and I am breastfeeding a three year old and I don’t approve of the photo or headline – for exactly the reasons you state here – and everything I’ve heard indicates that the articles inside aren’t much better. So, while I wholeheartedly approve of AP and nursing a child that old, I would fall in the 70% who don’t approve of the *article.*

  4. I’m embarrassed for Time magazine, this mother, and this now famous little boy. In about 10 years we’ll see him on a ‘where is he now’ show and this image will be, yet again, splattered all over the freakin’ tv and fire people up again. The only AP’s I know are Whozat (above) and her partner and, while I was NOT a breastfeeder or an AP and don’t personally believe in it, I don’t judge them because I know what that feels like. The nurses at the hospital desperately tried to get me to breastfeed my son (he’s 18 now) and made me feel like I was doing horribly by him because I wouldn’t. I’m sorry, folks, it’s a comfort level thing. THIS image has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with AP or older breastfeeding. Shame on you, Time. Shame on you. PS: Whozat: XOXOXOXOXOXOXXO

    • I sincerely hope that this boy never gets negative attention for this image, but in our world it’s hard to say. If they decide to do a special on him in 10 years, I hope that he’s the most well adjusted, fantastic little boy. Not only because I just wish the best for people, but also to show that he hasn’t become some sort of sexual deviant or drug addict because he nursed beyond the societal norm.

  5. I wanted desperately to breastfeed my daughter but it never happened. I did pump for several months. My husband shared with a co-worker that there were difficulties feeding and this man’s wife sent me a book that although good in it’s intention made me feel like I was a horrible mother and not worthy of calling myself a woman if I didn’t breastfeed my kid for several years. It has soured my viewpoint on this issue.

    • I’m so sorry to hear your experience. You are no less of a mother because you were unable to make breastfeeding work. The system is corrupt. You likely would have succeeded if you were given the support you needed, but in our society, the hospitals try to give your baby formula and you never see anyone breastfeeding and your mother likely didn’t breastfeed so it’s impossible to get help. That’s the whole reason I write this blog. I want to be the help that a mother needs to continue breastfeeding.

  6. Pingback: Luvs and Nursing in Public | Adventures of Lactating Girl

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