That breastfeeding cover photo. . .

10 May 2012 at 3:47 pm Leave a comment

Everyone’s talking about the Time cover for this week, with its photograph of a mother nursing her three-year-old son. I think it’s a brilliant, smart photo. The photographer says that he meant to reference images of Jesus and Mary, but frankly, even before I read that, I immediately thought of the many classic nursing Madonna paintings–something like this or this. People have complained that the mother’s prominent nipple, visible underneath her shirt, sexualize the image, but it’s simply the case that a woman’s nipples become more prominent during pregnancy and nursing, so showing the biological norm is fabulous and attempts to reclaim nipples for their purpose (feeding and comforting children) rather than merely as a sexual prop. The mother’s suggested lack of a bra also references the 1970s feminist movement and thereby positions attachment parenting and full-term breastfeeding as heirs to that movement rather than as opponents of it. Brilliantly done.

–Christina

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