People Can’t Digest Picture Of Woman Breastfeeding On Magazine Cover
Malayalam magazine Grihalaxmi has found itself in the midst of a deep controversy after it published a rather ‘bold’ picture on the cover of its latest edition. The photo is that of a woman breastfeeding her baby. The beautiful woman has sindoor adorning her forehead, a mangalsutra around her neck and gentle, maternal eyes. The caption with it reads, “Mothers tell Kerala, ‘please don’t stare, we need to breastfeed.’ ”
According to the magazine, the aim behind the picture was to support open breastfeeding, but several people obviously did not take it that way. The picture created a furore on social media, with people calling it “dirty”, “gross” and a “cheap publicity stunt.” Only few have appreciated Grihalaxmi for normalising breastfeeding and breaking taboos.
To add to the dispute, advocate Vinod Mathew Wilson from Kerala has filed a case against the magazine and the model in the picture, Gilu Joseph, for “degrading the dignity of womanhood.”
Model Gilu Joseph too, has been facing a lot of backlash for exposing her breasts to the public, but she has taken it in her stride. She told Indian Express Malayalam, "It is a problem to interpret this sexually. Isn’t it a beautiful thing, friends? Why do you think it is wrong? Which God will be angry if you feed your child?" What’s interesting is Gilu is not a mother herself, but chose to pose for the cover as she believes that only she has the right to her body and only she can decide what to do with it.
But another advocate, Jiyas Jamal from Aluva, Kerala, had a problem with it. His complaint reads, “The March 2018 issue of Mathrubhumi Grihalakshmi, in its cover, uses a newborn baby to create a picture of a breastfeeding mother. An unmarried Jilu Joseph, who is an advertisement model, has posed as the mother who is breastfeeding the baby in the cover photo of the magazine. The model’s breast which is bereft of milk is stuffed into the child’s mouth and this is how the photo is captured.
“In this manner, the baby’s health and rights have been exploited. Using the child for commercial purposes is indeed a grave issue. Such incidents which attempt to commercialize motherhood and breastfeeding put the rights of newborn babies in danger. The cover, which tricked the baby into thinking that it the model is its mother and that it will get milk is an embarrassment to our society as a whole.”
Moncy Joseph, the editor-in-chief for Grihalaxmi stated that the magazine was looking for a real mother-baby duo to pose for the cover. However, despite several attempts, they were unable to find one. The finally approached Gilu, who happily obliged.
The question is, why is breastfeeding, which is so natural, shamed when done in public? Isn’t the mother feeding her baby nature’s best food? Till when will breasts be limited to being sexualized? Breastfeeding a baby when you are outdoors is no easy task. Places to breastfeed discreetly are also non-existent. Is it a yay or nay for the magazine’s efforts? What do you say?
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