Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Breast of the Story

Oh Time, you silly mag. The things you do for sales.

There's always a photo to come along that's shocking at the time, Demi Moore posing naked while pregnant, Jenny McCarthy sitting on a toilet wearing Candy shoes, Pippa Middleton maybe laughing at a man maybe waving a gun, and now there's a mom nursing her son on the cover of Time.

When my two year-old daughter first saw me breast-feed my son, I explained that he was drinking milk. She immediately covered her mouth, howled laughing, then jumped up and down giggling hysterically like she had just won the grand prize on a game show. Then she stopped and gave me a suspicious look like she thought I was just messing with her and said, "Mommy, milk? Really?" and when I said yes, the jumping and gigglng started all over again. I think no matter what age we are when we first see someone breastfeeding, this is our initial response. Even if we mask it with polite talk, on the inside we're thinking, "Holy crap, there is milk spilling from her chest, that's just crazy!"

And who doesn't like to make fun of breast-feeding moms? I had a whole stand-up shtick about it. "I mean if he's got more teeth than a shark and can ask for milk in 3 languages... You're breastfeeding too long!"

Then I became a mom and things changed. I would've breastfed my little shark until she left to spend a college summer abroad if she had let me. And if breastfeeding could make me look as good in Skinny jeans as the Time cover mom, I'd be at a hospital recruiting newborns to feed.

While I can appreciate companies trying to make a buck off photos that make you do a double-take, there's no need to bring a child into it. Poor kid, the razzing he is going to take for that!

The other shame is that the magazine linked this photo with Dr. Sears. While I'm not a follower of him, when my daughter was a colicky newborn I do vaguely remember reading a couple of helpful articles about taking care of babies. Too bad his entire life's work will be overshadowed by an exposed boob. Time magazine Janet Jacksoned his career.

And what do Americans have against breast-feeding? It's okay to show cleavage to sell movies, or magazines, or boats or cars, but we never want to see them used for their intended purpose. In the US, breasts are like the good china, we spend a lot of money to make sure we have a nice rack to display, but no one ever gets to eat from them.

The part I find most interesting is there was a Time cover with a girl missing a nose that didn't get this much publicity. Mostly because missing noses isn't sexy, and sex sells. And her nose was removed by terrorists. I had my iPhone stolen and was pissed for weeks. I don't know how mad I'd be if my nose had been stolen. I still have nightmares about that photo because it reminds me that there are other things to worry about than just inappropriate lactation.