Time Magazine wants you to pay attention to their provocative picture. Why? What are they trying to say?
When looking at imagery, it sometimes takes a bit to get what the photographer/editor is trying to say. Here are some thoughts in no particular order.
1. Context: The image of a three year old boy sucking on his mom’s breast is being put on the cover of the Time magazine for Mother’s Day weekend.
2. Implication: Mothers are crazy.
3. Implication: Breastfeeding is crazy.
4. Implication: Attachment parenting is oedipal. (Look it up.)
5. Implication: Breastfeeding is sexual. The mother’s smug expression indicates that she’s enjoying the interaction just a little too much.
6. Time is desperate for attention and will get it. [Is getting it, obviously.] Also, I suspect the editor/writer watches Game of Thrones.
Bottom line, Time is pushing forward the idea that mothering is often, if not always, overdone. That too much emphasis is put on mothering. Attachment parenting is weird, sexual, and even abusive.
Mothering, in short, is being demonized as too powerful, crazy, and scary and that it’s abusive to children–nigh unto sex abuse.
The cover is a play on the Madonna imagery of Mary with the Christ child. It takes that image of selfless love and motherly devotion and turns it inside out into something selfish, narcissistic, and sexual.
As a mom who breastfed all her kids and beyond time when many are comfortable with — 18 months, 2 years, and 2 1/2 years consecutively — this cover is patently offensive.
Women who actually care about mothering are seen as crazy, wrongly-focused and weird. So, the solution is to conflate all moms with the admittedly extreme moms who go overboard.
But who is going to draw that line?
As Mika of Morning Joe noted, the Time article isn’t even about breast feeding — it’s about Dr. Bill Sears.
The picture is a picture of desperation. It is attention whoring but it’s at the expense of children, mothers, healthy breastfeeding, and the bond between mom and child.