Many people are disturbed by TIME Magazine's breastfeeding cover, featuring attractive mom Jamie Lynne Grumet and her giant three-year old son, Aram, who is breastfeeding while standing on a stool. The cover illustrates a worthwhile topic: the 20th anniversary of a book on "attachment parenting" by Dr. Bill Sears. That said, it's unlikely many readers will want to look beyond the image, which is designed to deliberately shock.
Grumet blogs about her parenting at iamnotthebabysitter.com (website down as of the writing of this article). "Attachment parenting" encourages parenting principles designed to form and nurture strong bonds between parents and children. Similar to the primal food movement, attachment parenting encourages ancestral ways of caring and bonding for children, including breastfeeding beyond infancy.
Back in hunter-gatherer days, giant 3-year olds (Aram is reportedly almost 4 years old) didn't wear camo jeans and stand on wooden stools to reach their mothers' breasts. It's doubtful that hunter-gatherer moms wore jeggings, American Apparel E-Z pulldown tanks, and metallic leather flats. Desperate for "relevancy," TIME is getting positive coverage from other print outlets like the Los Angeles Times, which gives them props for creating a "shocking stroke of genius." According to the newspaper, it's a good thing that everybody is talking about this cover.
It's probably the perfect cover to follow up on the right to contraception strategem in the Republican "War on Women." If there was one pregnancy, and parenting-related, topic not addressed by the Democrats charge up Birth Control Hill, it was breastfeeding. TIME's helping women feel great about themselves (not!) by asking "Are you woman enough?" For what? Letting a kid who looks like he's ready for kindergarten keep eating the natural way?
TIME's cover is no "stroke of genius," unless genius is defined as coming up with an image that will even turn off breastfeeding advocates, like me. I don't know if it's the stool, the American Apparel fashionwear, or little Aram peeking away from his mom's breast toward the camera, but the image makes me think of anything but my bonding moments with my own children. As to "Am I woman enough?" - thanks, TIME. I'll make my own decisions about that.