Time magazine cover sparks controversy

Depicting a nursing mother can still cause an outrage

WRITTEN BY: Scott Hixson
Time magazine's depiction of a nursing mother has caused quite the commotion
Image Source: Wha'ppen via Flickr
Time magazine's depiction of a nursing mother has caused quite the commotion

Time magazine sparks controversy with its latest cover, depicting an elegant woman with an exposed breast as her three-year-old child suckles at it; with the words, “Are You Mom Enough” screaming in bold font.

Time magazine features the Jamie Lynne Grumet and her son on the cover to provide a visually-stimulating, if not provocative, portrait of parenting as it relates to the issue’s cover-story, focusing on Dr. Bill Sears and his written work, The Baby Book.

Dr. Sears advocates having mothers wear their infants in slings as to keep them close and extending the period, in which a mother breast feeds.

Time Magazine editor-in-chief Rick Stengel told MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “[Sears] wants you to spend every waking moment, and pretty much every sleeping moment, with your baby.”

As if most parents don’t already feel that they do.

But the controversy is not about Dr. Sears recommendations, instead the issue is the use of the picture in correlation with the cover story. Many have found the portrait tasteless, criticizing the magazine for depicting such a scene.

One critic is Financial Times columnist Gillian Tett, who remarked, “I looked at this and my first thought was, it’s a really cheap shot. It’s a piece about Bill Sears, it’s not about an attractive blonde woman breast feeding. And yet, if you look across cultures across the world today, attitudes about breast feeding and breasts in general vary enormously. In many ways, this is at least making us think about our approach toward parenting and our approach toward breast feeding. But it still makes me wince when I look at it.”

Time magazine may have irritated some with its depiction but ultimately the magazine can relish in the attention it has drawn. As Stengel stated, “The point of a cover is to get your attention, and this gets your attention.”

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