Time magazine, shame on you

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  May 11, 2012 06:00 AM

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No question today, just a rare vent.

I was the speaker last night at Barefoot Books in Concord, (a fabulous book store, more on that another time) at an event for mommy bloggers, co-sponsored by Boston Parent Bloggers and Raising a Reader Massachusetts. Billing me as "Boston's Original Mommy Blogger," they wanted me to talk about how I managed to separate my own parenting experience from my 19 years of writing the Globe's parenting column, which I began when my son was 6-months old.

The truth is, it was never hard. I don't ever remember writing in the first person and rarely referred to my son. That was for safety reasons, sure, but mostly it had to do -- at least in the beginning -- with the baggage I brought to the job: I was a news reporter, schooled to keep myself out of the story. By the time my son was 4, though, I also came to the realization that keeping him out of my copy was in his -- and our -- best interests. By our, I mean, our relationship.

Last night, I gave these moms the advice I lived by: "Keep your kids out of your blogs, -- don't use their names and certainly don't use their pictures." No matter how cute they are, how charming the stories, no matter that your children may be too young to know you're writing about them, it can come back to bite you. Most children do not want the public's attention on them, even in a good way, and what they don't seem to mind at age 3 or 4 or 7 or 8 could turn someday into resentment: "Mom! How could you?!"

In that context, it made sense that one of the moms asked my opinion about this week's Time magazine cover. I hadn't seen it, so someone pulled it up on their phone.

I'm not talking about the content, which is on attachment parenting; the content is beside the point.

Even if this mom was willing (and I assume she was) to pose as provocatively as she did and to include her own son in the photo, wasn't there someone who could have said to her, "You know, you might want to rethink this picture...."

And even if she said, "It's OK, honest," surely some of Time's journalists are also parents, not to mention former kids themselves who might remember being embarrassed by something their mom did, something big that might have put a dent in their relationship, something that might have been, well, as hard to live down as this photo will be? Surely someone could have said, "We may just be ruining this kid's life by putting this picture on our cover. Do we really want to do that?"

Shame on you, Time.

Oh. And just for the record, moms nursing older children isn't exactly a new trend. Here's my column on the subject.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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29 comments so far...
  1. I agree with you Barbara. That picture not only has unbelievable sexual overtones, but that child has no idea of how this may come back to haunt him. The editors at Time - and that mother - never should have allowed this.

    Posted by Lily- May 11, 12 07:07 AM
  1. I think "ruining this kid's life" is going a little far. A kid that breastfeeds at age three isn't necessarily hiding in a corner somewhere. Their social circle will involve supportive people. It sounds like you're not familiar with long-time nursing, personally.

    I don't think it's a great idea to put a kid on the cover of a national magazine if the magazine is just using him and his mom to put AP in a poor light. Especially with the pose chosen. Why not holding her nursing child?

    Posted by Beth May 11, 12 08:39 AM
  1. The picture and article title are just ... WRONG. It perpetuates the idea that it's okay for women to be exceedingly judgemental of other women. Why is the media so hell-bent on creating controversy around every women's issue? Do we see articles pitting men who use push-mowers against men who use riding mowers? Can you imagine a cover showing a man & his zero-turn mower with the caption, "Are you man enough?"

    As for the participants in the article ... why does everything have to be a crusade now? Why can't you talk about your choices for their own merit, instead of framing them as superior to all other choices? Baby-wearing isn't bad, and using a stroller isn't bad ... locking a kid in a closet so he's safe while you go for a walk alone IS bad. If you want to crusade against something then please do - but pick something REAL - like child neglect or animal abuse. Save your righteous anger for real issues that have a huge impact, don't use it to create wedges between people who, at the heart of it, have the same goals (to raise healthy, well adjusted kids).

    Posted by EngineerChic May 11, 12 08:44 AM
  1. I don't feel that the article is besides the point. The article did not do attachment parenting justice either, but the picture was disturbing to me. I am fine with extended breastfeeding but Time Magazine went out of their way to make this picture as disturbing as possible in order to sell as many magazines as possible. Their journalistic standards gave way to aiming to sell as many magazines as possible a long time ago, and we stopped subscribing. It seems like they've sunk even further since we gave up our subscription.

    Posted by Meri May 11, 12 09:04 AM
  1. Beth, I'm not sure how old you are or how aware you are of how social media works but anything put "out there" nowadays can come back to haunt you-forever. You think he's only going to be surrounded by supportive people in life? Wrong. And I will grant you that every kid faces obstacles in life that their parents can't control but this? This was under her control. She was not thinking of him. She was thinking of the impact of a magazine cover and I think we all know this one packed a punch. Sadly, to some degree, it will be at his expense. Regardless of arguments for or against long term breastfeeding, making him a spectacle was not fair or necessary. Shame on Time. Shame on mom.

    Posted by Linney May 11, 12 09:23 AM
  1. That poor kid - TIME did no one any favors by running that cover photograph. Whatever your views on attachment parenting and longer term breastfeeding, it seems obvious that the picture was posed to create maximum controversy rather than depict a legitimate child-rearing choice. Shame on TIME for exploiting everyone in that way.

    Posted by Kathleen May 11, 12 09:32 AM
  1. I agree that this photo was unnecessarily provocative. Time should be ashamed of falling prey to a cheap tactic to sexualize something that isn't sexual and should not be provocative. No one breastfeeds like this. Even when I was breastfeeding my youngest past age 2 (it was longer than I planned but nothing I regret), he was nestled in my lap and nursed discreetly.

    I question this mother's judgment and that of the editors at Time. There was a way to do this article (which wasn't even really about extended breastfeeding) without taking something that is natural and good and turning it into something cheap and salacious just to sell more magazines. Shame on this mother for allowing herself and her child to be exploited.

    Posted by Jen May 11, 12 09:48 AM
  1. I didn't like the picture for so many reasons.

    One is that it's obvious from the cover that the article is not going to be favorable to extended breastfeeding or attachment parenting. It's tailor-made to bring out the "anyone who nurses past age one is crazy-sick-bad-mother" crowd.

    Two is that it equates extended breastfeeding with attachment parenting, which is not accurate. You can have one without the other. You can exclusively formula feed and attachment parent, and you can breast feed and not follow attachment parenting. They correlate, but they aren't the same thing, so the title on the cover makes no sense and is very poor journalism.

    Three is that the photo is not even a good depiction of extended BF -- who the heck nurses standing up with their kid on a chair? I mean, come on already. Is that the experience of even 1% of moms who nurse their toddlers? If this mom really does nurse her son like that, why choose her for the cover as opposed to the 99.99% of moms who nurse as part of a bedtime ritual or other more common approach? It makes it even harder for anyone to admit they breast fed their baby past age one -- "OH! You're one of those CHAIR moms! Do you bring a stepstool with you wherever you go?"

    And four is the putting the kid on the cover issue that Barbara pointed out -- I don't even let most of my FB friends see photos of my kids, much less putting them on a national magazine in a pose that will follow them forever.

    Mostly though my objection is that the cover is done in a way to make attachment parenting look like some kind of fringe weirdo thing that is dangerous for children. Parent the way it makes sense for you and, as long as you are posing no danger to your child, everyone else should shut the heck up about it. I'm assuming that the article presents no evidence that attachment parenting or extended breast feeding is bad for children, so the only point of the cover is to sell magazines and if the cover pits moms against eachother for no reason, so be it.

    In summary: AARRGGGHHH!!

    Posted by SandEE May 11, 12 10:02 AM
  1. Creepy just plain creepy. I breast fed my children but I stopped before they were a year old.. This borders on just "weird".. Shame on Time for putting this on the cover.. it is almost perverse.. I will never buy a Time magazine again.. Where is there responsiblity to the community.. This should not be on store shelves..This is not a good mother.. This is a mother who needs counseling.. Yikes, get some help for both parent and child...

    Posted by taf May 11, 12 11:13 AM
  1. Call me old fashioned but the cover conveys a lot of aberrant behavior and is in poor taste in an attempt to sensationalize a story for its shock value. Whatever happened to solid, accurate journalism which speaks to the MAJORITY of the people and not the .000001 percent who either get off on this stuff or are stupid enough to think this is normal. My subscription is cancelled and if any others want to complain; that's the way to do it.

    Posted by Lynne May 11, 12 11:37 AM
  1. No doubt this will haunt that kid forever. Forget about his own issues as a result of that, but when he's in school the other kids will know about it. When he applies to college or a job, people will find it.
    It's not as bad as say a long-forgotten criminal record, but just the fact that it will come up will potentially make an uncomfortable situation in the real world someday.

    Posted by some-guy May 11, 12 11:38 AM
  1. Oh I couldn't agree more and I am a mother of a nursing almost 3 year old! I am continuing to nurse because it a clear need to her right now. I am not enjoying any longer it and limit setting is happening big time. We do not nurse in public. I am a huge advocate for mothers breastfeeding infants. I don't think me publicly nursing a toddler in any way helps that cause. This cover certainly doesn't help either!

    Posted by Heidi May 11, 12 11:51 AM
  1. I think it's amazing.

    Posted by Melisa May 11, 12 11:59 AM
  1. This kid is THREE? He must have a giant in his family tree. This photo is simply icky.

    I don't see how this will sell magazines. I breastfed my three children until they were ready to give it up, which was before their first birthdays.

    Posted by Momtothree May 11, 12 12:32 PM
  1. Time Magazine--All the news that,s unfit to print. --- Here,s a thought go find a real journalist.

    Posted by michael cavallaro May 11, 12 12:48 PM
  1. I went back and read your article and loved it. I did not get anything out of the pic that was put on the cover, of course I have seen a lot worse. But it just seemed very negative. Half naked women are out there on everything, breast are so oversexualized.

    Ang IBCLC

    Posted by Angela IBCLC May 11, 12 03:08 PM
  1. What a bunch of prudes. Anybody who is pro-breast feeding should keep quiet over this. Otherwise, he/she is being a hypocrite.

    Posted by Harlan Stearns May 11, 12 03:28 PM
  1. Linney, thank you, yes I am aware that things stay with you forever. But, to say that the cover will scar a child forever because he was breastfeeding? That I disagree with completely. What, they're going to find out breastfeeding was just a blip? That formula is actually better? That he's going to be embarrassed or ashamed because he was nursing? That's ridiculous.

    Does anyone even know this mom's story? Did she know the cover was going to look the way it did? I would not have made a similar choice to put my family or my breastfeeding children out there like that. But, again, I think it's Time who wants to make AP look as creepy as possible (and, why is that? Is it because it's become more popular? More visible?). And, to me, Time wanted to make AP and breastfeeding look as weird as possible. Thankfully, there are people out there like Dr. Sears and Mayim Bialik who are visibly and intelligently speaking about these issues separate from the provocation that this cover has caused.

    Most of us are just doing what we do as parents--and not really caring what other parents do. Who has time for that?

    My problem with the response by Barbara (and, I guess yours, too, Linney) is the idea that it was because he was breastfeeding, at age 3, that made the cover something that will follow him into the future and ruin his life. If he were just sitting there next to mama on a chair, no one would have said a word about child exploitation. There is a stigma in our country about nursing in public (Facebook still pulls accounts and photos of mothers breastfeeding). And that, again, is the reaction to which I'm objecting.

    Posted by Beth May 11, 12 03:54 PM
  1. I can see it now... Mom is so proud of her cover appearance that she takes a copy of the magazine, has it framed, and hangs it on her wall or places it on the mantle to proudly display to all visitors to the house. As with many things, the photo remains there for years, falling into the 'background' of the house. Maybe, as is the wont of society, the idea of AP and breastfeeding into toddler-hood has fallen out of favor. The photo remains though, as a reminder of days gone by.

    Fast forward to the boy's 20's. He brings home a girl he is serious about. She sees the photo. Awkward silence and explanations ensue. But hey - noone's getting hurt or embarassed here, right?

    Posted by OhBoy May 11, 12 04:20 PM
  1. Major shame on Time for allowing this and shame on this young Mother.
    She (and Time Magazine) is actually doing the most anti-attachment parenting thing: thinking solely of oneself. 'Hey, look at me' w/ the sexualization of it all... obnoxious and wrong.
    At the very least, could Time have done their research on AP and have the Mother at least LOOK AT HER CHILD?!

    The whole thing is a joke. Sad.
    And I hope Dr Sears (who I am mostly a fan of) has the gumption to speak out about this.

    Posted by MN May 11, 12 05:09 PM
  1. This is sick and disturbing on so many levels, it is borderline child abuse.

    Posted by Get Real May 12, 12 12:33 AM
  1. I have bought Time magazine from time to time in the past and have used it in my work as well. I will never buy it again. This photograph is disgraceful. They should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. I am so tired of motherhood being berated, dismissed, bullied and manipulated by a cruel, selfish, profit oriented male biased capitalist system (including the media that perpetuates it) that punishes women for wanting to follow their natural instincts and bear and rear children and not be punished economically and socially for doing so. It's really shocking to see how the issue of breastfeeding is taken and eroticized in a glamour shot to sell magazines. Time should be sued for this by some public interest group. Where are the standards in this? It does not reflect any kind of reality of nursing a child, even an older child. Nobody would stand like this to do it. It's quasi pornographic too as you can just imagine the number of males who will be titillated by it. That woman should be ashamed of herself and the poor kid will be mortified by this for the rest of his life. But the biggest shame lies with the editors of Time who showed appalling and poor judgement with this kind of cover. I'm sure they are sniggering gleefully at the reaction they provoked but I hope enough people will boycott the magazine to hurt them in the pocket but I'm sure enough weirdos who are turned on by the image will buy the magazine to more than compensate them for the loss of revenue from more decent minded people. Which is what they wanted. They have lost all credibility with me anyway. I expect this is also the result of the Internet too and they are losing money because people buy less magazines and newspapers and so will do anything to stay afloat. Don't know but hazard a guess. Shame!

    Posted by tbt May 12, 12 07:30 AM
  1. I can't agree with you more, Barbara. It doesn't matter what I think about breastfeeding; intentionally putting a picture of a minor in a shot like that is unethical. Time ought to stop all publication using that picture and issue an apology. Probably most people don't remember when the telephone book had a picture of a little girl standing on a bunch of telephone books and the picture was angled so you looked up her skirt. People protested that photo and it was never used again. We've been down this road of protesting sexualized or seamy pictures of children in the media before and it seems we'll have to go down it again.

    Posted by FavoriteAuntie May 12, 12 11:32 AM
  1. I think only people with dirty minds would find anything sexual in a photo like that.

    Posted by Marianne May 12, 12 11:52 AM
  1. The cover was inappropriate, and I agree Time Magazine should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, we all know that not only are they not ashamed of themselves they're loving the buzz this picture has created.

    Posted by momslife.me May 12, 12 06:08 PM
  1. Quite frankly, I find the title "Are You Mom Enough" far more problematic than the photo.

    Posted by Cynthia May 12, 12 08:03 PM
  1. Time is just trying to get publicity and sell some magazines. And from the looks of it, they've done just that.

    Posted by Al May 13, 12 04:08 PM
  1. Beth, you've hit the nail on the head. I would have had a totally different reaction to a picture of her holding her child and feeding him. But let's not pretend mom was ignorant that this picture was a possibility. She stood there while someone pulled up a chair and placed her child on it so that he could breastfeed while standing next to her and the camera started clicking away. It's exploitative because that's what Time wanted it to be and she let them do it. And she has been enjoying her Today Show appearance and other interviews since then. (Clearly, she has had time to care about what other people think, contrary to what you might think).

    If you have an issue with the negative view of public breastfeeding, then you should know this issue of Time has done a disservice to your cause. Perpetuating the mommy wars is the name of their game and I would guess they are succeeding. Because we let them. Anyone who finds this cover in bad taste must hate breastfeeders (look at the comments on this article alone) and anyone who thinks it's beautiful is a crunchy granola hippy. I'd say Time got exactly what they wanted out of this cover.

    Posted by Linney May 14, 12 10:32 AM
  1. @Cynthia and @EngineerChic - Amen. The photo was clearly designed to create exactly the stir it has - thereby allowing the fact that Time Magazine has intentionally thrown yet another landmine into women's issues go unnoticed, un-cared-about, and un-contested.

    I find the headline and content and the implications of both far more disturbing than the photo.

    Posted by Phe May 14, 12 10:37 AM
 
29 comments so far...
  1. I agree with you Barbara. That picture not only has unbelievable sexual overtones, but that child has no idea of how this may come back to haunt him. The editors at Time - and that mother - never should have allowed this.

    Posted by Lily- May 11, 12 07:07 AM
  1. I think "ruining this kid's life" is going a little far. A kid that breastfeeds at age three isn't necessarily hiding in a corner somewhere. Their social circle will involve supportive people. It sounds like you're not familiar with long-time nursing, personally.

    I don't think it's a great idea to put a kid on the cover of a national magazine if the magazine is just using him and his mom to put AP in a poor light. Especially with the pose chosen. Why not holding her nursing child?

    Posted by Beth May 11, 12 08:39 AM
  1. The picture and article title are just ... WRONG. It perpetuates the idea that it's okay for women to be exceedingly judgemental of other women. Why is the media so hell-bent on creating controversy around every women's issue? Do we see articles pitting men who use push-mowers against men who use riding mowers? Can you imagine a cover showing a man & his zero-turn mower with the caption, "Are you man enough?"

    As for the participants in the article ... why does everything have to be a crusade now? Why can't you talk about your choices for their own merit, instead of framing them as superior to all other choices? Baby-wearing isn't bad, and using a stroller isn't bad ... locking a kid in a closet so he's safe while you go for a walk alone IS bad. If you want to crusade against something then please do - but pick something REAL - like child neglect or animal abuse. Save your righteous anger for real issues that have a huge impact, don't use it to create wedges between people who, at the heart of it, have the same goals (to raise healthy, well adjusted kids).

    Posted by EngineerChic May 11, 12 08:44 AM
  1. I don't feel that the article is besides the point. The article did not do attachment parenting justice either, but the picture was disturbing to me. I am fine with extended breastfeeding but Time Magazine went out of their way to make this picture as disturbing as possible in order to sell as many magazines as possible. Their journalistic standards gave way to aiming to sell as many magazines as possible a long time ago, and we stopped subscribing. It seems like they've sunk even further since we gave up our subscription.

    Posted by Meri May 11, 12 09:04 AM
  1. Beth, I'm not sure how old you are or how aware you are of how social media works but anything put "out there" nowadays can come back to haunt you-forever. You think he's only going to be surrounded by supportive people in life? Wrong. And I will grant you that every kid faces obstacles in life that their parents can't control but this? This was under her control. She was not thinking of him. She was thinking of the impact of a magazine cover and I think we all know this one packed a punch. Sadly, to some degree, it will be at his expense. Regardless of arguments for or against long term breastfeeding, making him a spectacle was not fair or necessary. Shame on Time. Shame on mom.

    Posted by Linney May 11, 12 09:23 AM
  1. That poor kid - TIME did no one any favors by running that cover photograph. Whatever your views on attachment parenting and longer term breastfeeding, it seems obvious that the picture was posed to create maximum controversy rather than depict a legitimate child-rearing choice. Shame on TIME for exploiting everyone in that way.

    Posted by Kathleen May 11, 12 09:32 AM
  1. I agree that this photo was unnecessarily provocative. Time should be ashamed of falling prey to a cheap tactic to sexualize something that isn't sexual and should not be provocative. No one breastfeeds like this. Even when I was breastfeeding my youngest past age 2 (it was longer than I planned but nothing I regret), he was nestled in my lap and nursed discreetly.

    I question this mother's judgment and that of the editors at Time. There was a way to do this article (which wasn't even really about extended breastfeeding) without taking something that is natural and good and turning it into something cheap and salacious just to sell more magazines. Shame on this mother for allowing herself and her child to be exploited.

    Posted by Jen May 11, 12 09:48 AM
  1. I didn't like the picture for so many reasons.

    One is that it's obvious from the cover that the article is not going to be favorable to extended breastfeeding or attachment parenting. It's tailor-made to bring out the "anyone who nurses past age one is crazy-sick-bad-mother" crowd.

    Two is that it equates extended breastfeeding with attachment parenting, which is not accurate. You can have one without the other. You can exclusively formula feed and attachment parent, and you can breast feed and not follow attachment parenting. They correlate, but they aren't the same thing, so the title on the cover makes no sense and is very poor journalism.

    Three is that the photo is not even a good depiction of extended BF -- who the heck nurses standing up with their kid on a chair? I mean, come on already. Is that the experience of even 1% of moms who nurse their toddlers? If this mom really does nurse her son like that, why choose her for the cover as opposed to the 99.99% of moms who nurse as part of a bedtime ritual or other more common approach? It makes it even harder for anyone to admit they breast fed their baby past age one -- "OH! You're one of those CHAIR moms! Do you bring a stepstool with you wherever you go?"

    And four is the putting the kid on the cover issue that Barbara pointed out -- I don't even let most of my FB friends see photos of my kids, much less putting them on a national magazine in a pose that will follow them forever.

    Mostly though my objection is that the cover is done in a way to make attachment parenting look like some kind of fringe weirdo thing that is dangerous for children. Parent the way it makes sense for you and, as long as you are posing no danger to your child, everyone else should shut the heck up about it. I'm assuming that the article presents no evidence that attachment parenting or extended breast feeding is bad for children, so the only point of the cover is to sell magazines and if the cover pits moms against eachother for no reason, so be it.

    In summary: AARRGGGHHH!!

    Posted by SandEE May 11, 12 10:02 AM
  1. Creepy just plain creepy. I breast fed my children but I stopped before they were a year old.. This borders on just "weird".. Shame on Time for putting this on the cover.. it is almost perverse.. I will never buy a Time magazine again.. Where is there responsiblity to the community.. This should not be on store shelves..This is not a good mother.. This is a mother who needs counseling.. Yikes, get some help for both parent and child...

    Posted by taf May 11, 12 11:13 AM
  1. Call me old fashioned but the cover conveys a lot of aberrant behavior and is in poor taste in an attempt to sensationalize a story for its shock value. Whatever happened to solid, accurate journalism which speaks to the MAJORITY of the people and not the .000001 percent who either get off on this stuff or are stupid enough to think this is normal. My subscription is cancelled and if any others want to complain; that's the way to do it.

    Posted by Lynne May 11, 12 11:37 AM
  1. No doubt this will haunt that kid forever. Forget about his own issues as a result of that, but when he's in school the other kids will know about it. When he applies to college or a job, people will find it.
    It's not as bad as say a long-forgotten criminal record, but just the fact that it will come up will potentially make an uncomfortable situation in the real world someday.

    Posted by some-guy May 11, 12 11:38 AM
  1. Oh I couldn't agree more and I am a mother of a nursing almost 3 year old! I am continuing to nurse because it a clear need to her right now. I am not enjoying any longer it and limit setting is happening big time. We do not nurse in public. I am a huge advocate for mothers breastfeeding infants. I don't think me publicly nursing a toddler in any way helps that cause. This cover certainly doesn't help either!

    Posted by Heidi May 11, 12 11:51 AM
  1. I think it's amazing.

    Posted by Melisa May 11, 12 11:59 AM
  1. This kid is THREE? He must have a giant in his family tree. This photo is simply icky.

    I don't see how this will sell magazines. I breastfed my three children until they were ready to give it up, which was before their first birthdays.

    Posted by Momtothree May 11, 12 12:32 PM
  1. Time Magazine--All the news that,s unfit to print. --- Here,s a thought go find a real journalist.

    Posted by michael cavallaro May 11, 12 12:48 PM
  1. I went back and read your article and loved it. I did not get anything out of the pic that was put on the cover, of course I have seen a lot worse. But it just seemed very negative. Half naked women are out there on everything, breast are so oversexualized.

    Ang IBCLC

    Posted by Angela IBCLC May 11, 12 03:08 PM
  1. What a bunch of prudes. Anybody who is pro-breast feeding should keep quiet over this. Otherwise, he/she is being a hypocrite.

    Posted by Harlan Stearns May 11, 12 03:28 PM
  1. Linney, thank you, yes I am aware that things stay with you forever. But, to say that the cover will scar a child forever because he was breastfeeding? That I disagree with completely. What, they're going to find out breastfeeding was just a blip? That formula is actually better? That he's going to be embarrassed or ashamed because he was nursing? That's ridiculous.

    Does anyone even know this mom's story? Did she know the cover was going to look the way it did? I would not have made a similar choice to put my family or my breastfeeding children out there like that. But, again, I think it's Time who wants to make AP look as creepy as possible (and, why is that? Is it because it's become more popular? More visible?). And, to me, Time wanted to make AP and breastfeeding look as weird as possible. Thankfully, there are people out there like Dr. Sears and Mayim Bialik who are visibly and intelligently speaking about these issues separate from the provocation that this cover has caused.

    Most of us are just doing what we do as parents--and not really caring what other parents do. Who has time for that?

    My problem with the response by Barbara (and, I guess yours, too, Linney) is the idea that it was because he was breastfeeding, at age 3, that made the cover something that will follow him into the future and ruin his life. If he were just sitting there next to mama on a chair, no one would have said a word about child exploitation. There is a stigma in our country about nursing in public (Facebook still pulls accounts and photos of mothers breastfeeding). And that, again, is the reaction to which I'm objecting.

    Posted by Beth May 11, 12 03:54 PM
  1. I can see it now... Mom is so proud of her cover appearance that she takes a copy of the magazine, has it framed, and hangs it on her wall or places it on the mantle to proudly display to all visitors to the house. As with many things, the photo remains there for years, falling into the 'background' of the house. Maybe, as is the wont of society, the idea of AP and breastfeeding into toddler-hood has fallen out of favor. The photo remains though, as a reminder of days gone by.

    Fast forward to the boy's 20's. He brings home a girl he is serious about. She sees the photo. Awkward silence and explanations ensue. But hey - noone's getting hurt or embarassed here, right?

    Posted by OhBoy May 11, 12 04:20 PM
  1. Major shame on Time for allowing this and shame on this young Mother.
    She (and Time Magazine) is actually doing the most anti-attachment parenting thing: thinking solely of oneself. 'Hey, look at me' w/ the sexualization of it all... obnoxious and wrong.
    At the very least, could Time have done their research on AP and have the Mother at least LOOK AT HER CHILD?!

    The whole thing is a joke. Sad.
    And I hope Dr Sears (who I am mostly a fan of) has the gumption to speak out about this.

    Posted by MN May 11, 12 05:09 PM
  1. This is sick and disturbing on so many levels, it is borderline child abuse.

    Posted by Get Real May 12, 12 12:33 AM
  1. I have bought Time magazine from time to time in the past and have used it in my work as well. I will never buy it again. This photograph is disgraceful. They should absolutely be ashamed of themselves. I am so tired of motherhood being berated, dismissed, bullied and manipulated by a cruel, selfish, profit oriented male biased capitalist system (including the media that perpetuates it) that punishes women for wanting to follow their natural instincts and bear and rear children and not be punished economically and socially for doing so. It's really shocking to see how the issue of breastfeeding is taken and eroticized in a glamour shot to sell magazines. Time should be sued for this by some public interest group. Where are the standards in this? It does not reflect any kind of reality of nursing a child, even an older child. Nobody would stand like this to do it. It's quasi pornographic too as you can just imagine the number of males who will be titillated by it. That woman should be ashamed of herself and the poor kid will be mortified by this for the rest of his life. But the biggest shame lies with the editors of Time who showed appalling and poor judgement with this kind of cover. I'm sure they are sniggering gleefully at the reaction they provoked but I hope enough people will boycott the magazine to hurt them in the pocket but I'm sure enough weirdos who are turned on by the image will buy the magazine to more than compensate them for the loss of revenue from more decent minded people. Which is what they wanted. They have lost all credibility with me anyway. I expect this is also the result of the Internet too and they are losing money because people buy less magazines and newspapers and so will do anything to stay afloat. Don't know but hazard a guess. Shame!

    Posted by tbt May 12, 12 07:30 AM
  1. I can't agree with you more, Barbara. It doesn't matter what I think about breastfeeding; intentionally putting a picture of a minor in a shot like that is unethical. Time ought to stop all publication using that picture and issue an apology. Probably most people don't remember when the telephone book had a picture of a little girl standing on a bunch of telephone books and the picture was angled so you looked up her skirt. People protested that photo and it was never used again. We've been down this road of protesting sexualized or seamy pictures of children in the media before and it seems we'll have to go down it again.

    Posted by FavoriteAuntie May 12, 12 11:32 AM
  1. I think only people with dirty minds would find anything sexual in a photo like that.

    Posted by Marianne May 12, 12 11:52 AM
  1. The cover was inappropriate, and I agree Time Magazine should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, we all know that not only are they not ashamed of themselves they're loving the buzz this picture has created.

    Posted by momslife.me May 12, 12 06:08 PM
  1. Quite frankly, I find the title "Are You Mom Enough" far more problematic than the photo.

    Posted by Cynthia May 12, 12 08:03 PM
  1. Time is just trying to get publicity and sell some magazines. And from the looks of it, they've done just that.

    Posted by Al May 13, 12 04:08 PM
  1. Beth, you've hit the nail on the head. I would have had a totally different reaction to a picture of her holding her child and feeding him. But let's not pretend mom was ignorant that this picture was a possibility. She stood there while someone pulled up a chair and placed her child on it so that he could breastfeed while standing next to her and the camera started clicking away. It's exploitative because that's what Time wanted it to be and she let them do it. And she has been enjoying her Today Show appearance and other interviews since then. (Clearly, she has had time to care about what other people think, contrary to what you might think).

    If you have an issue with the negative view of public breastfeeding, then you should know this issue of Time has done a disservice to your cause. Perpetuating the mommy wars is the name of their game and I would guess they are succeeding. Because we let them. Anyone who finds this cover in bad taste must hate breastfeeders (look at the comments on this article alone) and anyone who thinks it's beautiful is a crunchy granola hippy. I'd say Time got exactly what they wanted out of this cover.

    Posted by Linney May 14, 12 10:32 AM
  1. @Cynthia and @EngineerChic - Amen. The photo was clearly designed to create exactly the stir it has - thereby allowing the fact that Time Magazine has intentionally thrown yet another landmine into women's issues go unnoticed, un-cared-about, and un-contested.

    I find the headline and content and the implications of both far more disturbing than the photo.

    Posted by Phe May 14, 12 10:37 AM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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