Tuesday 15 May 2012

AP and me - part 1


I finally got my hands on the Time magazine edition that created such a big controversy over the past few days.

Personally, I think the picture is awesome because it is not your usual nurturing mother image. Between you and me, when I feed Alice in the middle of the night I definitely look more like a wasted alcoholic than a delicate woman gazing lovingly at her child!

Some people mentioned they felt that the image had a sexual connotation. Maybe it is the hormones in my IUD but I find nothing sexual in that picture (but I get the concept, ah!). However, it got me thinking. Would the reaction be the same if it was a little girl? Would it be more or less shocking?

From what I understand, most mothers believe that the title was more controversial than the picture...and I'm not talking about the God of Cricket (title at the top right of the magazine). I find that reaction very interesting on a social point of view.

I think that in most industrialized countries, women lost their ability to follow their maternal instincts. Of course, this doesn't make them less of a good mother. No matter how you decide to raise your kids (attachment parenting or not) the vast majority (I can't say 100% of mothers because, lets face it, there are some extreme situations that require the help of social services!) of women are definitely  "mom enough".

However, if women were a bit more confident about their ability to be a mother, that magazine title would be like water off a duck's back. If less books, blogs (!) and forums were read by mothers and if more time was invested in following what really feel "right" for their family...well, Time magazine (USA) would have a completely different cover story (maybe one about the God of Cricket - South Pacific cover).

Individualism, lack of self esteem and perfectionism transformed motherhood into a very lucrative business...Dr. Sears and all the other baby books writers are living proof.

I often questioned myself like most people but coming from somebody who had her load of shitty self esteem until recently, I applauded myself (sounds extremely pretentious but I won't silence this  accomplishment after so many years of personal insecurities) for following my mother's instinct with Alice even when things got a bit more rocky (and hopefully into toddlerhood). 

The business degree graduate in me says Touché Time magazine for choosing that picture and that title. Time magazine is obviously not a non profit organization. Generating money by selling copies is their number 1 goal.

On the other hand, Time magazine re-opened the debate on breastfeeding in North America (and Attachment Parenting but the elephant in the room was obviously breastfeeding) but I'm still not sure who will be the winner in the end (Did it ridicule or applaud women doing extended breastfeeding?)...except Time magazine!

part 2: my toughs on the article and AP in my family


Rachael said...

I love the questions you ask, especially "what if it had been a girl?"

Truly the oddest thing is that most people can't read the article because Time doesn't share it online. We're all reading articles about the article. I like Marvelous Kiddo's remark that it is a good thing just to have co-sleeping, long term breastfeeding, and baby carrying discussed in mainstream media. Get with the times, media!

So well posed, as always Claudia! I'm glad you're back.

(*wasted alcoholic)

dear olive said...

For anyone who's actually breastfed a toddler, I think you'll agree it's very intimate and beautiful, but nothing close to sexual! I haven't read the article but I find the fact that it's so controversial (the picture at least), kind of sad. Shouldn't breastfeeding just be normal? Kellie xx

Rebecca said...

Totally agree with the "middle of the night feeding look"!
Like you say, Time are just looking at the $$ but I still liked the cover pic- just to compete with the socially acceptable idea of the floral-wearing-hippie-peaceful-breastfeeding image that is out there.

Daniela said...

Exactly. Well said. I agree with all of your thoughts on this. Confidence is key to not be offended by the title. It's amazing how many people think that breastfeeding in public is gross and should be done in the privacy of your home or all covered up (not to mention breasfeeding a toddler that can walk or/and speak). Those are the ones that probably think it is "sexual"? Who knows, but I can't see it. As a visual artist I can see that when choosing images such as this one EVERYTHING is thought through, so it IS meant to create controversy, starting by the position and ending by the choice of clothes (to tell you the truth, I couldn't care less, but I see the hidden messages). But maybe that is just me overanalyzing an image, (call it practice). Anyhow, I think it's great to open the debate.

Anonymous said...

Claudia, I really enjoyed your nuanced view on the discussion that has sprung up from this article and cover! It was refreshing to read something that came from a curious and pondering viewpoint (perhaps even amused!) rather than enraged.

And on a more general note, I do so enjoy your writing and how you approach the topics you write about!

Sid. said...

I think you make some excellent points about self-esteem. When I feel threatened (or notice other people feeling threatened) about parenting choices, I figure it most often comes from a lack of confidence. I'm happy to say that after almost 3 years of doing this, my confidence gets better everyday that I see MY child doing well, growing up happy and healthy.

The other thing I thought was interesting/funny about the article is that attachment parenting is always portrayed as such burdensome, hard work. When it comes to parenting, I'm a lazy person, if extended nursing, co-sleeping and baby wearing hadn't been the easiest (and cheapest) way to raise my kid, I would have looked for something better.

Sandra said...

This is a great conversation. I need to get my hands on the article as well. They are going to be talking about this on Anderson on Monday. Should be good.