oh, time magazine.
by now you have probably seen time's cover for next week's magazine. clearly, meant to sell magazines more than inform (but, this is time magazine we are talking about. not quite the epitome of intellectually stimulating writing). i have yet to read the article (its not out yet) but i am sad that the cover emphasizes the polarizing "extremes" of attachment parenting, a parenting style which has many good tenants.
five random thoughts:
1. the cover photographer chose to have the boy stand up to visually emphasize that extended breast feeding is unusual (source). i liked the photo a little more after i read that, because she is trying to communicate something through the medium of the picture (not a commentary that it SHOULD be unusual, more that it IS unusual here in the US).
2. people are going to be upset about this picture (once again, time's strategy, i'm sure). however, lots of magazines have pictures of women that are way more revealing than this picture, but they aren't controversial. why? because the women are in sexually provocative poses, which is more acceptable in our culture than a loving exchange because a mother and a child (although this particular photo is kinda stiff and awkward, not very tender and loving). people will rant for days about how this picture is scarring their children for life, but wont hesitate to walk by victoria's secret in the mall.
3. the boy in the photo is 3 years old, which is younger than the world wide average age for a child to be weaned, which is four years old. except that ISN'T the actual worldwide average (even though that is the statistic i constantly hear repeated). looking at this chart from UNICEF, it looks like the average age is closer to two. whoops. i guess that is one of those things everyone just keeps repeating until they think its a fact, but it really isn't a fact. i'm not saying everyone should stop right at two years old since that is the world average, i'm just saying four isn't the world average, so lets stop repeating something that isn't true, since it will only make us breast feeding proponents look ignorant.
4. "are you mom enough?" once again, an obnoxious title, meant to sell lots of magazines more than anything. the title condemns women who don't subscribe to attachment parenting, as if they are too weak to be a good mother. they are creating a false dichotomy of good and bad mothers based on parenting styles. their intention is to sell magazines, but will doubtless cause many to feel unnecessarily condemned.
5. many women choose not to breast feed, despite its many benefits, because they are embarrassed to do it in public. this cover only makes that kind of stigma worse.
i went to barnes & noble last night with the hope of reading the article, but its not out yet. i will write more thoughts when i read the article, which i hope is more fact-based and less emotion-driven than the cover.