Time Magazine: Are You Mom Enough?
This was too easy that I actually had a difficult time coming up with a trademark #8BD lead image. I hemmed and hawed over options like this, to this, to that… and somehow, I still feel like I’ve let you down.
Anyways, the latest issue of Time Magazine is the equivalent to a Paul/Blake lob city slaaaaam dunk for social media. Everyone is talking about the cover featuring nipple-magnet Jamie Lynne Grumet, a somewhat attractive a-cup L.A. mommy blogger who continues to breastfeed her 3-year-old son in skinny jeans and will continue until he’s five. Her blog is Iamnotthebabysitter.com, which has since crashed due to traffic (even though she’s had half the number of monthly visits we get… until now).
I was in the publishing industry for 12 years and have retouched thousands of photos for various magazines, so I know a little bit about how photoshoots are done. Jamie and almost 4-year-old son, Aram, had to stage this particular pose for the photographer. It’s one out of a dozen, I’m sure. Somewhere there are hundreds of sub-par photos the editor just couldn’t make work. So for an hour, this kid had to naturally stay latched on to her nipple without it getting incest-child-porn weird, naturally.
Grumet, who also has an adopted five-year-old child, said she knew the breastfeeding Time cover would create a media craze.
Hey, I have no problems with Time Magazine’s photo. In fact, I think it’s genius and I hope they move a lot of paper because of it for the good of this dying industry. I don’t have a problem with kids being breast fed until an age where an unreasonable amount of “wtf’s” happen (age 5 is pretty wtf to me, I suppose. When you can ask for pizza, it’s time to stop sucking). I do have a problem with the kids camo pants, a little douchey, but I’ll let it slide since what I’m really on about is the cover line.
The “Are You Mom Enough?” text is the offender of this cover. I get how it’s referencing the more popular phrase “Are you man enough?” that attributes the word “man” to mean bravery, fearless nature, strength, truck driving, long c*ck, massive balls… that sort of thing. The phrase can be used in other ways, such as, “You a pussy?”, “Got no scrote?”, “What’s the matter McFly? Chicken?”, “What, are you deaf and stupid?”.
“Mom” is a complex word that means so many different things to so many different people. Moms, sons, daughters, fathers, grandparents, all have a different opinions of what a mom means to them. It’s not fair for a national publication to put more pressure on women in our society to subconsciously adhere to yet another standard the media is touting for the good of sales. I thought we already had an image problem with teenage girls who read magazines and mentally ingest malnourished high-fashion models… and now they’re publicizing extreme mother abilities (barring you don’t work and are a SAHM)? For Time Magazine to attempt to (breast) pump up women publicly with that cover line for a story about what an extreme sample of females are doing is the opposite of celebratory, it’s demeaning to the word “mom”.
I’m all for moms here. The grandstand cover portrayal of this type of breastfeeding would be like calling the TV show, Hoarders, “Antiques Road Show: Extreme Edition”. People need to understand that extended breastfeeding is extreme and adverse to societal trends in the United States. Do other countries and cultures consider attachment parenting normal? Yes. Are we wrong to think it’s weird? No. That’s just how it is and our feedback proves it.
In a Today poll of 122,000 people who were asked what they thought of the cover, 27 percent said it was great but 73 percent they really did want to see it. Will it become more popular and therefore more accepted? Only time will tell. For now, we think it’s a little freaky – maybe it’s the teeth on a calloused nipple sort of thing.
What’s awesome about the United States is we have the freedom to say whatever we want, which makes for hilarious commentary. You get the “YOU GO GIRL OMG SO INSPIRING” people, the “OMG WTF THAT’S GROSS” section, and the “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT DON’T LOOK” crowd. Everyone’s talking about it so hard it’s trending on Twitter.
Us fathers battled adversity a while back with Huggies where dads were made into “lab rats” for a competency test in parenting. There was an outcry of hilarious commentary on both sides of the aisle, but in the end, dads won. They reached out to our fatherhood community and corrected the language of the campaign to better suit their product. That’s fine. What’s different about this controversy involving Time, is it’s one and done. It’s inked, it’s distributed, it’s out there now and it cannot be changed.
So what can we change here?
We can look through a window and change our minds by seeing how others choose to live. We can create new opinions that facilitate our own lives based on the selection of content that reaches us. We can help magnify the reflection of our society to influence the media for positive change.
This photo has me asking, “How old is too old for a child to be breastfed? When does it get weird?”.
Don’t stop talking. Make your (honest) opinion heard. Don’t be a dick. And most importantly: listen.
Tell us what you think in the comments below!