Time Magazine turns heads at the newsstands with their most recent cover, which reads “Are You Mom Enough?”
Jamie Lynne Grumet, the 26-year-old mom on the cover, advocates that “people have to realize this is biologically normal. It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping.” The cover is meant to be shocking so as to spearhead an intellectual debate about breastfeeding as something that is very natural. In that respect, the provocative cover was successful in sparking heated debates about the topic. However, taking the route of shock value and sensationalism to put forth the issue brings us to the question: Does the end justify the means? Would Time Magazine have provided this wide a platform for discussion had the cover not been immediately shocking? Or is it really only outrageous because of society’s gross fascination with breasts?
Some netizens argue that it is artistic license. Photographer Martin Schoeller argues that the treatment of the photo “underscores how unusual extended breastfeeding can seem.” Bettina Forbes, co-founder of Best of Babes, says, “We understand that Americans are uncomfortable with [the Time cover], but in cultures where babies wean themselves normally, usually somewhere around age 3 or 4, it is perfectly acceptable.”
Others simply find the cover disturbing and tastelessly done. Actress Alyssa Milano tweets, “No! You missed the mark! You’re supposed to be making it easier for breast-feeding moms. Your cover is exploitive & extreme.” Another commenter, Vargas, notes, “When addressing controversial subjects, there’s a big difference between inspiring open dialogue and provoking an emotional response. Time Magazine, this is not your finest hour.”
(You might also like: Indie Film Screening in Fully Booked: Liberacion)
Whichever side you’re on, media outlets have the most to take away from this issue. Are we being liberating or just plain inappropriate? Are we challenging boundaries or simply pushing their limits? How far are we willing to go to prove a point?
What do you think of the controversial cover? Sound off in the comments!