My news feed was filled on Friday morning with article after article about the “controversial” Elle cover featuring an Australian model/mom breast-feeding her infant.
Why was it controversial? NOT because you saw some of her beautiful boob or that she was –gasp — breastfeeding for all to see. No. The controversy was around Elle‘s cover change.
If you were to come upon the magazine in a shop or news stand, you would see a version with the model fully clothed while still holding her baby. (Why she is holding her baby dressed in haute couture is downright weird but that’s another discussion.) The breastfeeding-covered issue was intended for subscribers only.
So what was the controversy? People protested the magazine’s fully clothed version, not the breastfeeding one! And I love it! People were criticizing Elle for playing into the cultural disdain for breast-feeding in public. And what I love more? There was no one criticizing Elle for its breastfeeding version. In other words, a beautiful photo of a mother breast-feeding is just that to most people — a beautiful photo of someone doing something beautiful. End of story.
How far we have come!
I remember I had to fight one of my former employers an office door so I could breastfeed my first child over 13 years go. (We were all “doorless” then.) Very few of my colleagues pumped or breastfed, and they certainly didn’t do it exclusively for over a year. But I pushed myself to do it. And this meant my boobs were exposed in bathrooms, trains, planes and automobiles. I didn’t love the funny looks or the “encouragement” by others to cover up, but I’m glad I did it.
Today it’s gotten so much better. And I’m grateful for that. Not only are breasts seen as beautiful because of the sexuality they represent, but also because of the nourishment, love and comfort they offer our loved ones.
Yeah, maybe Elle should have let the whole world see the breast-feeding cover. But at least they took the first step.