The Thinking 

A Time Cover

May 11, 2012


BUCK writes:

I’m sure that many have sent this to you. The boy is said to be three years old. He looks more like a first grader. At any rate, he looks to be too old and in no need for breastfeeding, and conversely and more importantly, too young to be posing for this kind of photo. I’ve no doubt that the publishers intended that this be erotic to some and a great source of titillation to adolescents and high school students, who will certainly be ogling this cover. Crass marketing and the hyper-sexualizing of children? Or, am I missing something?

Laura writes:

This is an erotic, pornographic shot —  yes, deliberate exaggeration that is meant to titillate and disturb. It is exploitive of the child — and of children in general — and has nothing to do with significant trends in breastfeeding. Time is a bloated and corrupt corpse of a magazine.
This mother willingly posed for this shot with her look of in-your-face self-assertion, shamelessly invading her son’s privacy. It is totally at odds with her supposed devotion to her son. In that sense, it is symbolic of feminist motherhood.

— End of Initial Entry —


Buck writes:

The more that I think about this; this grown boy is fully two-thirds his mother’s height and probably half her weight, I’m guessing he’s near 50 pounds. She’s an exhibitionist and she’s warping her son’s childhood. He will be victimized by this magazine cover, probably for decades. He’s already being assailed by sexual content at every turn, being forced to think about sex years before it’s natural, and now this image of himself on his mother’s bare breast will travel though childhood with him. What happens in the grocery store check-out line when he and his mom are recognized as the mother and son in the rack? What is going to be his immediate experience in school or day-care or play-date, or whatever she does with him?

I don’t know much about breast feeding. From what I read, a healthy mother would need produce the equivalent of twelve twelve ounce glasses of milk to keep a 50-pound boy properly fed. She’d have to be a machine, and he would have no time for other activities. This boy is eating plated grown-up food and club sandwiches. What’s the point of this extended breastfeeding, except to make a point?

Laura writes:

The number of women breastfeeding three year olds is extremely small.


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