Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi's recent cover has stirred up a conversation about breastfeeding in public. As usual, social media is divided over the image and not afraid to opine.
The cover features 27-year-old model, poet, writer Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a child. The text below the image reads: "Mothers tell Kerala, 'please don't stare, we need to breastfeed'"
While a majority of the readers have lauded the choice of cover that is a step toward de-sexualising the act of breastfeeding, there are also people who are calling the move indecent.
Joseph, in an interview with Indian Express Malayalam, called breastfeeding 'a mother's privilege.'
"It is a problem to interpret this sexually. Isn’t it a beautiful thing, friends? Why do you think it is wrong? Which god will be angry if you feed your child?" she asked.
The interview also revealed that Joseph's family did not approve of her decision to feature on the cover in this manner. But since she believes only she has a right over her body, and that only she can decide what she must do with it, she did what was right for her.
Joseph said that motherhood is a beautiful feeling. It lets a woman celebrate and enjoy a wonderful bond with her offspring.
This attempt by Grihalakshmi and Joseph is shaking the patriarchal bedrock. This is why when one looks at the comments below the Facebook post of the magazine cover, many male readers are calling it a titillating image, a cheap publicity stunt.
But the supporters of the initiative are innumerable too.
Translation - "Do not stare at us while we are breastfeeding"
Really glad to see Grihalakshmi a leading magazine is breaking the Society norms without sexualizing it
I love the way Gilu Joseph (Model) stares at the reader straight in to your eyes. The message is a bang on! pic.twitter.com/SFYvNgDQrS— The Great Dictator.! (@tittoantony) February 28, 2018
Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi, from @mathrubhumieng, has this new cover. It says, "Mothers tell Kerala, "please don't stare, we need to breastfeed"".
WOW. Unusually bold. pic.twitter.com/Nwz6nAF0Fk— Vivek S Nambiar (@ivivek_nambiar) February 28, 2018
“Don’t stare, we want to breastfeed!” says the latest cover of the widely read Malayalam women’s magazine @Grihalakshmi_
Kudos to this effort!
As expected, morally upright people are offended alleging that the campaign is “artificial” / “commercial” & what not! pic.twitter.com/oYcqkK2WLN— Ardra Balachandran (@ardramaanasam) February 28, 2018
You can always count on #Kerala to stay one step ahead of the game!
This is amazing work from @Grihalakshmi_ magazine and actress Gilu Joseph.
Caption translation: "Please do not stare/glare/ogle at us. We need to feed our babies" pic.twitter.com/cLocnpjUJ2— Neil Balthazar (@NeilBalthazar) February 28, 2018
This is not the first time the issue of public breastfeeding has been discussed on a Global platform. Last year Australian MP Larissa Waters addressed the Parliament while breastfeeding her 14-week-old baby girl.
Magazines like Time and Babytalk too have featured such cover pages drawing applause and critic in equal amounts.