The picture of Jamie-Lynne Grumet posing with her son breastfeeding from a chair on the cover of this week’s issue of TIME Magazine was not the only one taken for the “Are You Mom Enough?” issue. It was, however, the one that would generate the most reaction.
There have been many thousands of words written on the topic over the past 36 hours, but Babble’s Rebecca Odes perfectly analyzes the image for how it was constructed by photographer Martin Schoeller and what it means, artistically.
Jamie Lynn Grumet is on the cover because her beauty and body make people think about sex, which sells magazines in itself. But it also makes the image 100 times more controversial than it would be if it were a woman who looked less sexy.
(Imagine the photo with a woman who has breasts larger than a B cup and you’ll get a very different picture—one that would likely have been deemed too explicit for TIME’s readers.)
Well there’s no need to imagine. Ms Grumet and her son were one of 4 families shot for the cover. And here they are:
Dionna Ford 1 of 5"It's so funny that the women who ask breast-feeding parents to cover up wouldn't write to Victoria's Secret to ask them to take down their ads."
Dionna Ford of Kansas City, Mo., and her children, ages 4 years and 5 months.
Jessica Cary 2 of 5"I don't think about when I'll stop. For us, it's a life philosophy."
Jessica Cary of Brooklyn and her daughter, age 3.
Melinda Larson 3 of 5"The philosophy resonated with us, and it felt comfortable. Other forms of parenting felt like I wasn't in my own skin."
Melinda Larson of Long Island, N.Y., and her children, ages 6, 4, 2 1/2 and 9 months.
Jamie Lynne Grumet 4 of 5"I don't consider breast-feeding immodest at all. I'm not shy about doing it in public."
Jamie Lynne Grumet of Los Angeles and her son, age 3.
The Cover 5 of 5This was the image TIME editors chose with Jamie Lynne Grumet.
So what do you think? Did TIME manipulate the media and inflame reaction with the cover they chose? Which photo would you have picked for the cover?
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Images by Martin Schoeller for TIME