Time Magazine, Breast Feeding and Feminists

This past week a lot of noise was made over the cover of Time. Here is the cover in question:

a mother breast feeding her 3 year old son

Time Magazine cover of Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her 3 year old son

And yes, that is her son, who is almost 4 according to the Los Angeles Times. The question on the cover is interesting. “Are you mom enough?” Reading through the comments at various sites is also interesting. Some people cannot believe that the woman would allow her son to keep breast feeding. There are accusations that this will somehow give the boy a breast fixation. As if that does not already happen with boys who were weaned at an early age. And apparently some people are very squeamish about the image. Or shocked. Or both. Really? Images of women in bikinis or bra and panties (or less) are found everywhere, even on the occasional magazine cover, but this image is shocking? I don’t get it.

More interesting is the reaction some feminists have apparently had to this growing trend of some women taking their motherhood very seriously. One of the articles I came across was at the Time magazine site. It is titled “Why Breast-Feeding Isn’t the Bugaboo”. Apparently some European woman with no children wrote a whole book about how women who breastfeed and stay home to care for their children are ruining the struggle against the patriarchy.

In The Conflict, a provocative new book that was a best seller in Europe and is predictably making waves in the U.S., leading French intellectual Elisabeth Badinter argues that women have become newly enslaved by biology — more specifically, by their breasts. The ideological pressure to nurse a child — in the name of all that is natural and good — has had the nefarious effect of keeping women in their place, at home, far more effectively than any maneuver men might dream up. “Sexist men can celebrate: we will not see the end of their reign any time soon,” writes Badinter. “They have won a war without taking up arms, and without having said a word. The champions of maternalism took care of it all.”

Pooh yi. Got that, ladies? If you want to nurse and rear* your child, you’re letting the sexist men win! I said it before and I’ll say it again. That kind of talk just exchanges one kind of paternalism for another. Apparently women who want to be free to make their own choices in life have to not only fight against the patriarchy of sexist men, but now also against the matriarchy of women who know better than you do how you should live your life.

Why do some feminists try to tell women how to behave? Go read Animal Farm by George Orwell. No, it is not really a book about feminism, but it is about people (well, animals… it’s a metaphor… or a parable…  just go read the book already) who claim to fight for freedom only to end up falling into the same behavior they fought against. Anti-socialism as only a socialist could write it.

Anyway, I sympathize a little with Jamie Lynne Grumet and other “attachment parenting” mothers. They are going to get called names and have people tell them they are wrong and stupid and foolish and impractical. People do the same to libertarians all the time. I’m not advocating for “attachment parenting.” I do not know enough about it to have an opinion about it. But I know what it is like to be judged by people who do not know me or what I think, but talk and act like they do. It will thicken one’s skin. Eventually.

Oh, and, uh, happy Mother’s Day.

*Yes, I said rear. Corn is raised. Children are reared.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: