THE TIME COVER produced a whine from Mika Brzezisnki and Gillian Tett on “Morning Joe.”
“I’ll tell you why it bothers me. It bothers me because it’s a profile of Bill Sears,” Brzezinski said, suggesting, as Tett did, that the cover was a cheap shot. [Politico]
That’s the sound of the subject matter attached to the provocative picture going right over their heads.
Evidently, Brzezinski and Tett don’t care that Dr. Bill Sears is father of “attachment parenting,” that includes “extended breast-feeding,” which the Time magazine cover is meant to depict.
From the author of the piece:
For TIME’s May 21 cover story, I explored the personal history and legacy of Dr. Bill Sears, the father of a child-rearing philosophy called attachment parenting. As the author of 40-plus books on parenting and pregnancy, Sears is a familiar figure to many American mothers and fathers. Some parents subscribe to his theory that attachment parenting – characterized by extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping and wearing your baby in a sling across your body – is the best way to raise confident, secure children. Others think Sears is an antifeminist tyrant, or that his ideas are just totally unrealistic.
It’s hard to know how any magazine stays in business with new media’s power, but as long as the cover matches the article subject there’s no reason not to do it. What’s critical is drawing attention to subjects that matter, so if it takes a little shock value to get people to care about issues, so be it.
There is also a certain segment of women in this country who are afraid of public depiction of nudity and breasts, as well as anything provocative at all, thinking life needs to be serious and sober to be important. Politico wouldn’t even show the entire cover while writing about it! Back when I watched “Morning Joe” regularly, Brzezinski would freak out every time the boys brought up anything having to do with women scantily clothed or nude, coming off as prudish, schoolmarm or old-fashioned.
Feminism is also attached to a strict sense of female propriety where nudity is concerned, something I always equated as part of the multiple choice party of liberation. Unfortunately, many feminists have a politically correct dos and don’ts list for women that all of us are to live by. I blew past that one decades ago.
As for the philosophy of “extended breast-feeding,” it’s just plain creepy and reminds me of the shame I’ve seen through girlfriends who couldn’t breast feed no matter how hard they tried, but were made to feel guilty because they couldn’t.
I’m child-free by choice, so this story is completely out of my personal experience base, though I have interviewed women on children’s issues many times. I’ve yet to find anyone who embraces “extended breast-feeding,” though many have chosen co-sleeping, up to a certain age, and wearing their baby across their body in a sling, though these two issues are quite different from what the Time cover depicts.