July 28, 2006

Any Boob Can Tell You


In about three weeks, the fam and I will be relocating to Spain for the coming school year.  (Don’t worry.  I’ll have more time to blog.)

Anyway, this is just one of the reasons why:

Breast-feeding cover upsets magazine readers

Associated Press

Jul. 28, 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK – “I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine,” one person wrote. “I immediately turned the magazine face down,” wrote another. “Gross,” said a third.

These readers weren’t complaining about a sexually explicit cover, but rather one of a baby nursing, on a parenting magazine. It’s yet another sign that Americans are squeamish over the sight, even as breast-feeding itself gains more support from the government and medical community.

Babytalk is a free magazine whose readership is overwhelmingly mothers of babies. Yet in a poll of more than 4,000 readers, a quarter of responses to the cover were negative, calling the photo – a baby and part of a woman’s breast, in profile – inappropriate.

The evidence of public discomfort isn’t just anecdotal. In a survey published in 2004 by the American Dietetic Association, less than half, or 43 percent, of 3,719 respondents said women should have the right to breast-feed in public.

Just a couple of notes:

Once you get past the breast, that gaze is so visceral and so essential, it actually evokes a much less objectified sense of Mom.  Somatically — if one does not resist it — one is drawn into one half of one of nature’s most powerful connections.  If you really lend yourself to the sensation, the greater anatomical feature you sense of mother are her eyes.

Re: “Quickie routines that work.” … Was the image so charged that even the editors couldn’t help  a sexual allusion?  Or, maybe it’s just a subliminal move to distribute more magazines?  … On the other hand (and this is where I can get in big trouble with the “so called” moralists), isn’t breast feeding supposed to be a pleasurable act, one which expands the (otherwise incredibly narrow American) definition of healthy sexuality?

(hat tip: Bob)

(Baby Talk magazine.  August 2006 issue.  Cover.  Lead article:  Why Don’t Women Nurse Longer – link.)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus