I suppose it is hard to get a new angle on an anniversary as hallowed as Mother’s Day, but does that excuse Time magazine for putting what amounts to porn on its cover? They scooped the evening news, all right, but my first thought on seeing that image was, “mommy porn!” And my second thought was, “kiddie porn!” A young woman with what looks like a four-year-old son attached to one breast in the self-conscious, exhibitionist pose demanded by the photographer reeks of sexualization — of both mother and child.
The cover photo and three others are supposed to draw attention to something called “attachment parenting” but they deliberately set out to shock and, yes, titillate. The intimate relationship of a nursing mother and her baby has already been exposed enough, goodness knows, by women who insist on the right to breastfeed in cafes and restaurants, but Time’s image is straight out exploitation. The woman looks as maternal as a shop window model, and her son … Didn’t they think about the (almost eternal) life of this image on the internet and what it might mean for him growing up?
Don’t forget Time’s cover next time they sound off about the sexual abuse of children. They have set a new benchmark in the media’s contribution to that trend.