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Model Gilu Joseph, who features on the Grihalakshmi cover, on why breastfeeding should be celebrated, not stigmatised

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http://indianexpress.com/article/india/breastfeeding-gilu-joseph-mathrubhumi-publications-much-ado-over-nature/

Since Wednesday evening, the photograph of a model breastfeeding a baby has generated a storm of reactions on social media. The photograph appears on the cover of the latest issue of Grihalakshmi, a popular Malayalam weekly magazine for women brought out by Mathrubhumi Publications, with the headline (roughly translated to English as): “Mothers tell Kerala: Don’t stare, we need to breastfeed.”

In an interview to The Indian Express, Gilu Joseph, the model who features on the controversial cover, said that a query for cover shoot had come to her like any other assignment and as soon as she found out what the issue being addressed was, she decided to do it. Joseph defended the concept of the photoshoot saying, “It is a problem to interpret this (breastfeeding) sexually. Isn’t it a beautiful thing? Why would you think it’s wrong? Which god will you offend by feeding your child?”

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I find the picture beautiful . It is very calming and peaceful.

 

The primary function of breast is to nurture. 

A new born needs to be given milk every couple of hrs. The mother should not have to hesitate before being able to nurse her child who is completely dependent on her.

 

Breast feeding is the safest form of feeding for newborns. It is the best nourishment, it increases immunity, it prevents infection as it is hygienic , easily available and costs nothing. It should be encouraged irrespective of where the mother and child are.

 

Anyone who sexualizes it or finds vulgarity in it is a pervert.

 

Besides...breastfeeding in public was never really looked down in India. Indian women have been doing it for ever. It is only the urban crowd that is uncomfortable.If anyone is uncomfortable, just don't look ...the baby needs to be fed.

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mostly agree with you beetle ji.  But there is a small minority of feminazis who turn this motherly act into a defiant aggressive show of "feminism".   Indian women have historically used the palluu  of their sarees as a nursing cover.  And there are plenty of cheap ones available in the market as well.   Right-minded women would anyway be discreet and dignified about it.   There is no reason to try and make it a public display and claim it as a "new normal".   

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8 hours ago, beetle said:

I find the picture beautiful . It is very calming and peaceful.

 

The primary function of breast is to nurture. 

A new born needs to be given milk every couple of hrs. The mother should not have to hesitate before being able to nurse her child who is completely dependent on her.

 

Breast feeding is the safest form of feeding for newborns. It is the best nourishment, it increases immunity, it prevents infection as it is hygienic , easily available and costs nothing. It should be encouraged irrespective of where the mother and child are.

 

Anyone who sexualizes it or finds vulgarity in it is a pervert.

 

Besides...breastfeeding in public was never really looked down in India. Indian women have been doing it for ever. It is only the urban crowd that is uncomfortable.If anyone is uncomfortable, just don't look ...the baby needs to be fed.

 

Yes, all that is fine. At least in the picture, she should not have posed to the camera. She should have lovingly looked at the child,  it would have made the picture look even more beautiful. It's looks like a selfie now and also there is nothing natural about the picture. Nobody feeds the baby like this , even in so-called "liberated" western countries. Just a cheap posture to sell the mag.

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33 minutes ago, coffee_rules said:

 

Yes, all that is fine. At least in the picture, she should not have posed to the camera. She should have lovingly looked at the child,  it would have made the picture look even more beautiful. It's looks like a selfie now and also there is nothing natural about the picture. Nobody feeds the baby like this , even in so-called "liberated" western countries. Just a cheap posture to sell the mag.

Her looking at the camera has a meaning.

It means I don't care about the stare. Besides, how does it matter where she is looking ? May be she is looking  at her other child .

Mothers don't look at the baby for the whole duration of the feeding . If she is feeding the  child every two hrs ...you can't expect her to only look at the child. Looking at the child when the baby is feeding has no benefits for the baby because the baby is not looking at the mother. Sometimes women multitask while feeding. It is not even an issue.

 

As for covering up...people do it because people sexualize it. Babies prefer not to be covered just like we adults would not like to eat under a blanket .Besides the act of breastfeeding itself sometimes can be suffocating for the baby if the baby is small or the woman has big breast. 

 

India is a hot country. No one would like to have their head covered .

 

People don't feed like that in the west because it has been a taboo there...just like showing the midrif ( like in a saree) was but showing legs wasn't . 

 

Breast feeding in public or even in family gatherings has not been a taboo in India . The scorn associated with it is more a recent thing specially in the urban parts. It is pretty common for women to nurse the baby while working in rural India. 

 

In the olden days , women would often keep money  tucked in the blouses and there was no shame associated with taking out money from the blouse to make payments for everyday buying. 

Most women these days wouldn't think of doing that because it is no longer considered couth amongst the educated lot .

 

Somethings become taboo for various reasons. Breast feeding unfortunately is becoming so too which is sad. Earlier women in family gatherings of women ,  would not think twice before nursing their baby . These days, the younger mothers feel uncomfortable and want the privacy of a room .

 

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first & foremost, the pic from the mallu magazine was purely to create a buzz.. Nowehere in India I have seen anyone objecting to feeding a baby. Infact I have seen people give up their seats to create more space in a bus for this act. 

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7 hours ago, flamy said:

Let me ask this because it is kind of a tangential topic.

 

How many Indian men (especially urban) still hold hands? I say still, because I used to hold hands with my cousins all the time, and still do when I visit India.

Exactly.

This is what the picture is about.

Don't turn something that was never a taboo into a taboo under urban/western influence.

 

As it is , we are a fairly restrictive society .Why start  putting restriction on simple things like breast feeding or same sex people  people holding hands or hugging  in public  which were never a taboo.

 

Today we say cover up. Tomorrow we will say, do it in a designated area ( like smoking ) then someday people will say ...pump the milk and carry in bottles because even people in west do not breast feed in public because others are uncomfortable.

Edited by beetle

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11 hours ago, coffee_rules said:

 

Yes, all that is fine. At least in the picture, she should not have posed to the camera. She should have lovingly looked at the child,  it would have made the picture look even more beautiful. It's looks like a selfie now and also there is nothing natural about the picture. Nobody feeds the baby like this , even in so-called "liberated" western countries. Just a cheap posture to sell the mag.

There are 2 pics in one she is looking at the camera and in the other she is looking at the baby

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13 hours ago, sandeep said:

   Right-minded women would anyway be discreet and dignified about it.   There is no reason to try and make it a public display and claim it as a "new normal".   

If you think of a mother's breast as milk dispensors , you will not feel uncomfortable .:p:

 

I have heard that in some islamic countries, even non muslims are expected not to eat or display food in public during ramzan fasting to respect the feelings of fasting people.

 

People saying cover up to feed is also the same . The woman and the baby are expected to feel uncomfortable ( at least the baby ) to spare the feeling of others.

 

It is an act of nourishing and that is the whole point of the picture. People need to stop sexualizing the act or the part on display. People need to get a cover for their thoughts , not the milk dispensor. Once people can see it purely as an act of feeding , they will stop feeling uncomfortable and the poor baby can have a meal without having to hide it's head under cover.,

 

 

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55 minutes ago, beetle said:

If you think of a mother's breast as milk dispensors , you will not feel uncomfortable .:p:

 

I have heard that in some islamic countries, even non muslims are expected not to eat or display food in public during ramzan fasting to respect the feelings of fasting people.

 

People saying cover up to feed is also the same . The woman and the baby are expected to feel uncomfortable ( at least the baby ) to spare the feeling of others.

 

It is an act of nourishing and that is the whole point of the picture. People need to stop sexualizing the act or the part on display. People need to get a cover for their thoughts , not the milk dispensor. Once people can see it purely as an act of feeding , they will stop feeling uncomfortable and the poor baby can have a meal without having to hide it's head under cover.,

 

 

Why cover act of love then? People should see sex as an act of love. The moment people see it as an act of love there is no need to get a room. :hysterical:

 

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13 minutes ago, Pollack said:

Why cover act of love then? People should see sex as an act of love. The moment people see it as an act of love there is no need to get a room. :hysterical:

 

Because act of love is a private act. Feeding is not .You are sexualing an act of nurture .

 

Tomorrow you will compare breast feeding to  attending to nature's call.

 

She is feeding a baby...not doing susu in public nor having sex. 

Edited by beetle

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15 minutes ago, beetle said:

Because act of love is a private act. Feeding is not .You are sexualing an act of nurture .

Tomorrow you will compare breast feeding to  attending to nature's call.

Beetleji, I just extended your logic. I have no opinion on original topic. I am not sexualizing or comparing anything to nothing or everything. :biggrin:

 

Edited by Pollack

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54 minutes ago, chapetmarunga said:

Male breasts arent sexualized but women's breasts are. Men should shut their eyes & stay indoors instead of asking women to cover up.

Even sexualizing something is fine in context. Expecting people to not ever do that is naive and probably unnatural.

 

A  swim suit model (both genders ) posing provocatively can be sexualised in your head because that is the purpose of the posing provocatively , or even normal people going about their job as long as you don't make them uncomfortable or harass them ...... but a mother baring her breasts for feeding should not be.

Edited by beetle

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18 hours ago, rageaddict said:

Yes let's hope it doesn't get turned into a Flash with Pride contest with annual marches being conducted to celebrate the woman's right to breastfeed in Public. 

why not ,is progressive utopia only for the west.Indians are primitive and needs some serous upgrading .I just hope we are up for it when even the civilized west is struggling with it and we have just learnt to mumble english in our funny accent.

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This is another one of those feminism gone crazy ideas or just some attention seeking (Swara Bhaskar @ padmavat comes to mind in both cases).

 

If indeed an organ of a male/female is considered private, general civility dictates that it should be covered up, plain and simple. That applies to female breasts as of current cultural norms and a minor effort to cover up as has been tradition for ages isn't exactly putting a boulder on the kaleja of the mother. 

 

Should open defecation also be allowed as providing natural fertilizer to our farms and parks and regarded as a cleansing process of the human body, not some dirty private act ? That has been going on for far too long as well for the record. 

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1 hour ago, Clarke said:

This is another one of those feminism gone crazy ideas or just some attention seeking (Swara Bhaskar @ padmavat comes to mind in both cases).

 

If indeed an organ of a male/female is considered private, general civility dictates that it should be covered up, plain and simple. That applies to female breasts as of current cultural norms and a minor effort to cover up as has been tradition for ages isn't exactly putting a boulder on the kaleja of the mother. 

 

Should open defecation also be allowed as providing natural fertilizer to our farms and parks and regarded as a cleansing process of the human body, not some dirty private act ? That has been going on for far too long as well for the record. 

You are comparing breast feeding to defecation. 

Wow  !

Edited by beetle

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22 hours ago, beetle said:

Her looking at the camera has a meaning.

It means I don't care about the stare. Besides, how does it matter where she is looking ? May be she is looking  at her other child .

Mothers don't look at the baby for the whole duration of the feeding . If she is feeding the  child every two hrs ...you can't expect her to only look at the child. Looking at the child when the baby is feeding has no benefits for the baby because the baby is not looking at the mother. Sometimes women multitask while feeding. It is not even an issue.

 

As for covering up...people do it because people sexualize it. Babies prefer not to be covered just like we adults would not like to eat under a blanket .Besides the act of breastfeeding itself sometimes can be suffocating for the baby if the baby is small or the woman has big breast. 

 

India is a hot country. No one would like to have their head covered .

 

People don't feed like that in the west because it has been a taboo there...just like showing the midrif ( like in a saree) was but showing legs wasn't . 

 

Breast feeding in public or even in family gatherings has not been a taboo in India . The scorn associated with it is more a recent thing specially in the urban parts. It is pretty common for women to nurse the baby while working in rural India. 

 

In the olden days , women would often keep money  tucked in the blouses and there was no shame associated with taking out money from the blouse to make payments for everyday buying. 

Most women these days wouldn't think of doing that because it is no longer considered couth amongst the educated lot .

 

Somethings become taboo for various reasons. Breast feeding unfortunately is becoming so too which is sad. Earlier women in family gatherings of women ,  would not think twice before nursing their baby . These days, the younger mothers feel uncomfortable and want the privacy of a room .

 

Actually it does matter if she is posing to the camera. Firstly, I don’t believe this helps the message. Breastfeeding is nothing to be ashamed but also nothing to flaunted. It is purely nature at work. The posing is confusing the message. If the idea of the campaign is to make those peeping at this act more aware and sensitive, then it could have been done differently. The woman’s attention could have been on the child,which is how it normally is and they could have asked a poignant question of the viewer. 

 

But I guess they got a model to pose for this to send a message that this act is not titillating and doesn’t require your unwarranted attention. Confused message and just to grab attention it might seem. 

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I think what it says is that they will breastfeed infants in public without any inhibition. effoff. 

 

Please take snaps of those pervs who are staring at the breastfeeding mothers. Shame those pervs and not the mothers themselves.

 

Saale pervs. 

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3 hours ago, beetle said:

You are comparing breast feeding to defecation. 

Wow  !

Yeah, WOW! Defecation/urination is a far more common activity and affects too many women (and men/children) in India. It literally is a pain in the arse for so many women as compared to "oh, i couldn't be bothered to carry/use a piece of cloth" mother.

 

Sure, it doesn't fall in the same pool as the oh so beautiful feeling women have when it comes to anything that has to do between them and their babies but yeah, they're all biological acts after all and I'd argue one is far more important & pressing issue than the other. 

 

Edited by Clarke

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I’ve issue with this advert. Many women breast feed in public. All they do is put a cover on top for little bit of privacy and also to prevent dust or flies bothering the baby.

So in the advert you don’t have to show the breast in open to convert the message.

 

However my main issue is Gilu wearing very emphasised Vermillion and bindi... why?

 

Couldn’t the message be conveyed without stereotyping?

 

What would’ve happened to her (in Kerala) if she wore a Hijab?

 

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Misplaced outrage. There is no social stigma on women feeding babies in India. Mother's are more concerned about babies being fed and they dont worry about who's watching them. They keep focusing on the babies rather than focusing whom to educate about breastfeeding.  And yes, they don't cover out of shame, but out of general decorum, hygiene, etc. What a farce of an issue.

 

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