Model Breastfeeding Baby On Kerala Magazine Cover Has Internet Divided

Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi's March issue features a striking image of model Gilu Joseph staring straight at the camera, with a baby at her breast. The text on the cover reads: "Mothers tell Kerala: please stop staring, we need to breastfeed."

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Model Breastfeeding Baby On Kerala Magazine Cover Has Internet Divided

A Malayalam magazine has drawn both praise and outrage for its cover showing a breastfeeding woman


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Malayalam magazine's cover sparks intense debate on social media
  2. Text reads: "Moms tell Kerala: stop staring, we need to breastfeed"
  3. Image part of campaign to stop shaming women breastfeeding in public
For two days, the cover of the very popular Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi has been the centre of debate on social media. The reason? A woman breastfeeding a baby is its cover photo. The magazine claims it is the first time an Indian publication has put the image of a woman breastfeeding on the front cover. The image is part of a campaign called "Breastfeed Freely," which aims to stop shaming women breastfeeding in public but the decision to use a model who is not a mother herself is a major point of contention among many netizens.

The magazine's March issue features a striking image of Dubai-based actor and model Gilu Joseph staring straight at the camera, with a baby at her breast. The text on the cover reads: "Mothers tell Kerala: please stop staring, we need to breastfeed."
 
Defending her decision to appear as a breastfeeding mother, Ms Joseph says breastfeeding in public often causes women to face discrimination and discomfort.

"Society doesn't provide an environment for women to breastfeed in public and feel safe while doing it," she says in a video posted on Facebook by Grihalakshmi. "It's a privilege mothers have - feeding their child - you don't have to be afraid or ashamed."

"I had no second thoughts about doing this shoot, despite being a woman who is not married and is not a mother," Ms Joseph adds. "It is for a good cause."
 
 
 


The cover has divided opinion on social media, with some calling the move "gimmicky."
    
But there has been an outpouring of support as well, including a thumbs up from UNICEF India.
       

Grihalakshmi's editor Moncy Joseph tells BBC the idea for the magazine cover came after the photo of a woman breastfeeding her child, posted on Facebook by her husband, went viral.

"A month ago, a man shared a picture of his wife breastfeeding on Facebook to start a conversation about letting mothers feed in public spaces. But the result was that the woman was subjected to cyber-bullying from both men and women," BBC quotes Ms Joseph as saying. "That is why we decided to dedicate our latest issue to breastfeeding mothers."

The magazine hopes the cover will continue a much-needed discussion around open breastfeeding. According to The NewsMinute, the magazine has even invited new mothers to share pictures of themselves breastfeeding their babies in public, promising to publish them in future editions of the magazine.
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