India has found a new reason to be angry, upset and vocal about. A model has done a bold photoshoot and like always, she is being trolled by the minute. The victim this time is Malayalam model, poet, writer and air hostess Gilu Joseph, who has shot a magazine cover, where she is seen breastfeeding a baby. For the Malayalam fortnightly magazine Grihalakshmi, the model dared to bare and promote breastfeeding in public. The March 2018 issue comes with the tagline, “Don’t stare, we are #breastfeeding!” The issue aims at making people aware about the importance of breastfeeding, and the taboos revolving around it.
There have been enough cases where women breastfeeding in public have been looked down upon, made to feel shameful or are seen in sexualised context. There have been enough and more campaigns in the west regarding the ‘normalcy’ of a mother feeding her baby in public. However, the point hasn’t hit home as yet.
“Don’t stare, we are #breastfeeding!”
The model and the magazine got trolled for their campaign ‘Breastfeed freely’ as part of their International Women’s Day celebrations. The biggest negative feedback that they received is for getting a model to do the shoot and making her look picture perfect while doing so, focusing in the “aesthetic appeal” instead of realistic representation. However, it had some supporters as well who reasoned out that attaching words like ‘sexualising’ and ‘titillating’ to the photoshoot defeats the whole point of the magazine trying to de-sexualise breastfeeding in public.
More than anything else, what this photoshoot has done is spark off a much needed conversation about breastfeeding your baby, fearlessly, no matter where you are. Women being made to feel ashamed for doing so need to stop. Interestingly, this is not the first time an Indian model received flak for talking about breastfeeding and sharing a picture while doing so. Lisa Haydon had shared a picture of her feeding baby Zack and she received so many negative comments that she had to delete the option from her instagram post.
As the day progresses, the viral photoshoot by Gilu Joseph is getting many supporters and we hope it continues since that’s what Indian mentality exactly needs. Attaching any kind of sexual context to women who are breastfeeding their kids is nothing but a very very sick thought process.