Have You Seen Enough of Jamie Grumet Yet?

Ugh. Can I just say that I am so tired of the Time magazine cover drama? I know. I know. I was a willing participant. However, I had no idea what I was stepping into. If I did, I may not have stepped there.

See, yesterday morning I got a Google alert that Time had published a series of articles on attachment parenting. One of them promised to address some of the scientific studies that AP advocates promote and I was particularly interested in reading these. This was long before the picture went viral and everybody started talking about it. There wasn’t any mention of a controversial cover. Yet.

I was pretty sure nobody reads Time anymore which is why I chose to comment on the cover when I saw it. Apparently, no one was reading Time which is exactly why the editors published it. It was like dumping gasoline all over a simmering fire and then throwing a match on it. We all know what you get. A hell of an explosion.

There’s a ton of other pictures of breastfeeding women that they took and could have used (thanks for the link, Meagan). But they didn’t. Because, let’s face it, if they had it wouldn’t have generated this response. There would be no reaction and a reaction is exactly what they wanted.  They certainly got it. The senior editor of Time was on the Today show this morning and I’m pretty sure it’s a spot he hasn’t been in for awhile. Meanwhile, all of the marketing executives and editors are high fiving each other backstage.

I am done debating this picture. I feel like I know her boobs almost as well as I know my own. If I see them one more time I might just put on my black tank top and see what Gus does if I stick a boob back in his mouth.

Remember KONY 2012? In a matter of hours we all became experts on child slavery and Uganda. We professed to be so concerned over these children. All of us. It went viral too. And then Jason Russell got naked on a street corner. I haven’t heard a word about child slavery in Uganda since. Apparently, we weren’t nearly as invested as we pretended to be.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit tired of being a lemming.

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40 Responses to Have You Seen Enough of Jamie Grumet Yet?

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh wow and yes!!! I just had to explain to my husband why I am sitting here laughing hysterically at the lemming and now
    he’s giving me that look lol, you know the my wife is crazy so I’m just going to nod like I get it look. But anyhow yes I am sure Time did this full well knowing the outcome and they aren’t new to controversy, this is probably the most play they’ve gotten since their last ingenious idea to cause chaos. Love the post!

  2. Carol says:

    Thank you so much for the lemming pledge! I think it can be applied to a lot of things in our digital lives!

    Apparently the economy is all better and we’ve solved the world’s problems if we have time to sit around and debate until we’re blue about how to breast feed. I’m more happy every day that I’m past the age of reproducing!

  3. Adore that lemming!!! There’s another different
    insult from that awful Time cover. “ARE YOU WOMAN ENOUGH” is insulting to those of us women who never wanted to have kids. I feel for the women who chose to be parents. They can never meet the criteria out there to be “Woman Enough”.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks, Marcia. I had to use it. Couldn’t help myself. Excellent point. What about all the women who are childless? Where does that leave them?

  4. Barnmaven says:

    People need drama. It sells magazines, movie tickets, t-shirts and books. It distracts us from our shitty lives and our decaying society. It gives us the momentary ability to feel we are important and our opinions matter. I mean, what would bloggers DO if we didn’t have THE DRAMAZ?


    I thought about writing a blog post on the TIME cover too, but I figured tens of thousands of people had already beaten me to it. In a few days someone will do something equally egregious and we’ll another shiny distraction to chase down.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Right? What would we do? I guess we’d just have to write about our shitty lives:)

  5. Thanks for commenting on my post. I do agree that we often get sucked into whatever the latest craze is. Except that’s not what this is for me. As I mentioned in my post, I don’t care about the article. I don’t even care that there’s a provocative picture on the cover. I care that there’s a little boy who is being hurt for the sake of drama and page views and a parenting movement that’s supposed to be about NOT hurting our kids. If you read my blog over time, you’ll see a similar thread about simply being thoughtful about the little people in our care and being kind to one another. In fact, it ties in closely to a piece I’ve been thinking about that explains why I don’t use my kids names on my blog. I had to cut that part because it was already too long. Anyway, I agree with your post. I hesitated to write what I did for fear that it would look like I was jumping on some random bandwagon. Except that I wasn’t willing to let it go. Sometimes, I guess looking like a lemming is what it takes to make a difference.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks, Christy. I’ll definitely be back to your blog. I think you should make sure to post that piece about why you don’t use your kids’ names on your blog. I’d love to read it.

  6. Pingback: Media Training: To Time, Jamie Grumet, Mashable and Lemmings Following Along | Techmamas - Curating the Best of Tech and Social Media for Families

  7. Natalie B says:

    I really want to leave a profound comment but I have nothing. Really I just wanted to tell you good job because this post sums up the whole controversy perfectly and effectively puts it to rest in the tiny corner of my mind where it resides. Hopefully tonight that space will be freed up for something better. :)
    P.S. I love the lemming too! I feel a certain inexplicable kinship to her….I can’t quite place it… 😉

  8. Aaron says:

    Hypocritical much?! You got taken in by the controversy, you rote about it – you’re STILL writing about it – and now you decide, hplier than thou, to make some sort of psychophilosophical statement about denouncing the whole thing, and why? Well, I’m not sure. Is it because you like feeling like you have an important angle, and realised your discussions were drowning in the sea of the millions of discussions being had about this? Or because you realised Time magazine had made a smart sales move by going for broke and using controversy to get it back in public discourse?

    Good on Time. More provocation, please. It makes us think. It makes us question the world. It makes us consider arguments we would not have been considering, otherwise. And we have just come through a period where America has come through falling back into such puritanical times – so threatened, and anxious, and hence huddling into christian collectivism where The Other becomes so terrifying – and most media and entertainment have been refraining from such tactics from fear of offending The American Way. I’m much more offended by censorship on this basis. So Time brings back shock value. GOOD. We need shock to sell. It means more will do it – because they can – because it’s a proven marketing model. We only get what is considered a proven marketing model. When you write your articles, decide what to write about, you’re conscious of what your audience wants – it’s not too dissimilar. Marketing is about giving people what they want, what “works”. I hope this works for Time, because it will set a precedent, and journalists and artists will once again be able to get different, provocative ideas through the boardroom – which has been very difficult of late.

    So what’s to criticise? This issue is a valid one – it’s presenting an alternative view that realistically wouldn’t have got anyone thinking if it were not for this cover. And even more fascinating is the way these provocative images trigger such subconscious reactions, you can view it the other way and peer into people’s core anxieties – such as the “this is child pornography!” and “this is child abuse!” cries, which perhaps say more about a society where, on the one hand, pop culture has become increasingly pedophilic, sexualising youth, and yet there is sch a denial of it, such a fear that we seem to suppress, that we project pedophilia onto an image like this, and lynch this -instead of the countless pop videos sexualising teenagers, or catwalks where 14 year old girls are made up and shown off as objects of desire. Or how about shaking up modern ideas of femininity and motherhood – the potential that feminism perhaps only bought into the sexism by degrading fundamental ideas valuing motherhood, now leaving us in a culture that is shocked to its core by images of motherhood that actually hark back to older days than showing a new way forward? There are so many layers and textures and arguments to come out of that image. It’s brilliant. Which is why it took you in – you couldn’t help but react.

    And now you’re denouncing your reaction?! Too late, my dear.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks for your comments, Aaron. I absolutely agree that I look like a hypocrite. There’s no doubt about that one. But as I say in the first line I really did not have any idea that the cover was going to become the media frenzy that it has become. I say “or I might not have stepped there.” And I meant it because I don’t like to get hooked so easily. And this time, I got hooked. Time got me. I think the issues contained within the article are extremely important and very valid. However, Time cares nothing of this issues. They just wanted back on the market. And it worked. They used woman’s issues to get there. And I helped them. I contributed to it. That’s what upsets me about my reaction.

      • Aaron says:

        But everything in media has to be marketable, everything in our world is marketed – if you’re going to not be hooked in by marketing approvals, then basically when you wake up, stay in your bed and don’t move beyond it, or eat, or use or do anything. They wanted to be controversial and so they took an article that was no doubt written sincerely enough, and thought “How can we make this pop?” and they decided to run with that picture, knowing it would cause a storm. But as long as you’re talking about the issues, so what?! It’s when we start talking about the marketing that things have gone astray 😉

        The message to them now is “Using socially controversial topics and putting them in people’s face to think about gets publicity”. THAT’S A GOOD THING! I’m sick of this American thing of not wanting anything different or thought-provoking “put in our faces”. PUT IT IN PEOPLE’S FACES, I say! Poke them. Make them think. Upset them. Give them something to talk about.

        And that HAS to sell, or it wouldn’t happen. Things that don’t sell don’t happen. The milk carton you’ll pour your milk from today was designed by a marketing team to arouse certain emotional responses so you’d pick it over the one next to it. The car you’ll drive. The newspaper you’ll read. The phone you use. All of it. Welcome to Capitalism. Things are designed to SELL. And that can suck – look at the movies they make these days, they fund only over-priced pieces of crap because the mainstream have become so dumbed down, you’d never get anything with substance through Hollywood anymore because crap SELLS. Same with TV, where news channels are now basically political propaganda because that’s an easy way to target your market. So we might as well hope that some cool things sell – so that they can exist – and if controversy of this kind sells, YAY.

      • Sylvia says:

        Marketing isn’t about people getting what they want. Marketing is about getting more money for the business who does the marketing. Look at everything they market for; do we really need 100’s pairs of shoes? Another cologne? What about the cheap junk they put in our food and then selling it with high profits through marketing? They don’t care about us, or our health. The company CEO’s bank accounts are what matter to them.

        This Time magazine article isn’t about breastfeeding, women or anything else, but profit for the CEO’s of Time magazine.
        Btw, I live in Europe and the Time covers here are sometimes very different from the US one. The US version never shows any criticism on the US.

    • Heather says:

      The problem is that the debate it instigated was the wrong one. The article should have been about introducing the idea of attachment parenting, and the pros/cons that people have experienced with it. It should have been about educating women on ideas/concepts that are not conventional, but may be a beneficial and legitimate choice for them. Instead, they put this defiant-looking mother, provocatively posed, intentionally making the situation look as extreme as possible, and then gave it a title meant to make other mothers feel as angry/defensive/outraged as possible.

      Nothing about the article’s content should be shocking, but TIME realized that this wouldn’t sell magazines.

      It’s a free country, people will eat it up, or they will recoil the other direction — that is freedom & that is capitalism. But personally, I want nothing to do with that kind of judgement and that “war”. The abrasive headline & shameless attention-grabbing photo have ensured that I will NOT be reading the article or purchasing the magazine, no matter how interesting or well-written the articles are.

      I have a feeling this is going to do LITTLE to help TIME’s bottom line. Most people seem to be, thankfully, seeing through the crap.

      • PiperB says:

        I agree. In addition, nobody even needs to purchase it. We are all discussing it based on the ludicrous cover. All I can think of is that poor child is about to face a future of torment from his peers. What is more humiliating to a school age child than this? Not that I am saying it should be; but it will.

        • Mommy Psychologist says:

          Thanks for your comments, Piper. A lot of people have expressed concern over how this will affect the boy as he’s older. Whatever people think about the cover and it’s implications, it doesn’t change the fact that this boy can’t really consent to being a part of it.

  9. sswwarr says:

    I have dozens of friends who breastfeed. If I stood one of their children on a chair and instructed the child to look at me as I snapped a photo of the child sucking on his/her mother’s breast and then posted the picture on Facebook … I believe I would be facing criminal charges.

    How Time Magazine has managed to get away with exploiting a child to sell magazines without any legal/criminal ramifications infuriates me. The senior editor’s spin about the controversy being about attachment parenting was structured to confuse people who would never imagine child pornography being displayed on the cover of the world’s most circulated weekly news magazine.

  10. I think you’re right that we’re all responding like a bull presented with a waving red flag. For me, it’s not about the outrage mafia or the cold-blooded manipulation that Time is taking part in. It’s about the fact that the “Mommy Wars” are alive and well in the media, and not many other places that I inhabit. I don’t judge other parents. I don’t get the impression that they judge me. So, I’m angry that Time and everyone else keeps provocatively trying to get me to say “That’s what bad mothering/fathering looks like!!!” I refuse. I don’t like the cover of the magazine because it’s asking me to judge. I don’t like the article because it’s presenting AP as if it were some sort of exotic specimen of insect that is both repellent and fascinating because it is so different from “normal life.” Mostly, I don’t like the sense from the media that people are so very very angry about things that are none of their business–like whether I breastfeed my son past age 2 or co-sleep with him. So, I don’t have a problem with expressing my outrage, because I’m not outraged at other parents, I’m outraged at the media for once again creating a huge deal when we all just want to raise our kids.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks for your comments, Emily. I couldn’t agree more.

    • PiperB says:

      No normal mother would feel less about themselves seeing this cover. If that is what the lady on the cover is aiming for. If anything, they would feel pity for her and her child; or disgust. It’s not like this isn’t a choice. Most people just choose the right one.

  11. ElectraDaddy says:

    If you haven’t seen the SNL “Really” skit that discusses this cover, you should. No matter what one thinks of the cover photo, SNL’s suggestion that TIME should have photoshopped out the chair is hilarious.


  12. Liz & Lisa says:

    Nice article and website!

  13. Kristina says:

    I do not feel that the time magazine picture is offensive. However, I do feel if they would have chosen one of the other other pictures they took, it may have decreased others negative reactions. I viewed the other pictures & they appear to be more of what we depict breatfeeding to look like. I actually read the article & I must say it was very well written & provided so much valuable information. According to Kellymom.com: In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
    29% of energy requirements
    43% of protein requirements
    36% of calcium requirements
    75% of vitamin A requirements
    76% of folate requirements
    94% of vitamin B12 requirements
    60% of vitamin C requirements
    I do not think it was meant to make parents’ feel inadequate or to make anyone angry. It really makes you think about your parenting style. I do not feel there is any correct way to parent a child, however there are areas that are researched to provide us with knowledge since there is no parenting bible out there to answer all of our questions! I am breastfeeding my 17 mo. old daughter & do not find anything wrong with it. It has become like seond nature to me & she has done so well, which is why I continue. She was breastfed exclusively for her 1st 12 mos. & now we give her some vitamin D milk along with her regular food. There are so many benefits to a child that I learned from reading all of the research, which motivated me to stick with it. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy in the beginning & at times, I though why am I doing this, but I kept telling myself this would work out. My daughter does not utilize a pacifier or suck her thumb/fingers. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read the article & review all of the parents’ thoughts/feelings on this controversial topic. I believe people should read this article & not let the picture on the cover deter them…give it a chance! I really felt enlightened after reading it 7 think that Dr. Bill Sears is a great Dr.!

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks, Kristina. I really wish they would have used one of the other photos as well. However, if they had, it wouldn’t have gotten so much attention which was the point. I read all the articles. If you read my original post, I actually read the articles before I stumbled across the cover. There are a series of articles written by AP advocates who present their case quite thoroughly. I would have liked to see a more balanced presentation of AP, but as far as breastfeeding goes, they did a good job demonstrating the benefits.

  14. Shalamaryne says:

    I’m concerned about the poor little boy. He’s 4 years old. Before this, not a single parent, teacher, kiddo in Pre-K would have had a clue…but now? As mean as children can be (even w/o the help of their self-righteous parents), this poor little boys has YEARS of taunting and jokes ahead of him. Mommy-Jamie may have felt the need to “be” whatever, but she didn’t stop to think what will be ahead, for her son, in the many years to come. Sad, sad, sad.

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Thanks, Shalamaryne. There’s been lots of similar concerns expressed about the boy. He was too young to give consent for the picture or even understand how it might impact him in the future. And as we know, kids can be SO mean to each other. And we live in a country, where it isn’t common to see a boy this old breastfeeding in that manner. It is irrelevant how we feel about extended breastfeeding in regard to what the consequences might be for him.

  15. brigitte says:

    I think it was great that Time used a picture that was enhancing the doubtful aspect of very extended breastfeeding. Attatchment parenting unfortunately is over zealous in the enhancing of funny practices veering to mystical wonders of a mother role. They also often support home births a risky practice mostly for the infant and sometimes the mother too. Unstable younger women with no critical thinking capacity are drawn to this realm unfortunately. This picture is a turn off fortunately. Lemmings reacting critically all fired up are great to keep the weak minded women from being too keen on that scene and may save many more babies from deaths or disabilities. The outcome is good regardless of the paper moguls intent re commercial sales. It’s a healthy human social attribute to be swept into voicing views where children are pawns to any parents personal indulgences becoming falsely rationalised. Be proud your buttons can be pushed as caring responsible mothers. It doesn’t hurt for mothers to be or to challenge child care treatments. Your child will be dealing with the other children, it will be their peers, future social environment so that’s why it matters what others do to their children. Plus intelligent sensitive mothers are capable of discerning what minor practices of eccentricity don’t matter enough to seriously sanction.
    Proud to be a lemming!

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