In this corner, we have 26-year-old hot blonde stay-at-home mom Jamie Lynne Grumet of Los Angeles in a staged breastfeeding of her relatively mature-looking three-year-old son on the 21 May 2012 issue of Time magazine. The mother-son photo is for a feature on “attachment parenting.” Grumet claims that she was breast-fed until age 6 and that she is regularly harassed for breastfeeding her toddler by strangers who threaten “to call social services on me or that it’s child molestation.” The general habit in America for about three-quarters of U.S. mothers is to breast-feed during the baby’s first six months up to a year. Do you find this photo offensive, or do you just accept that magazines need to use provocative photos to sell copies? Does it make any difference how the photo is set up with the son eyeballing the camera and not his mother? Do her model good looks sexualize the breastfeeding experience for the viewer?
Battle of the Magazine Covers (Time vs. Newsweek)
And in the other corner we have the 21 May 2012 issue of Newsweek, not to be outdone by Time. Newsweek’s editor Tina Brown tweeted the following: “Obama’s earned every stripe in this haloed rainbow.” First gay president? Once again, is this just not the battle of the provocative magazine covers? President Bill Clinton was once referred to by some as the “first black president” for his generous support of and by African-Americans. What do you think of these covers? In the Obama photo, is he truly deserving of a halo? If you read the news coverage this past week (May 7-12), the U.S. population is quite split in public opinion about support for gays and lesbians to marry. Faith-based religious organizations are also divided and black church leaders are conflicted about Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage. This American values issue of what supporters call marriage equality may become a defining and dividing issue in the fall election but it’s too soon to tell. One major foreign policy crisis will change everything and most polls suggest that Americans are still most concerned with economics over lifestyle values.
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As for your first question, I think this is a little too offensive but, taking the situation of editor, I think I should accept this provocative covers. Because it’s the job of editors to sell more magazines and this attachment parenting photo will be able to compete with the photo of Obama for sure. Provocative or eccentric things that people wouldn’t normally see tend to attract people. Next question, I think it makes much difference because the direction of the eyeball can change the photo, whether it is the lovely photo of mother breast-feeding son or the photo sort of pornographic. In the photo of mother breastfeeding son that we often see, they look into the eyes each other smiling pleasantly. However, in the TIME magazine caver, both the mother and the son are looking to us slightly smiling meaningfully. They even look like they show are showing off what they are doing. In the usual porno photo, I see often the young girl staring toward us. I think the TIME magazine cover looks provocative because the mother and the son are not looking to each other and smiling pleasantly. Finally, I think this woman model looks to sexualize the breast feeding experience for the viewer. As I mentioned above, the direction of the eyeball does make a lot of difference. Not only she is looking to us smiling meaningfully, but also she poses stylishly. In my opinion, this breast beefing cover will never be accepted in Japan as a journal magazine. In Japan many people feel uncomfortable to anything extreme, so I think the TIME cover photo like this will absolutely be criticized.
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The covers of the two magazines are using provocative photos, yet they are great attention catchers. I understand how some people may view them as offensive, and I may be one of them, but these photos actually interest me.
I think both of the articles are very controversial, but the Newsweek magazine just seems like it is ridiculing President Obama to catch readers’ attention. “The First Gay President” and the halo on his head are contradictory, therefore it will get both supporters and opponents to read. Handling recent topics surely will raise magazine sales.
First, the cover of Time magazine may seemingly look strange because of the contrast between the majestic pose of the mother and the completely innocent look of the toddler. By this cover, some mothers may be on notice that the responsibility of children depends on their own acts. Therefore, I think that the impressions of this cover vary according to how important American viewers think “attachment parenting” is. Three-quarters of U.S. mothers who breast-feed during the baby’s first six months may take offense to it; on the other hand, the cover might look suitable for the rest of the mothers.
In my opinion, I just accept that magazines need to use such provocative photos to sell copies, although that may be because there are fewer magazines which have such purposefully conspicuous covers in Japan than in America, I think, at least, that such photos or copies have motivational power for readers to think for or against the topic. As for this cover of Time, I think it functions as a message that “attachment parenting” is still important for children though they seem to have grown up enough.
I think this cover of the Newsweek magazine embodies how strong a power media possess over creating public sentiments. The rainbow-colored halo over President Obama’s head reminds me of Jesus Christ but looks too phony at the same time. What is more, the magazine implies that he has promised an official policy to support gays and lesbians when all he did was to say his own personal opinion. The way the copy is written may trick people into thinking that he is fully for same-sex marriages, only to disappoint upon finding he has not actually done much of anything practical yet. (They may see it as a treachery if they agree with such relationships and as a dodging if they disagree). From these two points, I get the impression that the magazine may be making fun of the president as unpromising.