Grihalakshmi magazine was taken to court for putting a breastfeeding woman on the cover. They won


Grihalakshmi magazine was taken to court for putting a breastfeeding woman on the cover. They won

And neither should you

By ELLE team  June 22nd, 2018

In an interesting turn of events, it seems like the country isn’t regressing faster than the speed of light. There are angels (read: intelligent and unbiased human beings) who believe no body part or natural act of motherhood is to be shamed. Case in point — Grihalakshmi, a Malayalam magazine, who featured a woman breastfeeding a baby on its cover. The caption alongside it read: “Moms tell Kerala — don’t stare, we want to breastfeed.”

While some called it a bold move, others called it a gimmick to attract eyeballs, but a man called Felix M.A. felt it was neither. According to Live Law, he proceeded to file a case on the magazine, claiming the cover violated provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Rules; Section 45 of the Juvenile Justice Act; the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, and Article 39(e) and (f) of the Constitution of India.

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Picture courtesy: Grihalakshmi

But the Kerala High Court wasn’t having any of it. Not only did the bench (comprising of Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu) reject the case, but they also stated that “shocking one’s morals” is an “elusive concept”, and that “one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric.”

They continued, “We do not see, despite our best efforts, obscenity in the picture, nor do we find anything objectionable in the caption, for men. We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. As the beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity, perhaps….”

“Even the sections relied on by Felix (the petitioner) fail to convince us that the respondent publishers have committed any offence, much less a cardinal one, affecting the Society’s moral fabric, and offending its sensibilities,” Live Law quoted the bench as saying.

We hope this move trashes the stigma attached to breastfeeding in public.

8 celebrities who will not be shamed for breastfeeding in public:

Mayim Bialik

Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik pointed out in an interview to The Huffington Post that people who are offended by the sight of a mother breastfeeding her child are a symptom of our culture’s "very, very bizarre relationship with breasts" and that "(Breastfeeding) is not a sexual act at all".

Mila Kunis

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Mila Kunis argued that women should be allowed to breastfeed their babies whenever and wherever they want without being judged. The Bad Moms star revealed that she used to receive glares whenever she nursed her daughter in a public space. “It always made my husband and I feel a little weird,” she admits. “It took us aback because people actually looked at us in a shameful [way], and we were like, ‘Oh my God,’ because it’s so not a sexual act,” she said, “In our culture, we sexualize the breast so much that there’s an aspect of it that people just don’t know how to wrap their head around the idea of showing your breast in public. But I respect the opinions on both sides. If it’s not for you, don’t look.”

Gisele Bündchen

Gisele Bundchen created a stir when she shared a photo of her glam squad getting her ready while she breastfed her baby. The photo was picked to pieces by a majority of people expressing outrage at how the model could display something so private on a social media platform. Gisele let the haters talk and continued to do her own thing.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde posed for a shoot in Glamour magazine while breastfeeding her baby and faced intense backlash for it. In an interview with The Huffington Post, the actress expressed her disbelief at the fact that people would think that it’s obscene to nurse your own baby, “I was shocked that there were still people who find it inappropriate because they think it’s a sexual thing,” she added, "During that day my son had to eat, and so I had to feed him. If you’re taking a portrait of me, this is part of me."

But she was also pleased by the effect the controversy had in empowering women to shed the stigma of breastfeeding in public. “The coolest thing to come out of that [picture] was all these women who took pictures of themselves breastfeeding in public and tweeted them to me and to the world," she said, "I thought that was really great, and so I was happy to just encourage their awesome movement."

Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi has never been shy to support the cause of normalizing breastfeeding in public. She recently shared a photo of herself breastfeeding her baby. Last year, she shared a photo of herself getting ready while nursing her baby as a ‘shoutout to working moms everywhere’.

Candice Swanepoel

Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel confessed to being comfortable with nudity for the countless campaigns and photoshoots she has posed for, but now that she is a mother, she feels the need to cover up while feeding her child. She took to Instagram to post a picture of her nursing her baby. "Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children," she wrote, "I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I've done in the name of art..?"

Pink

Pink has been a long-time advocate of normalizing breastfeeding in public. She recently posted this picture on Instagram with the caption, “Hiking makes us thirsty! #NormalizeBreastfeedingYo”. A year ago, Pink had posted a picture of her nursing her child on Instagram, saying, "In honor of #nationalbreastfeedingweek2016 I proudly post this photo of a very HEALTHY, NATURAL act between mother and child. Taken in Helsinki by a very supportive and proud Papa." Even though she got a lot of support and appreciation from her fans, there were some critics who accused her of ‘oversharing’. 

Salma Hayek

In a segment on late-night news program Nightline, a clip of Salma Hayek’s goodwill trip to Sierra Leone was aired where she was shown breastfeeding another woman’s child. Addressing the controversy that arose after the segment, the actress revealed that it is a common practice in the country for women not to breastfeed their babies. The new mothers are under pressure from their husbands as it’s considered taboo to have sexual relations with a nursing woman. This has led to a widespread increase in infant mortality rates due to malnutrition. Hayek said her decision to breastfeed another woman's child was an attempt to diminish the stigma placed on women for breast feeding.