'Elle' Editor Defends 'Wussing Out' With Breastfeeding Mom Cover

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Ever since Elle Australia put a breastfeeding mom on their cover, the magazine has sparked a storm of mixed reviews: While many praise the editors' efforts to normalize breastfeeding, some say they "wussed out" by showing the cover only on subscriber issues, while the newsstand version showed a tamer non-breastfeeding image. Well, Elle's editor in chief Justine Cullen has decided to speak up and defend her decision.


In a nutshell, she says, "In an ideal world no one would have an issue with seeing breastfeeding on the cover of a magazine. But it’s not an ideal world." The reality is, if they'd tried to distribute the breastfeeding cover on newsstands, many places may have refused to display it -- and the magazine would suffer a huge dent in sales.

Magazines aren't charities. So if they want to survive, they have to sell magazines. So, they aren't so much "wussing out," as just trying to run a business. So, that's why she felt putting the breastfeeding cover on subscriber issues only was a wise compromise.

And I totally agree with her point: I'd rather the magazine survive and continue pushing the envelope for women's rights, mom's rights, breastfeeding rights, and otherwise than get their magazine pulled from newsstands and go under -- because then, they wouldn't be able to push any envelope at all.

More from The Stir: 10 Magazines That Dared to Put Breastfeeding Moms on the Cover

And as much as I wish it were otherwise, Justine is right: Out there in the real world, the sight of breastfeeding is not always applauded. On social media sites, for instance, Facebook has had a long history of censoring breastfeeding pics from their pages and even today, Facebook's policy on these pics is clear as mud. 

On TV, Today host Hoda Kotb has called sharing breastfeeding photos "TMI." Meanwhile, out in the real world, moms get harrassed for breastfeed in public all. The. Time.

So yeah, the world can be a harsh place for breastfeeding moms -- so who are we to criticize anyone who makes any effort to normalize breastfeeding for not trying hard enough? To me, it's similar to how moms who nurse with a cover are often vilified --  yes, they're breastfeeding in public (good), but they're wearing a cover (bad). They're hypocrites! Well, not really: can't we just focus on the fact that she's nursing in public?

We need to defend people who are willing to at least try to normalize breastfeeding -- not tear them down.

Do you think Elle "wussed out" by relegating their breastfeeding cover to subscribers?


Images via Elle

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