So by now you've heard the fanfare, you've seen the instantly-infamous cover of the latest TIME magazine: a 3-year-old boy, standing on a chair, suckling at his young mother's exposed breast.
Deliberately intended to shift copies and get people talking (including us!), TIME has succeeded at what it set out to do, and then some. Pointless sensationalism or a worthy conversation starter about the bennies of breastfeeding? Hard to say if the cover would have elicited the same response, had it featured a frumpy mummy instead of a pretty Californian blonde — 26-year-old mom Jamie Lynne Grumet — who has since been vaulted into the limelight, with appearances on the Today Show, alongside her guru, attachment parenting godfather, Dr. Bill Sears.
Grumet, though, claims she is only doing what feels natural, given her own experience of having been breastfed until the age of six because "my parents were really into nutrition." Needless to say, she sees nothing odd about having a grown boy hanging from her teet.
"It’s really warm," Grumet says in the article. "It’s like embracing your mother, like a hug. You feel comforted, nurtured and really, really loved. I had so much self-confidence as a child, and I know it’s from that. I never felt like she would ever leave me. I felt that security." She even nursed her adopted son simultaneously in November 2010, something she claims helped ease the 'trauma.'
"[There] are people who tell me they’re going to call social services on me or that it’s child molestation," she says. "But people have to realize this is biologically normal. It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it."
Sure, breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world to do. For babies. In North American culture, breasts are ultimately sexualized. Like it or not, that's is what's "socially normal" here.
What's the ideal cut-off for breastfeeding? When the child can speak in full sentences, or starts asking about (and noticing) the difference between male and female anatomy? Or should it be up to the child to decide when to wean?
She may seem like an odd choice for the lead role in the film What to Expect When You're Expecting, given that golden girl Cameron Diaz, at 39 years old, is unmarried and childless.
"I'm sure a lot of people would expect that I would have had a child by my age," says Diaz in the forthcoming issue of Redbook. "But it's not what I've wanted out of my life thus far. We still live in a largely chauvinistic world. There's a box people put themselves in, and when you [live] outside of it, that makes them uncomfortable — they have to look at themselves and question their own choices."
Even though the leading lady expected to be hitched with a couple of kids by age 21, life clearly had other plans for her. And Cameron isn't sitting around lamenting the fact that motherhood so far hasn't been part of her equation.
"My career was starting to take off and there were still so many things I wanted to do… So that dream [of motherhood] for me was shattered early on. After that I never put another time line on anything in my life."
Diaz is part of a growing breed of successful women who imagine that marriage and children will just happen one day. Then they wake up at 45 and realize, as this blogger so aptly put it, that "fertility is a window that closes." Ultimately not making a decision about having kids becomes the decision.
Still, there's a pointed difference between not choosing motherhood and motherhood not choosing you.
And although I may look at that photo of Diaz and the female cast in skimpy tennis whites and expensive tans, and pine a little for the days when I had the time and disposable income to look that good, the bigger, decidedly less bitchy part of me feels sorry for women whose chance at motherhood passed them by.
According to the New York Times, just 18 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 44 are childless. It's like being outside of an exclusive club, and finding you can't get in. So I imagine.
My tribulations as a mom thus far have been greater than I could have anticipated, but then again so has the love. That's something no mother second-guesses or regrets, ever.
Do you feel sorry for women like Diaz who've bypassed motherhood, whether intentionally or unintentionally?
It's not a scenario most of us envisage in our married life. A punk singer who's married with a 2-year-old is revealed he's transgendered.
Tom Gabel, frontman of Against Me! told Rolling Stone Magazine of his plans to "start living as a woman"—the first step of which will see Tom change his name to Laura Jane Grace.
"For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news," 31-year-old Gabel said of his wife, Heather. "But she's been super-amazing and understanding." The couple will remain married even as Gabel begins hormone therapy and electrolysis treatments, with a view to later undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Gabel's band members have been equally supportive, releasing this statement on tumblr:
"So Tom's gonna be Laura now... and in 2012 I still find people on the internet commenting on another persons life how they insult and condemn a person for his choices. How about the people who go through this and never find peace and end up committing suicide? Would you rather that? Or maybe he could become a raging drug addict and ruin his life and family? Would you rather that?"
Against Me! will begin touring with The Cult later this month.
While I applaud Gabel's bravery for opening up about his experience, and in doing so contributing to increased transgender acceptance, I feel for his wife. I mean, what a colossal mind f*ck!
Would you stand by your significant other if he/she came out of the closet, or is gender bending a deal-breaker?