Does Breast-Feeding Sell Magazines?

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Time Magazine really swung for the fences with its May 21st cover. It's a bit of a jawdropper: Jamie Lynne Grumet, an attractive woman of 26, well dressed and smirking at the camera as her three-year-old child in camouflage cargo pants nurses on her left breast. We had to blink, rub our eyes, shake our heads and look again, not just because of the child-sucking-on-mother's-breast image but because the title above it did not say Newsweek. Over the course of the past year we've become used to Tina Brown, that other news magazine's editor, going to great extremes to stun—or troll—readers with her cover choices. There was the creepy zombie Princess Diana cover, the crazy-eyed Michelle Bachmann cover, the uncanny hipster Jesus cover? We stopped being surprised after a while! Now we can't figure out if Time is trolling their competitor Newsweek or trolling us.

Trollish or not, this week's PG-13 cover is selling a story by Kate Pickert about Dr. William Sears, aka, "The Man Who Remade Motherhood." According to Time's own blog, to find the cover-worthy image photographer Martin Schoeller took pictures of four families breastfeeding using images of the Madonna and baby Jesus as inspiration. Schoeller decided on the above image of Grumet and her son because it was, well, unique. "When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids," Schoeller says. "I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation." Starting on Friday, that uncommon situation will be on newsstands across America.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.