In America, we have what you might call a "problem" with boobs. See, the thing is, we don't know how to feel about them, exactly.
On the one hand, we're surrounded by hyper-sexualized images of women, chests heaving in décolletage-revealing attire, or, more titillating (yes, I said it), covered by nothing at all. This vast array of flesh—whether on the covers of magazines like Playboy or something more mixed-company-friendly, on the Internet, in the movies, on late night cable TV, or even in our own homes in human form—it does something to us. For women, maybe, there's a sense of arousal but also there's competition, comparisons, and taking action: breast implants, breast reductions, breast rejuvenating, the business of shapewear and clothing to boost the breasts' appeal, thereby boosting the appeal of those women to men. There may also be a sense of distaste, a concern over what all this breast-obsession is doing to women, a concern over exploitation, and even a concern over how to feel about one's breasts. For men, some of them anyway, it's more simply about... BOOBS. Maybe more, maybe less. These are generalizations, but just as we have generalizations about how we feel about boobs, there are generalizations of the boobs themselves. They embody that stereotypical madonna-whore relationship: On one side, sex; and on the other, motherhood and goodness and comfort and wholesome nurturing—but only up to a point, because sex takes over. It always does. Especially when the boys grow up.
The matter inflaming the Internet this Thursday is one of breasts. Particularly, a bare boob, tucked neatly into the mouth of a nearly 4-year-old boy (who looks, like his mom, a bit older than his printed age), on the cover of Time magazine. But the complications inherent in the topic of boobs, and how we view them, isn't anything new. It could be wisely argued, in fact, that that's exactly why there is a boob being suckled by a rather well-grown child on the cover of Time magazine, along with the tantalizing troll-worthy question "Are You Mom Enough?" For this is an article not about breasts but about motherhood, and that coverline is actually a question which parents have had quite enough of at this point. Like boob comparisons, how many competitive comparisons to other parenting models (French, American, helicopter, lax, bad, forever breast-feeding) will our society endure? Keep 'em coming, say the magazine and book editors.