Nicole Trunfio appears on the cover of the Australian edition of ELLE, looking completely majestic as she breastfeeds her baby boy.
Trunfio, an Australian model, and her boyfriend, Gary Clark, Jr., welcomed their first child, a boy they named Zion, in January. The subscriber edition of Australian ELLE‘s June issue features the mom-and-baby pair as she nurses her son in supermodel splendor on the front cover.
She posted the cover on her Facebook page, and as expected, there were tons of praise heaped upon her as well as plenty of criticism. Some of the same tired, old arguments were present, such as the following comment:
“Yes, breastfeeding is natural..but I believe in a bit of modesty, why does it need to be done in public! I breastfed 2 babies, one for 11mths, but managed this without the need to show off my boobs in public!”
This is a tired, old argument, because as every breastfeeding mama knows, you don’t breastfeed in public because you’re a show-off, an exhibitionist or because you somehow find it sexually gratifying — you breastfeed in public because your kid is hungry, and in most places, you’re legally allowed to. If you don’t want to nurse your kid when you’re out and about, nobody is making you, but that doesn’t mean that nobody can.
However, the cover brought up other things people were worried about for some reason, such as this Facebook comment attested to:
“I an pro breastfeeding but this is not reality. If you want reality put a tired mamma, bags under eyes, no makeup, hair mess on front cover. If anything this is trying to promote breastfeeding as sexy?”
Most people know that this cover doesn’t indicate how Trunfio really sits around and nurses her baby (she indicates so in her comment). Also, magazine covers are pieces of art and are rarely slices of “real life.” Putting a nursing model on the cover of a fashion magazine doesn’t sexualize breastfeeding any more than any other posed breastfeeding shot does (these don’t either). Trunfio is a real mom; she just happens to work as a model.
Breastfeeding has been a subject of artistic endeavors since humans started being arty. You only have to look back through the scads of drawings, paintings and statues over the course of human history to see the act of breastfeeding depicted in an artistic manner. Sometimes nursing moms are shown in a realistic light, but many times they capture the dreamy wonder of the precious, irreplaceable moments when a woman is nursing her child.
That’s what this is. A gorgeous photo of a real mother nursing her kid on the job. This doesn’t minimize regular nursing moms like you and me, it doesn’t mean that all breastfeeding moms should look like this, it doesn’t mean she’s showing off her boobs, and it doesn’t make breastfeeding sexy — it just shows breastfeeding, and that’s beautiful.