Breastfeeding Woman On Cover

Gilu Joseph

The viral cover of a Malayalam magazine, which showed a woman breastfeeding, is indecent, a lawyer in Kerala believes.

Advocate Nobel Mathew said he filed a complaint in the Kollam Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court against the magazine and the model-actress Gilu Joseph. Now, a criminal case has been filed against the magazine under Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986. Last year Australian MP Larissa Waters addressed the Parliament while breastfeeding her 14-week-old baby girl.

The hearing of the case has been fixed for March 16.

Mangalore local Dantis Joe Shaji said the magazine had challenged "the way people look at women" in a country that makes "sex, menstruation, breastfeeding and everything a taboo". Meanwhile advocate Jiyas Jamal of Aluva reportedly approached the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights against the actor and the publishers. In the past, celebrities have posted pictures of them breastfeeding on social media or posed for one.

Gilu Joseph told The Indian Express that she did not think twice before agreeing to be a part of the project.

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Various movements have been seeking to stop the sexualisation and subsequent moral policing of breastfeeding in public, and women's nipples in general.

While Vinod said the cover could "awaken sexual desires" and that the magazine had tried to "capitalise on the sexuality" of the model, the editor said the intention was "noble". "People would probably have no problems seeing graphic images of people getting killed in newspapers and television, but can not bear to see a woman bond with her child by feeding it", the 27-year-old actress told The Indian Express. She further added that there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding publicly, as it is all natural. The outrage was because the magazine used a model and not a real mother on its cover.

The cover, however, has evoked mixed response in the social media, with some calling it "unusually bold, ' while many others slamming the magazine for 'sexualising" the matter.

Joseph was also criticised for applying sindoor on her forehead as she is a Christian.

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