Calicut: Mathrubhumi Group owned fortnightly Magazine ‘Grihalakshmi’ recently came out with their latest edition dated 1st March 2018 with cover photo featuring model, poet, writer and air hostess Gilu Joseph gazing at the reader with a gentle smile on her lips and an infant at her breast, with the caption “Mothers tell Kerala: Don’t stare, we want to breastfeed”.
The Cover photo shows Gilu Joseph wearing a blouse and sindoor. She is looking straight at the camera while one of her breasts is uncovered with a suckling baby on it. This image has gone viral on social media and sparked a controversy.
While it is attracting criticism for putting the ‘lascivious’photo of a woman on the cover, Other section of the people are batting in favour of the Magazine and the Model for their choice of cover, with some even calling it a historic first in the context of India, and even the beginning of a revolution to de-sexualise the act.
In a twist to this, Kerala based advocate Vinod Mathew Wilson has filed a case against Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi accusing that the picture is ‘lascivious’ in nature, and that it appeals “to prurient interests and tends to degrade the dignity of womanhood.”that amounts to comitting offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
Sources reveal that a criminal case under the Indecent Representation of Women Act has been filed on Friday aginst the Malayalam women’s magazine Grihalakshmi. The criminal complaint has been filed in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate at Kollam.
The magazine’s campaign ‘Breastfeed freely’ is a part of its International Women’s Day celebrations and was inspired by a 23-year-old mother Amritha U, whose photo of feeding her child went viral on the Internet in January this year, after her husband A B Biju shared it on Facebook.
The cover has received mix responses on social media. Users have criticised the magazine for trying to titillate audiences by presenting the model in such an ‘exposed manner’. “It is a cheap publicity stunt,” wrote one Facebook user. One male user asserted that he could not find any difference between this cover and “a seducing photo of an indian woman”. Another male user insisted that mothers should “cover themselves up” while feeding their children. A third insisted that ‘kaliyug’ has descended upon humanity, because she chose to pose like this. A fourth insisted that this is not how mothers breastfeed their children.