Case filed against Grihalakshmi, Gilu Joseph for breastfeeding cover

A complaint has also been lodged with the State Child Rights Commission.
Representative image of a pregnant woman
Representative image of a pregnant woman

Malayalam magazine Grihalakshmi, which has been in the eye of the storm for its cover which shows a woman breastfeeding in its latest issue, has now been slapped with a case.

The case has been filed at the Kollam CJM court by advocate Vinod Mathew against the publishers and the model Gilu Joseph, who was on the cover.

They have been charged under sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women Act, 1986. The case will be considered on March 16 for further hearing.

This comes a day after the Malayalam magazine’s cover, which was a campaign for open breastfeeding, sparked major outrage on social media. The outrage was because the magazine used a model and not a real mother on its cover.

Another advocate, Jiyas Jamal from Aluva, lodged a complaint with the State Child Rights Commission against Gilu, the publishers of Grihalakshmi and the parents of the baby who was featured.

“The March 2018 issue of Mathrubhumi Grihalakshmi, in its cover, uses a newborn baby to create a picture of a breastfeeding mother. An unmarried Jilu Joseph, who is an advertisement model, has posed as the mother who is breastfeeding the baby in the cover photo of the magazine. The model’s breast which is bereft of milk is stuffed into the child’s mouth and this is how the photo is captured. In this manner, the baby’s health and rights have been exploited. Using the child for commercial purposes is indeed a grave issue. Such incidents which attempt to commercialize motherhood and breastfeeding put the rights of newborn babies in danger. The cover, which tricked the baby into thinking that it the model is its mother and that it will get milk is an embarrassment to our society as a whole,” the complaint read.

Apart from this, several others took to social media to criticize the cover saying that it sexualized breasts.

Speaking to TNM, Moncy Joseph, the editor-in-chief of Grihalakshmi, responded to these allegations.

“We were planning to use a real mother for the cover. However, despite repeated attempts, we were unable to get a real mother to feature on the cover. However, there is a picture of a real mother breastfeeding inside the story. It was not an easy task. We finally had to get Gilu to pose for us, and she was more than happy to do so.

As for allegations about sexualizing the breast, I just want to say that people can look at it however they want to. Those intent on sexualizing the human body will only see the photograph in that manner. The problem does not lie with the photograph, it is purely in the mindset of the people,” he said. 

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