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Complaint filed against Grihalakshmi magazine for featuring breastfeeding model on its cover page

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Thiruvananthapuram: Complaints have been filed before a Kollam court and the Kerala State Child Rights Commission against a Malayalam fortnightly magazine for featuring a model breastfeeding a baby on its cover page.

Also cited in the complaint is model-actress Gilu Joseph who features on the cover of the latest edition of ‘Grihalakshmi,’ a sister publication of ‘Mathrubhumi’. Joseph, also an air-hostess, is seen feeding the child without covering her breasts as part of a campaign to end the stigma attached to it, igniting a massive debate.

The magazine has also thrown a ‘challenge’ urging women to send pictures of them breastfeeding children as part of ‘breastfeed freely’ campaign. Besides the model, the magazine also carries the photos of Amritha, a 23-year-old Keralite homemaker breastfeeding her one-and-a-half-month-old daughter in a similar fashion. In January, Amritha’s husband Biju, in his Facebook page, had shared a photo of her breastfeeding their child, urging the society to end the stigma attached to open breastfeeding.

The magazine drew inspiration from the couple’s bold act to launch the unique campaign. In the article, titled ‘Don’t stare, we want to breastfeed’, the magazine also quotes a number of women from various walks of life, including professionals and homemakers. It also carries a detailed article by award-winning writer Indu Menon in this regard.

Joseph, 27, said she dedicated the pictures to all mothers who are “longing” to breastfeed their children freely and with pride. “I will happily accept and celebrate all the possible criticism which would come in the name of this campaign and the pictures,” she said.

The model said though she was neither married nor had children, she had no hesitation in accepting the assignment for the cover-shoot when she got a call from Grihalakshmi. Joseph said she was pretty sure that what she was doing was not wrong.

‘‘Every mother should celebrate motherhood. When I was called for the shoot, I had no hesitation. Do you think unmarried women cannot pose for breastfeeding shoots,” she asked. The cover-shoot and the campaign have triggered a raging debate on social media. Writer and activist Rahul Easwar described the magazine’s attempt as a ‘commercial gimmick’ in the name of breastfeeding.

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