Two Posts I’m Not Going to Write

It is a constant bloggerly temptation to feel that I have to weigh in on every news story that either 1) has to do with one of my core topics (parenting, disability, ethics, faith) or 2) I feel strongly about. (This is part of what I was writing about in my post about the “Tyranny of the News Hook,” which was recently reposted on the Redbud Writers Guild blog).

This past week’s temptations have included President Obama’s laudable decision to speak out in support of same-sex marriage rights in light of North Carolina’s vote to ban such marriages via Constitutional amendment, and Time magazine’s shameful decision to run a stupidly provocative cover photo and tagline for an article on modern motherhood and the “attachment parenting” movement.*

Instead of adding my voice to the cacophony of voices concerning both of these news hooks, though, I’m going to just link to other writers who have already said what needs to be said.

Huffington Post writer Lisa Belkin on the Time magazine cover: “No, I am Not Mom Enough”

Blogger Sarah Bessey, writing at A Deeper Story, on “I am an evangelical Christian. And I think same-sex marriage should be legal.”

And finally, blogger Justin Lee (Christian, gay, from North Carolina) weighed in with an excellent post reminding opponents of that state’s Amendment One not to assume that his fellow statespeople who passed it are all evil bigots. Although I was dismayed by the amendment’s passage, I was equally dismayed by all the flippant Facebook posts to the effect of, “What else can you expect from those closed-minded Southern bumpkins?” (My husband is a North Carolinian, and we are always amazed that otherwise enlightened Northerners will readily propagate the silliest, most inaccurate, and offensive stereotypes of Southerners….frequently when my husband is standing right there. And they know he is a Southerner. C’mon people.)

Yes. Yes. And yes.


* I feel a need to clarify why I have such a problem with this magazine cover, because there seems to be some misunderstanding out there. I have no opinion on how long mothers choose to breastfeed. To each her own, I say. My problem with the cover is not that I think it’s awful for a three-year-old to be nursing. But I do think it’s awful for a three-year-old to be nursing on a magazine cover that is clearly designed to provoke and titillate, and worst of all, to do those things by issuing a war cry (“Are you mom enough?”) for a war that pretty much only exists in the minds of journalists and bloggers looking for page views. So Time should be ashamed of this cover, not because it shows a bare breast and a toddler feeding from it, but because it used that breast, the woman to whom it belongs, and that child as objects to promote the damaging fallacy that today’s moms are primarily concerned with proving to each other that our way of mothering is the best way. (And now, of course, Ive just commented on the very thing I said I wouldn’t comment on. Sigh.)




Believing with Our Bodies
Why Even the Smallest Good Work is Worth Doing
Why “What Would Jesus Do?” Isn’t Exactly the Right Question
Rethinking Margaret Sanger, Contraception, & How We are All a Moral “Mixed Bag”
About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • fran

    Belkin’s post got at the heart of my issue with the cover–breastfeeding is so much more complicated an issue than just whipping out a breast and stuffing it in your child’s mouth. When mothers cannot (as I was unable to, with both children) or choose not to (as many successful and wonderful mothers have done, including my own mother) breastfeed, just as mothers who choose to breastfeed past the point when a child is receiving most of her calories from solid foods, these are difficult decisions and are seldom made lightly. Contrary to their slogan, I AM MOM ENOUGH.

  • Tim

    I’m all for breastfeeding as long as mother and child desire, but I wonder about that poor kid on the Time cover. Unlike photos of newborns nursing, he’s old enough that his friends will be able to recognize him in the photo even as the years pass (and with everything preserved forever on the internet, they’ll see it). The way he’s staring at the camera is a bit alarming to me, too. I can just imagine the comments from kids in school in a few years. Poor guy.


  • Terry Wysong

    I agree with Tim. TIME exploited this child.

  • Mary Caler

    I’m really hoping this picture was photo-shopped.

  • Taffy Wilcox

    “provoke and titillate” great choice of words, Ellen