Popular Malayalam magazine, Grihalakshmi, recently published a controversial cover image which featured Malayalam actor-model Gilu Joseph breastfeeding a baby. The intention was to break the stereotypes around breastfeeding in open public and to bring awareness amongst people about breastfeeding their babies. While the campaign has been lauded by many, it has also drawn flak from some. Nobel Mathew, an advocate in Kollam, Kerala, has now filed a legal case against the Magazine for featuring the image. Though the complaints have been filed before a Kollam court and the Kerala State Child Rights Commission only against the Malayalam fortnightly magazine, Gilu Joseph is also being criticised for her decision to embrace a natural thing.
The case against Grihalakshmi, a sister publication of leading media group Mathrubhumi, has been posted for hearing on March 16. "The case was filed yesterday before the CJM Kollam for offence under sects 3 and 4 of Indecent Representation of Women Act," Mathew told PTI.
Joint Managing Director of Mathrubumi group M V Shreyams Kumar has said that it was done for cheap publicity.
In an article, titled 'Don't stare, we want to breastfeed', the women's magazine also quotes a number of women from various social strata including professionals and housewives. The magazine has also urged women to send pictures of them breastfeeding children as a part of its 'breastfeed freely' campaign.
"I will happily accept and celebrate all the possible criticism which would come in the name of this campaign and the pictures," Gilu Joseph said.
"Every mother should celebrate their motherhood. When I was called for the shoot, I had no hesitation. Do you think unmarried women cannot pose for breastfeeding shoots," she added.
“I have only done things that I have believed is right for me. I must have failed, but I have no regrets. Women should breastfeed freely, without any sense of fear or inhibition and that is my message in the article too, but people began criticising even without reading what I had to say,” Gilu Joseph told The Indian Express.
Gilu Joseph had to fight a lot to do this as the initial criticism came from her mother and sister. “I am extremely proud of my body and only I exercise rights over it. I only do things that I think is right for me, which is why I had no qualms in taking up this project,” Gilu Joseph told a magazine in an interview.
There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby in public, which is often viewed sexually. “It is a problem to interpret this sexually. Isn’t it a beautiful thing, friends? Why do you think it is wrong? Which god will be angry if you feed your child,” Gilu was quoted as saying by the magazine.
Gilu Joseph is an air-hostess by profession and has also performed in films like Nonsense, Abrahaminte Santhathigal and Parole.