Is there something inherently hypocritical about the cover story in the new issue of W, which depicts a breast-feeding Angelina Jolie on its cover? The cover line accompanying the image promises exclusive “private photos,” which apparently have been snapped by her baby daddy, Brad Pitt. Not surprisingly, the reaction to the photo has been mixed with some people lauding Brangelina for being open about breast feeding, something still considered taboo in our nation’s more puritanical circles, while others are crying foul that the “private” moments have been sold to the highest bidder and put on a national magazine cover – the inherent hypocrisy mentioned earlier.
I’m typically one to cry, “Sellout!” pretty early with stuff like this, but this particular case made me think twice. Not only does the beautiful, natural photo of mommy and baby help dispel the antiquated notion that breast feeding is anything to be ashamed of, it’s also a case of an extremely famous celebrity couple taking control of their own image and spinning it in a positive way. I first thought about this last summer, when Pitt and Jolie sold the first photos of themselves with their babies to People magazine and the British tabloid Hello! for $14 million and gave the money to charity. Why let some stranger/stalker cash in on your own “private moments” and plaster photos all over the Internet that you have no control over?
In the same way, Pitt and Jolie (who caused a stir once before by simply wearing a visible white nursing bra underneath her tank top on the cover of People after the birth of daughter Shiloh, now 2 years old) have now decided to share some tasteful, intimate photos of mommy breast-feeding her baby – and given their history of doing these shoots, it’s likely they will again donate the cash to a charitable cause. Not only does this allow them to promote the beauty and elegance of a mother breast-feeding her newborn child, it also helps feed the public’s hunger for images of celebrity “private” moments with a classy, tasteful alternative to all the crotch shots, nip slips, and WTF celebrity shots littering sites like Perez or TMZ.
So what of these “private” public photos, PopWatchers? Do you think Pitt and Jolie are hypocrites or simply deciding what candid moments to share? Do you think it’s a boost for breast feeding, or just a way to help promote Jolie’s new movie, Changeling?