Watch: Model Gilu Joseph on the Breastfeeding Photo Controversy
“If you see a lady breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean we’re inviting you to stare at us,” says model Gilu Joseph.
Even if you see a lady, or a part of her body, that doesn’t mean we’re inviting you to stare. Or to be with us. We’re simply feeding the kid.Gilu Joseph, model and poet, to The Quint
Gilu Joseph found herself in the middle of a controversy in March 2018, when she posed as a breastfeeding mother for the cover of Mathrubhumi’s bi-weekly Grihalakshmi, with the text on the magazine cover stating, “Mothers tell Kerala: please stop staring, we need to breastfeed.”
Not one, but TWO citizens filed petitions against Grihalakshmi and Gilu Joseph, claiming that the cover photo was “obscene” and violated the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act as well as the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act.
The Kerala High Court dismissed the petitions in June 2018, stating, “As beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so does obscenity, perhaps.”
Gilu spoke to The Quint about her decision to appear on Grihalakshmi’s cover for their ‘Breastfeeding Freely’ campaign, her family life, and her career.
Grihalakshmi’s campaign was about believing in your own body, about believing in your own self. You don’t have to bother about what others think. It’s your body, and it’s your child. Women should be able to feed their children in public without fear.Gilu Joseph, model and poet, to The Quint
While Gilu told The Quint that she received immense support from her friends, Gilu was also targeted by a number of people who attempted to shame her for appearing on the magazine cover.
I didn’t have a second thought about appearing for the campaign, because I thought, how can somebody’s entire life change because of a picture, right?Gilu Joseph, model and poet, to The Quint
In her interview with The Quint, Joseph explains how she began her career as an air hostess, something she dreamed of since she was a child.
She goes on to explain how her life changed as time went on, and she moved from working as cabin crew to writing poetry, acting and more.
Camera: Syed Shiyaz Mirza
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