Olivia Wilde, actress, director, screenwriter and producer, was recently photographed for an article in Glamour magazine breastfeeding her baby. The new mother gave birth to her first child, with actor Jason Sudeikis, on April 20th, 2014. She has since become an advocate for breastfeeding and said the photo shoot felt completely natural to her.
The photos taken of the American actress include a cover photo of her in a pink dress and a photo spread, which includes photos of the actress in several high fashion outfits. The photo that is causing so much media attention is one of her sitting in a booth at a retro diner, wearing a Robert Cavalli embellished dress, while breastfeeding her 3-month-old son.
When asked about being shot breastfeeding, the new mother said, “Being shot with Otis is so perfect because any portrait of me right now isn’t complete without my identity as a mother being a part of that.” Wilde added that she felt as if her baby “should always be on my breast.”
Women, who were asked how they felt about the piece, said that the photos gave an accurate depiction of the balancing act a working, breastfeeding mother, has to endure. However, they were annoyed by the “unrealistic” photos.
It was irritating to them that Wilde was wearing such an expensive gown while breastfeeding her son, who was also not wearing a diaper. The Robert Cavalli gown, they felt, was not something most women would wear while breastfeeding, or could even afford.
In a Time magazine article, Charlotte Alter stated, “It’s worth noting that it’s much easier to breastfeed if you’re a well-paid actress, but much harder for working moms in low-income jobs.”
When asked if the actress was nervous about the way motherhood would effect her career, Wilde said, “No, because of the example of my mom…That inspired me when I was pregnant. I wasn’t going to sacrifice myself because I was becoming a mother.”
Some women criticized that statement. They felt it was a lot easier for a well paid actress to pay someone to care for her infant child while she pursues her career, than it is for the average working mother.
There were also women who felt the article painted an unrealistic picture of what a working woman “should” be able to accomplish. One of the women interviewed said, “I guess I just feel like it gives us all another unattainable standard, but that’s nothing new.” The women realized this was not the actress’s intention and she was likely trying to inspire women to embrace motherhood, while not giving up parts of themselves they feel are important, like their careers.
Wilde is an avid supporter of breast feeding. She recently appeared at a UN Global Moms event and made a statement on Twitter thanking Glamour for “knowing there’s nothing indecent about feeding a hungry baby.” The article was released during World Breastfeeding Week, which is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Olivia Wilde’s article in Glamour does promote breastfeeding, even if all women do not agree that her photos personify the average breastfeeding mother.
By Amy Gilmore