A case has been filed against Malayalam actress Gilu Joseph and the Grihalakshmi magazine, whose latest cover shows the actress breastfeeding a child.
The case has been filed by advocate Vinod Mathew Wilson in the CJM court in Kollam in Kerala under Sections 3 and 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act of 1986. Hearing of the case is scheduled for March 16.
"It is completely a publicity stunt. It is an inducement to boost the sale of the magazine. She is not even the mother of the child. The aim of the magazine is just to induce people to buy it. It is not done for any genuine cause, but just for advertisement purpose," Wilson told International Business Times, India over the phone.
"The so-called campaign says that all men in Kerala stare at the ladies when they breastfeed their child. It is absolute nonsense. I admit a lot of crimes against women happen in Kerala, and I would have supported a campaign on those lines. But this campaign suggests all men in Kerala are perverts. This is a wrong message sent in a very indecent manner," he added.
Joseph and the magazine made headlines after the cover picture showing the actress breastfeeding a child went viral on social media. The idea behind the cover was apparently to make women believe that there is nothing to feel ashamed or afraid about breastfeeding their children in public.
While it was certainly a bold move on the part of the actress and Grihalakshmi magazine, it received mixed reactions from people. Many praised the concept and the actress for mustering the courage to come up with something so beautiful, while many others questioned and criticised them.
First, the thick line of vermillion on Joseph's forehead had people asking why the publication portrayed the actress as a Hindu woman when she is a Christian in real life.
Another point of criticism was that the publication should have taken a real mother with her own child on board for such a shoot, as according to them Joseph does not look like a woman who has just given birth.
And then there were some who found the cover outright indecent.
Joseph, meanwhile, said she found the project beautiful and at the same time powerful enough to break the patriarchal mindset in India.
"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," the Indian Express had quoted the Malayalam actress as saying.
She had also said that her family did not support her when she decided to take up the offer of the photo shoot, but she found it worthy, and she always does what she feels is right.
"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," she had said.
Gilu is not the only one from the Southern industry who took such a bold move. Earlier, another actress Kasturi Shankar had gone topless for a similar campaign, which aimed at celebrating the beauty of a woman during pregnancy, and post child-birth.