Outspoken actress Kasturi Shankar has thrown her weight behind Gilu Joseph, who has come under attack from a section of people for her breastfeeding cover photo for a Malayalam magazine.
In an article Kasturi wrote for the Times of India, she extended her support to Gilu Joseph and countered the objections to the photoshoot, besides slamming the sexualizing of the human body.
The article, titled 'A tale of two titties...', has Kasturi Shankar wondering how the depiction of motherhood can sexually arouse a person when the child is satisfying its hunger. "I guess when you look down from a testosterone-driven moral highground, the top angle view of any pair of breasts can be quite prurient!" she wrote.
Malayalam fortnightly Grihalakshmi had come out with a cover photo in which writer, model and poet Gilu Joseph was seen breastfeeding a baby and delivering the message: "Mothers tell Kerala, 'please don't stare, we need to breastfeed'".
It was aimed at encouraging women to breastfeed in public without inhibitions.
Kasturi Shankar argued in her article that people would not remember passionate kissing upon looking at the lips of a person, and asked why breasts are singled out for sexualization!
"Yes, breasts are sexy, but only in context. The female body is sexy, but only in context. In fact, even in that context, they pale when compared to lips or fingers. Every time one looks at someone's lips, one doesn't see mental images of passionate kissing, fingers are not considered play toys, so why malign breasts to sexual slavery?"
The 43-year-old also called out to men who have no issues in peeing and displaying their private parts in public but cannot stand the sight of a baby suckling the breast to fill its stomach.
"Babies don't get aroused or offended by seeing a breast. They get hungry. A hungry baby needs to be nursed immediately, openly, right away," she wrote.
Kasturi is of the view that a woman should not be forced to feed her baby in a bathroom or under a protective layer. A mother should be able to feed an infant freely in public and in a hygienic place as it is the baby's right to be fed when it is hungry.
On people calling the campaign a publicity stunt, the Abhirami actress said she has no issues even if it is a "gimmick" as it has paved the way for a long-pending debate on the issue. She said she hopes real mothers will take part in the campaign.
It may be recalled that Kasturi did a similar shoot for "A Beautiful Body Project: The Bodies of Mothers," shot by renowned photographer Jade Beall.