Kimberly Seals Allers doesn’t usually feel “sheer joy” when she sees a Gap advertisement. But that was her reaction when she saw the retail clothing chain’s recent Instagram ad featuring a mom breast-feeding her 20-month-old son.
That ad has gone viral, with more than 40,000 likes and 3,000 comments, and it features an African-American mom, all of which adds to Seals Allers’ satisfaction. Seals Allers, who owns a home in Bay Shore, is the author of “The Big Letdown: How Medicine, Big Business, and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding” and a woman of color.
Yvette Allen-Campbell of Valley Stream, co-author of “Black, Pregnant and Loving It: The Comprehensive Pregnancy Guide for Today’s Woman of Color,” says she also “absolutely loves” the ad. “It’s an image that consumers need to start accepting,” Allen-Campbell says of images featuring women breast-feeding in general. “The more we see these beautiful images, the more normalized it becomes in society. Hopefully in five, ten, twenty years, this wouldn’t create a flurry of commentary.”
Many of the comments on the Gap ad Instagram post echoed Seals Allers’ joy. “Utterly beautiful,” says one comment. Says another: “It’s a shame that this is so surprising to see, but finally . . . let it be the norm!”
The photo came about organically, model Adaora Akubilo told the Chicago Tribune. She was at the photo shoot with her son, and in one of the ad campaign shots she is just holding him. But she needed to take a break to nurse him. The photographer asked if it would be OK to take some shots, and one of those photos was used as well.
“It wasn’t planned or staged,” says Seals Allers, who had heard the back story. “It is actually a real moment in a black woman’s life.”