Why The Portrait of Rachel McAdams Pumping Breastmilk in Versace Matters to Moms

I might never look like that photo. I might be sitting in sweatpants with my messy bun and a spit up filled shirt, but I want to imagine myself as her. I want to know that it’s conceivable for a woman like me to be viewed in that way. 
Barry King/Getty Images

December 20, 2018

Close your eyes and picture a breastfeeding mom. What did you come up with? Was it a red-lipped, smokey-eyed Rachel McAdams wearing Versace? Because going forward, I hope it will be. I’m willing to bet the typical look that people conjure up of a breastfeeding mom is a messy mom bun, sweatpants, remote in hand, bleary-eyed, and defeated. It’s a cruel trick that when our bodies are at their peak production we are inundated with images of broken down looking women. I mean, yeah that’s what I look like. But I want to see what it’s possible to look like. 

I want to see images like the one of Rachel McAdams pumping breastmilk while wearing Versace, that was the cover photo for Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine, photographed by magazine founder and editor Claire Rothstein. I might never look like that photo. I might be sitting in sweatpants with my messy bun and a spit up filled shirt, but I want to imagine myself as her. I want to know that it’s conceivable for a woman like me to be viewed in that way. There is no harm in a second-hand confidence boost while viewing these pictures. A mom might sit up a little straighter, stick that chest contraption out, and know that she provides the “bacon” that is served.

Rachel McAdams is a “boss mom.” It’s a look that is needed and gorgeous. I am so overjoyed by Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine sharing this photo. They are changing people’s perception about what we can look like while we do motherhood. 

I also find it really refreshing that in her Instagram caption, Rothstein can’t decide who’s idea it was to shoot the photo and in admitting that, Rothstein and McAdams volley attribution back and forth. It’s such a real thing. I never know which friend came up with the good ideas. I can definitely pinpoint the bad ones (boot camp fitness.) In a world where we see so much credit taken where it’s not necessarily earned, it was refreshing. As refreshing as…well, as seeing a pumping Rachel McAdams in Versace photo. I’m thrilled to have a reminder that good work being done isn’t always about your name being on it. (I’m still going to leave my byline on this if that’s alright.)

The truth is sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful while being milked. The images available to show pumping typically give a “is that what I look like? That’s not what I want to look like” feel. This is a picture I want to look like and I’m not even breastfeeding, so it’ll be awkward. Thank you to Girls. Girls. Girls. Magazine and Rachel McAdams for showing us in a couple different ways how to shine.


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