Bare breasts freak Americans out! Yet like McD's we seem to want them super sized and we sneak peeks every chance we get! If a woman's top falls open do you turn away?
We are quite obsessed with boobies here. In 2010, in the USA, there were 296,203 Breast Augmentations performed. Up 39 percent from 2000. The statistic that really got to me was 8,525 of those were done on women 13-19 years old! What is going on here? Why are women risking their lives to increase the size of their mammary glands? We don't see as many getting testicle lifts or penile enlargements.... yet.
Our obsession with various parts of the human body is not new; but it has changed. In the 1600s it was fashionable to wear dresses that left woman's breasts bare. The style is called 'extreme décolleté'. Bare breasts were thought to show a display of the woman's youth, her classical beauty, and her virtue. However, it would have been considered obscene for a woman to expose her shoulders or her legs!
Many of us believe (I'm including myself) that by hiding the female breast we are actually making them more sexual not less. Anything hidden from view becomes more sought after to see. When we censor the breasts it makes them seem inappropriate, something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. By censoring the view of breasts it means that women don't get to see the real breasts of other women, only their own and the air brushed or enhanced versions in the forbidden magazines or online nudism and porn sites. This limited knowledge leads young women to imagine their breasts are inadequate or abnormal - hence the increasingly popular high school grad gift for young women: breast augmentation.
In the world of naturism the naked human body is not considered a sexual object. It is perceived that young boys and girls develop a greater comfort with their own body with a much lower incidence of body dysmorhpia as well as teen sex They see and accept the vast differences in human forms and don't develop a twisted perspective of what is supposed to be beautiful. I'll write more about nudism at a later date.
Breasts make us crazy! In 2004 we about lost it when Janet Jackson exposed an adorned nipple for a half a second on national television... it was in the headlines for a week! And talk about backward laws, we are so fearful of breasts in this country that many states still have laws ready to prosecute a woman for exposing her breast in public - even if she is feeding her baby!
I am surprised that here we are nearing 2012 and there is still a shame that new mothers are made to feel when they attempt to breastfeed their infant in public. What are we so bothered by? How did a breast become such an object of desire and disdain at the same time? So my question is, why do we hide our breasts? Or do we? When I look around at how women and young girls dress, magazines and TV, it seems to me we are much more about dressing them up (sexualizing them) more than we are about trying to hide them. Victoria's Secret makes millions selling bras that create an illusion of larger, perkier breasts and cleavage. Sadly, men misinterpret heaving breasts as a sign that a woman is more sexually available.
Did you know that by law in the state of California it is not illegal to expose the female or male breasts; they are not considered genitals. When you read the California law about indecent exposure, it states that it is not illegal to expose the breast unless doing so for sexual reasons. So a woman sunbathing naked on a secluded beach (or man for that matter) is not breaking the law in California. Nor is a woman wearing pasties covering the just the areola and nipple, twirling them about to elicit a sexual response, however she would be if her nipples we showing. So it's the nipple we are concerned with? Seriously? A law that makes revealing two quarter size circles of the human body a CRIME? I am shaking my head. When we really stop and think about this, does it not seem beyond ridiculous that a breast can create such a stir when they are just body parts most all human beings possess? For another side of the breast story See the woman behind the breast.
Yes breasts are one of the erotic delights in life; I won't argue that, and so is the nape of your neck and the small of your back, and for many your toes. If we made all the places that feel good to be touched illegal to expose we would be a lot like... hummm, let me think, is there a country that hides the entire female body under a blanket? We need to get over our fear of the human body - we all have one. They are all relatively similar, yet the architectural differences can be quite fascinating. Most of us are uncomfortably curious (see my column on Pornography & Erotica), and I wonder if we would be as squeamish and sneaky if exposed breasts were more common place?
We have come a long way though... it was illegal to expose the belly button on TV until Cher broke the ice and showed off hers in the '70s. Part by part we are unwrapping our precious human suits- look for my upcoming column on Nudism around the world.
Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comment or questions.
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