Irreverent Mama

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Breasts are Big!!

(Well, not all of them, of course. Lots of luscious Asian breasts are perkily less than a mouthful. Some breasts appear big, but aren't really, merely suffering a case of silicone bloat. Mine, as it happes, are decent. But I meant the other kind of 'big', as in topical, news-worthy, cutting edge.)

So. Breasts are Big!

And controversial, evidently. If you read the mommy blogs at all, you'll know there was a big kerfuffle about this magazine cover. The editors received 5,000 letters about it, of which 25% complained about its "obscenity". People were "shocked", didn't want their impressionable teenage sons seeing it, had to shred it on sight.

What a shizophrenic society is our neighbour to the south! That cover is positively pornographic, Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" precipitated a deluge of outraged complaints, but breasts and sex are everywhere. Everywhere!

So. Why is this (on the left) worthy of a flood of complaints, and that (on the right) is not?

And no smart-ass comments of outrage from the fashion police. I'm not talking about crimes against fashion, but of prudery that forbids the picture on the left while allowing the woman on the right to walk around - and be photographed - in that outfit.

Let me clarify. That woman has every right to walk around in that ridiculous outfit. (Though one does naturally wonder just how her nipples can stand the strain of being the sole means of support of the entire ensemble. I mean, what happens when she takes a deep breath? One does wonder this.) Setting all concerns about her taste aside, she has every right to wear that thing. And people afford her that right.

BabyTalk has every right to post a picture of a nursing baby. Why is there any discussion at all?

What's the difference? Because, as one outraged letter-writer said, "A breast is a breast — it's a sexual thing." True enough, as far as it goes. Breasts are sexual things. However, they are also biological things. In fact - hold on to your hats, because apparently this idea is radical - breasts are primarily a feeding station. Women may not spend much (or any) of their adult lives nourishing a child, but that's why they're there. If we weren't mammals, we wouldn't have them.

Breasts are made for babies. Men (and/or women) get to enjoy them; women get to enjoy men (and/or women) enjoying them - but that's icing on the cake. The only reason, biologically, that women have those things hanging off their sternums is to Feed.A.Baby. That's it, that's all. All the rest is window dressing.

The fact that so many people have completely reversed this, made breasts primarily, even solely sexual, is sad. The fact that so many people would see a picture of a nursing baby - a modest, tasteful picture at that (do you see any nipple at all?) - as sick and disgusting... Well, anyone who can see a baby nursing and have a wave of revulsion? That's pretty twisted.

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  • Hi - here from Z. I agree with what you say and find the overly enhanced siliconed breasts gross and utterly ludicrous. However as regards breast feeding I do think that ideally - for the baba's sake as much as anything, it is best done in private when possible. And I do look back on it as one of the most beautiful experiences - especially the 6pm feed when you are both zonked and out of it.

    By Blogger PI, at 12:03 p.m.  

  • We live in a wierd and twisted world...I loved your post as you wrote it out so well, even if I did not agree, I would have HAD to agree by the end.
    But good luck, most in the 'wierd' mindset wear blinkers...except when it comes to boonbies...Anne

    By Blogger crazymumma, at 11:28 p.m.  

  • Hello, Z! Welcome to my comment box.

    I nursed each of my three for a little over a year, and over all that amount of time, of course I ended up nursing in public spaces from time to time. Though I am a reasonably modest person, I felt no hesitation to nurse them when they needed. I was discreet, throwing a light blanket over my shoulder and positioning myself with due deference to other people. Thankfully, I live in urban Canada. No one ever objected.

    AC - I once had a friend and his wife come to visit me and my five-day-old son. When he cried for a feeding, and I began to loosen my shirt, my friend cried out, "Oh, you're not going to do that HERE?!?"

    I fixed him with the evil eye, and informed him this that as this was MY baby and MY house, if he didn't like it, HE could leave the room.

    He subsided, probably helped by the fact that his wife was beating him about the head. (Well, not really, but she wasn't pleased with him.)

    A few years later, when they had their first child, he was whole-heartedly supportive of her breastfeeding! It was good to see. So, even the blinkered can learn!

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 10:14 a.m.  

  • I am totally with you - I already left my long-winded rant over at mamadrama where they were talking about it, so I won't carry on, but just say, "Yes."

    By Blogger kittenpie, at 2:55 p.m.  

  • i honestly LOVED that cover. LOVED. in fact...

    posted that on my blog once upon a time. thanks for saying it like it is. and thanks for visiting my blog!

    By Anonymous Alissa, at 12:32 a.m.  

  • also, apparently, i can't leave a link that long in the comments, lol.

    at any rate... it was a picture of my breastfeeding.

    By Anonymous Alissa, at 12:34 a.m.  

  • Hello, first time here.

    Well said!

    By Blogger metro mama, at 11:47 p.m.  

  • I'm really surprised it's caused comment - that sort of picture on a magazine is completely acceptable in Britain and has been for years.
    There are still people who complain about mothers breastfeeding in public, but it's usually reckoned normal and acceptable. Though, it must be said, not all that many women carry on for long - it's the pressure to get back to paid work as soon as possible.

    And I'm glad to have been instrumental in introducing Pi to your site.

    By Blogger Z, at 1:15 p.m.  

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