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Posts Tagged ‘breasts’

I have had boobs since I was eleven years old. In fact, it would seem at eleven, I would experience all the things associated with puberty in that one year. Some of my oldest friends can’t even remember me being “flat-chested” and they would joke about how I was born with boobs. I have had a love hate relationship with my boobs mainly because others seemed to notice them. I have heard every single epithet hurled at me from eleven until now at twenty-five from males and females alike. Just to name a few names, Tits McGee, Tig O’ Bitties, and my all time favorite, Jiggles. Through these names were probably meant to be endearing, I  am growing sick and tired of the attention solely based on my boobs. But it is not only the names but the gawking, the back handed comments, the jokes ( I have heard every boob joke by now), the jealousy of other women, and the back problems.

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**This post is about breastfeeding. I hope you read it, but if not, please take a look at the resources I’ve linked, as there are many and I have found them to be invaluable tools for breastfeeding mothers.**

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Just the word “breastfeeding” brings mixed reactions. I don’t know many people who find it overtly offensive. I know many people who find it as natural as breathing. Most people I know are somewhere in between, approving of the act for its purpose and benefits, but feeling opposed to the actual witnessing of it. I myself have existed on various levels of acceptance as I’ve aged, so I’m not unfamiliar with the uneasiness it gives people. What I hope to do here as I share my personal experience is offer perspective, perhaps a chance for some to alter their view of breastfeeding by considering the breastfeeder.  (more…)

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Earlier this week, my boyfriend sent me a link to an article about boobies!

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I think it’s safe to say that our society has a pretty ridiculous obsession with breasts. Breasts are shoved in our faces all the time—through screens, billboards, pages of magazines, what have you. They have become something of a paragon of beauty in our society; so many women today are dissatisfied with their natural breasts and go to great lengths to have them molded into “beautiful” breasts. I don’t know if we ask it enough: Why does our society put such a premium on breasts?

Many women I know are baffled by the appeal that breasts hold. I have often heard women respond to qualifying or sexualizing comments about breasts with statements such as “Why do people care what breasts look like?” or “What is so sexy about breasts? They’re only there so we can feed our children” or, my favorite, “They’re just sacks of milk.” *shudder*

I get the biological retort; it is a bit silly that we’re essentially sexualizing our udders (gross, but true). But at the same time, I can see how they came to hold the power that they have. Breasts are life-givers, really. They are how we provide for our offspring. No matter how many modern advancements are put forth in child care, the essential bond between a mother and child will always be associated with the act of breastfeeding.

So this begs the question: does the power of breasts only lie in their ability to “function”? Are breasts only glorious and powerful if they can nourish a child? I ask this because there is a strong possibility I will not be able to breastfeed my children.

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Images such as these pervade comic book character art. Women are normally in sexy, revealing outfits; and, their bodies are often doing some pretty impossible things. A blog called Boobs Don’t Work That Way brings awareness to how ridiculously women are portrayed in comic books. The picture of Wonder Woman displayed here is not unique. Attempting to make her sexier, she is drawn into this impossible pose where her breasts and behind are shown at the same time. Also, her breasts are extremely large, and there is no way that her costume could logically support them. The commentary on the blog regarding this picture is as follows:

“It always freaks me out when boobs are drawn as almost a separate entity. This one looks like it’s about to pop off and and start a solo career.”

Other interesting points the blogger makes include the way fabric unrealistically stretches over breasts in some costumes, suctioning itself to each breast individually, the fact that nipples rarely have areolas in comics, and that breasts are not always perky and perfectly spherical.

I find it interesting that beauty for women in comic books is literally impossible for us as humans. The beauty standard is completely unrealistic. Do comic book artists feel that women will not be sexy without their impossible breasts? Or do they enjoy creating a fantasy woman? I’m not personally sure which reason correctly demonstrate how artists feel, or if there are other reasons. The blog is not being updated, but the pictures and commentary are excellent. Check it out!

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Has anyone come across this tumblr? I really like it.

“Okay, so we want two sexy women on the front cover. Both with tops that don’t cover much and you know what? Maybe one of them is pants-less. Yeah! And have them pose in a really sexy way. Woah, woah woah! What is that? Did you just draw nipples? That’s too far man. Children read these things."

“Boobs Don’t Work That Way” is a “blog about tits and the impossible things artists make them do,” according to the homepage. And it delivers! Each of the 22 pages features numerous renderings of women and their breasts, or I should say, their impossible breasts. Because let’s face it, friends, Real Breasts Don’t Work This Way.

Conversations about our breast-obsessed culture are not new or radical. We know we love breasts, and it doesn’t take a lot of looking around to be reminded of this fact. Breasts are all over the place! On billboards, commercials, movies, magazines, and oh yes, on many of the women we encounter every day. For a lot of us in women’s bodies, we’ve experienced having a conversation with a man and noticing his eyes conversing with our breasts, rather than our faces. I noticed this for the first time when I was about thirteen.

What “Boobs Don’t Work That Way” does that I love is expose some of the absurdity of our breast obsession. Artistic depictions of women’s breasts are often realistic, but this tumblr gives us a cache of the ones that are NOT. And it is refreshing to see someone make fun of these pictures! I mean, they’re so ridiculous! If I were an alien from another world, what would I think if I saw all these pictures? Would I think women have globes of flesh attached to their chests, devoid of nipples? Would I think these globes are perfectly round and humongous compared to their waists? Would I think these globes were detachable? Some of these breasts look like they’re about to fall right off the women who possess them.

And what is particularly interesting about that point what it brings to mind about embodiment. Women who have breasts experience their breasts are part of their bodies, as part of their embodied selves. Women bring their breasts everywhere with them (maybe if they had a choice, they wouldn’t?). Yet pictures like this one obscure this reality. These breasts are for display and affect, and give no indication that they are experienced for any reason other than to tantalize the viewer.

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Facebook is deleting personal pictures of Mom’s breastfeeding and calling them obscene.

Moms are being ordered to cover up in malls and Target if they are breastfeeding.

Isn’t breastfeeding what women are encouraged to do?  Hasn’t the healthy party line been to breastfeed for at least the first few months to build immunity in babies?  Some communities are encouraging women to breastfeed to help curb childhood obesity.  There are proven health benefits for both the child and mother.  So, women are being told to breastfeed on the one hand and then told they can’t do it anywhere but in their homes on the other.  If they want to breastfeed in public, they must hide themselves away in a bathroom.  How dare they offend anyone with the view of their children breastfeeding!

Maggie Gyllenhaal breastfeeding

Women spend their entire lives held up as sexual beings, as objects.  But where does that end when a woman becomes a mother and wants to breastfeed her child?  Hasn’t the image of “the mother” become one that is without sexuality?  Maybe breastfeeding blurs that line for some.  We see this attitude in breast cancer awareness campaigns crying to “Save the boobies!” as well.  Women’s worth is in their sexuality and if they use their breasts to feed their children (some might say the breasts most primal and “natural” purpose) they are being viewed under that same sexual gaze.  Is our society so sexually repressed (and obsessed) that we can’t separate breasts from being sexual objects?

Part of the British campaign to encourage breastfeeding

Many breastfeeding moms are taking to activism to try and bring awareness to the issue.  Recently on etsy, an innovative breastfeeding mom created a crocheted “boobie beanie.”  They can be made in any skin tone and nipple shade, to match your own.

The Boobie Beanie!

Other mom’s are holding “breastfeed-in’s,” at facebook’s corporate headquarters or at local malls.  Celebrities have also taken to the cause, breastfeeding in public and allowing the paparazzi to take pictures of them with their children.  In Britain, they even had a celebrity campaign to encourage breastfeeding.  Unfortunately, until we as a society can move past this constant sexualization of breasts, I fear things will still be difficult for breastfeeding mommies.

Mayim Bailik breastfeeding on the subway in NYC.

 

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