Why are boobs such magical things?
Answer: they’re not.
Okay, mammary glands produce milk and milk, as well all know, never stops. It’s full of calcium and vitamin E, and… well, cow milk is anyway. We don’t exactly drink human milk after a really young age.
(okay, “mammary glands” makes me think of sea lions and that makes me giggle and I need to be able to actually work right now, so I’m just going to say “boobs” from now on because somehow that doesn’t make me giggle so shut up)
But somehow boobs are magical. Boobs are mystical orbs of wonder and imagination. They’re like Willy Wonka if Ol’ Will was a set of twins and actually did something useful instead of torturing children with succulent goodness but demanding them not to touch and slowly weaned out the weak until only one survived.
“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Oh dear God…
All jesting aside (I’ll never look at Willy Wonka the same way again), boobs occupy a special place in society. You can watch someone stab a needle through a human’s eye on network television or you can watch men strip off all of their clothes until they’re down to underwear that really doesn’t leave anything to the imagination and nobody bats an eye. But a woman’s nipple? They’d riot in the streets.
But we all know this. The double standard is nothing new. Boobs are bad, right? Jesus doesn’t approve, or whatever they taught you in Sunday School (that’s what they taught me but my childhood was pretty messed up that way so I don’t really know what normal is).
So let’s start debating the issue, beginning with CON-BOOBS!
WHY BOOBS ARE BAD!!! [Or: Why Society’s Boob-Standards Are Totally Fine The Way They Are]
- A woman has a right to cover up whatever parts of her body she wants. If she wants to keep her boobs private, that’s her business. This has a flip side that I will address later.
- Society determines standards. As much as we’d like to think that we’re all rebels who “don’t do what society says,” if that were actually the case then we wouldn’t have a society to begin with. You can’t rebel against something that nobody even follows. So if society says that boobs are stigmatized, then they are, and really, as a society we’re under a bit of obligation to uphold that stigma.
- Boobs do not play a role in reproduction, but they are still a large erogenous zone and we generally think of erogenous zones as areas that should be kept “bedroom-ized” (thumbs up for making up words).
Okay I’m wracking my brain to come up with good reasons for this list because I want to give each viewpoint a fair shot, but I’m having a hard time taking myself seriously. You see my points though, right? Boobs are “scandalous” because… well, because they’re “scandalous.” It’s going to take a psychological overhaul of an entire generation in order to change that. I just want to point out that there really are some legit reasons why we put so much stigma on boobs, and that’s okay.
Now, for the other side, the PRO-BOOBS!
WHY BOOBS ARE GOOD!!! [Or: Why Society Needs To Let Go And Love The Bosom]
- A woman has the right to be treated as a human being, not as a sexualized object just for having a physical body. If a woman is confident with her body and doesn’t feel that she should have to cover up her chest, then she shouldn’t have to cover up her chest.
- They are much better looking than their floppy counterparts, the ball sack. Yep, I went there. The guy equivalent of boobs (man-boobs don’t count) is that floppy package in their pants. Nobody judges men for having floppy things, but we judge women for that? #logic
- I don’t know what idiot came up with the idea that men are hormone-enslaved lust machines (I’m looking at you, Christians), but the idea that women have to cover up their chests because it’s “modest” is a bunch of BS. It doesn’t matter how much clothing a woman wears, some dude or dudette (holler at me, lesbians) out there is going to be getting turned on. The same goes for the reverse: a woman could walk around stark naked and there’s going to be people (who are totally attracted to women, by the way) who don’t feel a thing. Modesty has nothing to do with the amount of clothing you wear.
Well, I tried. I tried to make some sort of compelling argument, and I think I addressed the ideas that I wanted to, but I just can’t keep this up with a straight face. There’s too much potential for comedy here and I’m getting confused. So let’s bring the list to a close and just chat a little bit, yeah? It’s cool, we’ll just shoot the breeze for a while.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m in favour of women being allowed to do whatever the hell they want in regards to their bodies. But I do understand that there’s a huge amount of stigma attached to the way we as a society view women, particularly when it comes to sexuality, and that stigma isn’t just going to go away overnight. It must come from somewhere, and I think we need to understand that before we can find a solution.
If it wasn’t for the ENDLESS DISCRIMINATION against women, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. A simple health class in grade 6 could get rid of the stigma once and for all. But we’ve got to face the centuries of oppression and that’s something a little bit more difficult to undo. How do you educate young girls and boys that boobs are completely natural and not automatically sexual if everywhere around them the world screams the opposite?
And that’s the key difference.
Are boobs magical? No. Are boobs sexual? Sure.
But not automatically. Not intrinsically.
Sexuality is fluid and subjective. That’s where our problem comes from. We’ve got to convince far too many people that boobs are not in fact the bane of sexual purity (whatever that means anyway) for this to be easy.
Let’s play hypothetical situation. I’ll put myself up as a target.
I’ve never been to a nude beach, so I imagine if one day I did, I would probably spend the whole time staring at people. There, I said it. I’m sorry, but it would just be such a weird situation to find myself in.
But I also think that’s a completely normal response to new situations.
After a while (I hope not a long while) I would stop staring, right?
THIS DOES NOT MEAN I’M DESENSITIZED!
This just means I’ve adapted to my surrounding and realized that there’s nothing bizarre about seeing naked people all around me. It’s only bizarre because I make it so, and once I stop doing so, it becomes pretty normal. But I’m still a sexual creature. I haven’t been damaged somehow because I reached my boob-quota or whatever.
This seems to me like a pretty simple hypothetical. Can we agree on that?
But can you see how this would be such a huge undertaking on a societal level in order to get people to the point of accepting nudity as normal?
(by the way, I’m not saying we should all walk around naked, the line has to be drawn somewhere I guess)
And yet, we still haven’t solved the problem, because we’re still making one tiny assumption that rottens the whole thing.
We’re assuming that women want to walk around topless all the time.
Because maybe they don’t. Or maybe they do. Or maybe some do and some don’t. Or maybe… no, that’s all the possibilities right?
It’s not a matter of should or shouldn’t. It’s a matter of could. If given the opportunity, I would be that most women would not opt to be topless and it would have NOTHING TO DO WITH SOCIETY. It’s a personal matter, as it should be. And thus the opposite should also be personal. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SOCIETY AT LARGE.
We’ve just convinced ourselves that it does.
And so the cycle continues.
“It’s an infringement on free expression.”
Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
So why does society sexualize boobs? I don’t know. Some people try to argue that it’s because men breastfeed but women also breastfeed, so that doesn’t make sense. Maybe we should just blame marketers, but they just prey off trends, so it’s not entirely their fault either.
I think we just dropped the ball over many years. A collective shrug. One unconscious decision after another where we gave a little ground at a time until we forgot we used to occupy an entire country.
I’m not saying we should all go topless. I’m not saying we should wear more clothes. I’m just trying to raise the public consciousness so we can ask ourselves why we value the things we value. Why do we consider modesty to be what it is? Why are boobs sexualized?
And if your boobs do have magical powers, do let me know because I love being proven wrong.
I hope you enjoyed this free-form rant of a post. I enjoy talking about controversial topics in controversial ways, but I don’t want to offend people for no reason. Please realize a lot of what I say is meant to be taken either with a grain of salt or a regular dose of laughter. I’m on your side.