Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ode to breasts

I have had several breast related experiences lately that have gotten me thinking about how we, as a culture see boobs.

Here are my recent breast related experiences.

First, I have boobs.  I think I have a pretty good relationship with my own physical body in general.  I get it, I listen to it, I take really good care of it, I am proud of the things it can accomplish, I feel at home in it (most of the time, although this aging thing leaves a few things to be desired).  Specific to boobs, I guess the best word I can use to describe how I feel about them is respect.  I can only presume that they have the built in function of having attracted Mark to me (among other traits, I know), they are a part of the sensual connection, they additionally managed to nourish my children for 3 years combined, they have been healthy so far, they still seem to do their part in keeping the attention of my man, no matter how they have changed. They have returned to their pre-preganancy/breastfeeding size, which is very agreeable to me.  Contrary to pop-culture americanism, I did not at all enjoy being large breasted and would more likely get a reduction than an augmentation, but I accept them as they are.
I feel like they are somewhat of a feminine analogy.  They are attractive, regardless of shape or size, artists have modeled, painted, and sketched them since the discovery of art.  They are sensual, for some more than others, but no matter to what degree.  If you like the touch of your partner, even if the breast isn't more sensitive than the rest of your skin, touch (hopefully) is "love making".   Finally Boobs are productive, I mean really, they sustain life.  Better than any product we have been able to produce by a million percent.  They create milk specific to the baby they are feeding.  They deliver passive immunities from a woman's body to her child throughout their entire nursing relationship, keeping her child safe from diseases while the immune system is building...slowly through exposure to the world around them. all at the same time.  We don't have to choose one. I respect breasts.

Second.  I read an article recently that stated the NYC had determined that the law requiring women to wear tops is unconstitutional because it doesn't require the same of men.  I don't actually know if it is true or not, but even as a hypothetical topic, I really don't know how to feel about this one.  If everyone felt the way I do about breasts, I would say this is a great step toward equality.  But as it is, as I drove through a neighborhood slightly south of me recently and saw tittie bars, tittie coffee stands, adult video rental places that offered in house viewing, it made me feel like this new law might be somewhat premature, not unlike the ejaculation of the nasty dude in the video store with mirrored exterior windows to allow people, once inside, to be as nasty as they want without public view or scrutiny.  Even the words written on the windows in advertisement made me angry.  Might as well just say it "CUM on in, and objectify women".  I should trademark that just so no one else can use it.

Third.  I watched this video this morning.
Take a look.  I'll wait......
I mean ROOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRRRRR.  I literally let out a stifled roar (sleeping teens in the house, and not unlike sleeping babies, I've found it wise to let a sleeping teen lie) when it ended.
I mean really.  Why is the cameo of a boob news?  A whole concert at the Glastonbury Music Festival, and all they talk about is a boob?  OVER HALF OF THE WORLDS POPULATION HAS THEM FOLKS. Some species have several pairs. Your mother has them, or had them, or has had them.  Why is this considered newsworthy or even noteworthy?  I have not yet listened to Amanda Palmers other music, and I may or may not get around to it, but I'll tell you what, I'm a fan of Amanda Palmer as a human being.

Fourth.  I am a doula, which naturally means that I have been around a few boobs in my time.  I feel honored to say that I have helped hundreds of women learn to include the productive, life sustaining elements of breastfeeding into their relationship with their own breasts.  Nothing needs to be lost, diminished, set aside (for long anyway) or muted.  The female body, the breast specifically for the purposes of this post, is nothing short of miraculous.  They can do it all.  They can be attractive, sensual and nourishing/nurturing, all at once, or at least in relatively quick succession.

Fifth.  Breast Cancer. They can sustain life, and they can take it. I have known, I suppose, the statistically correct number of women who have had varying degrees of breast cancer.  Now, any part of anyone's body is apparently susceptible to cancer at any time, but we don't try as a culture to degrade other body parts and simplify them to them point of making them just ornaments and decorations for the superficial pleasure in the most basest sexual nature.
Do you want to see real beauty....deep, soulful, essential beauty?  Real fear, real love, real courage?  There are millions of stories, here is one that will grab you.  For some reason, it's explicable, her breasts took her life.  http://mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com
Instead of spending your singles at strip clubs, spend them on this book.  Respect Breasts, and since breasts are inherently feminine, so respect women.

Sixth.  Superficial after the last one, but still a daily issue for many women.
Bra and bathing suit shopping. Advertising.  Can women please chime in here?  Can we agree that Victoria's Secret, among others, while they have good products and usually nice/helpful sales staff is missing the mark on advertising?  Why must I be subjected to comparing myself to a minuscule percentage of the most remotely physically possible human specimens, and airbrushed/photoshopped to boot, when the process of shopping for bras and bathing suits is already littered with emotional land mines? Do you know that women tend to store memories and recall themselves, really see themselves in the most critical way, sometimes seeing the least flattering image reflected back at them from every mirror? Even with a healthy, realistic (I believe) body image, I still sometimes see my body the way it looked at my least fit, least healthy, farthest personal comparison to the image you project at me?
Don't you want me to feel BEAUTIFUL in that bra?  Don't you realize that when I feel beautiful in that bathing suit, I'm more likely to buy it? When I see a bra on an ad, I KNOW FOR SURE that it won't look like that on me.  I am 100% guaranteed to be disappointed to a degree, due to an unrealistic expectation that I even knew about before I ever walked in the door.  I know it won't look like that on me, I walk in anyway cuz I need a bra, I put it on, I'm disappointed.  I know it sounds irrational, but I'm not always rational.
I do love the DOVE for real beauty ads.  Thanks Dove, for getting it and for all the others working on bringing in real women for models, making dolls and mannequins with human proportions, reaching out to young women just entering this ad crazy world. They need you, because they are growing up with pressure to simultaneously be a size 0 AND have large breasts. Just think about that for a minute. Even for teens, they market bras that ADD CUP SIZES, that is mentally ill.  It's false advertising advocating false advertising. It's a world that all at once sells us "diet" food that intentionally makes us sick and unhealthy and overweight and prescribes drugs instead of a healthy lifestyle,  while increasing the scrutiny on obesity, openly judging and making fun of anyone really, but commonly celebrities if they even gain a few pounds, and simultaneously using sex to sell effing everything using models that they starve to death to maintain a contract.  Good plan.

Whew.  end of rant.

In summary, breasts are cool, but in a lovely, respectful way.  Not a flaunting, over-sexualized, demeaning, debasing, competitive, false, oversimplified, stupid way.
They are magical.

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