Yesterday, for the first time, I got to get a glimpse of the upcoming Time magazine cover that has got the internet [and the world at large] going nuts. The picture above shows a woman breastfeeding her 4 year old son and has caused a big stir because (A) many women find the title of the article offensive, (B) because the issue of attachment parenting is extremely divisive and finally (C) because there are “t*tties being sucked” on the cover of Time magazine. Issue C has ben really confusing and frustrating for all sides of the debate because some call it nursing and others are calling it Kiddie pr0n, which brings me to today’s question for women: “How would you like your breasts [hell, ALL breasts] to be viewed in our modern western society?”
Some of y’all may think that’s a ridiculous question, but you are simply NOT thinking about it DEEP enough. Many people who were offended by this cover think it’s wrong to use this real mother’s breasts as a calculated marketing effort to sell magazines [sexualizing a natural maternal bonding experience] while other people who were fine with the cover felt like the people who didn’t like it were regressive-thinking troglodytes without any capacity for seeing the natural beauty in breastfeeding. The problem I have with the latter set of people is their self-righteous indignation and lack of respect for our society’s intrinsic socialization. Basically, they need to stop acting like there’s such a thing as “regressive-thought” towards how we respond to breasts as a society – the fact is we are CONFUSED as a society because the message keeps changing.
Growing up, I was taught a very simple equation by my parents, teachers, the authorities and media: T*tties = Sexual Body Parts = Indecent outside of the bedroom. This was underscored by a confusing ass equation on cleavage, which was: Cleavage = Glimpse Of Sexual Body Parts = Decent outside of the bedroom [until the areola or nipple starts to show]. This is how MOST of us were raised to view naked female breasts. You are not suppose to STARE at them, TOUCH them, ADMIRE them, MOTORBOAT them, HI-FIVE them, FREESTYLE to them or SERENADE them – UNLESS you’re in the privacy of your bedroom with a consenting woman.
This was reinforced by the whole Janet Jackson fiasco. One brown nipple made its way onto National TV and the entire country had to consider shutting the Super Bowl down to oppose such “VILE atrocities”. Ok, so t*tties have no place in decent society – we get it – cool.
But then a game changer came along: The proliferation and social acceptance of public breastfeeding.
Now, all of a sudden, women began to demand that their breasts be allowed to be viewable in public as they are just a natural part of providing their children with food superior to formula – and society has slowly but surely acquiesced [which is a GOOD thing]. Yet, we still live in a society hyper sensitive to the exposure of the breast because of it’s sexual inclinations that WE as a culture gave it. Let me put it like this: As much as we try to enforce one ideology that breasts are merely instruments of nourishment, we also WON’T show Dora exploring her mother’s breast for breakfast in her show or the entire Cartoon network would be shut down.
So what are breasts and how should they be viewed? Do they become asexual body parts AFTER a woman has had a child? Are they only asexual when a child is around them? Should wet T-shirt contests in Cancun be seen as exploitive acts of sexuality or merely praising their potential motherly feeding abilities? You can think it’s as ridiculous as you want, but I CHALLENGE you to create an all-encompassing ideology that we as a society can use to view breasts as a whole, from breastfeeding to cleavage to sun-tanning on a beach to a female soccer player ripping her shirt off to expose a SPORTS BRA after a goal at the World Cup. In fact, I DARE you.
The point here is that sexualizing breasts is NOT regressive-thinking, it’s just the effects of being continually inundated by our society’s view of sexual ideology. And it’s THAT ideology that is currently stuck in attempting to devise a new equation to teach this generation and the next about breasts.
So I pose the question to Y’ALL today ladies: How should society view breasts on a WHOLE? [not just a couple specific circumstances]