If fact, stop sexualizing women, period
By Jessica Berget, Staff Writer
Both men and women have breasts. This may come as a surprise to some people, or even make them uncomfortable, but it’s true. They both have breast tissue, areolas, and nipples. So why is it that women are subjected to wearing uncomfortable bras (or boob shackles, as I like to call them) and censoring their own bodies while men can walk around topless? Well, women’s breasts are definitely larger, they produce milk for their offspring, and they are hyper sexualized to the point where women are shamed for using them in any context that is not for sexual or visual pleasure. See the difference?
You would think in a society where women’s breasts are plastered on magazines, advertisements, film and television that exposing one’s boobs would be socially acceptable, right? Wrong.
Just last year, Farah Soomro was asked to leave a Victoria’s Secret store because she was breastfeeding in the store and it was making guests uncomfortable. A store that sells bras and has pictures of women in bras should be more accepting of a woman using her breasts to feed her child. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. It is literally the very reason women have breasts at all. However, the sexualization of boobs makes it hard to remember that those sacks of fat on your chest are meant for something other than being ogled at.
Not surprisingly, the sexualization of women’s breasts comes with troubling effects. Remember how shocked everyone was when Angelina Jolie admitted to having a double mastectomy to minimize her chances of breast cancer? Most of the responses to this announcement were positive, but others were not so supportive. Some people openly mocked and shamed Jolie for making this decision. Some even claimed that she is not a real woman anymore and that Brad Pitt should divorce her on the grounds that she had her breasts removed. There was also the argument that she should have asked her husband before carrying on with the surgery, as if women do not have any independent say in their bodily autonomy. When the sexualisation of a body part becomes too prominent, women are often dehumanized, and their sexualized body parts are deemed more important than the human being they are physically attached to.
Not even children are safe from the sexualization of breasts. I remember when I was in fifth grade I had my first talk about dress code at school. It was the beginning of summer and I was wearing shorts and a backless top that tied up at the neck. Before the school day even started I was pulled into the office and told never to wear that top to school again. The reason? Boys might untie the back and expose my nonexistent boobs. At the tender age of ten I was taught to conceal and be ashamed of the mammaries on my chest that every person on earth is born with, because mine would eventually grow to be objects of sexual desire.
Women’s breasts are so sexualized we can’t even use them for what they were meant for without being publicly shamed. Boobs actually serve a biological and reproductive purpose, so it seems unfair that women are expected to hide them because they are so fetishized. The next time you walk by a woman publicly breastfeeding her child and are at all offended by it, you are taking part in the fetishization of women’s breasts, and you may want to reconsider your thinking.