Being a woman who is gifted with two beautiful breasts in different shapes and sizes is a gift and a disaster at the same time. On one hand, our breasts can produce the healthiest liquid which can be consumed by our babies. On the other hand, oftentimes we find people, mostly men, objectify and sexualize our breasts. Our breasts not only become a medium for breastfeeding but also become a ‘tool’ that has commercial value in the media. This leads to them becoming an object for men to satisfy their lusts. While men’s chests are also attractive to women, they seldom become the object of sexualization like the way women’s breasts are. Why is this? In this article, we will be finding out the reason for this.
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Evolution of Women's Breasts
Image Credit: istock
To understand why we have come to this, we must first understand the history. If you look around the animal kingdom, you will find that while there are 5,000 mammalian species on this planet, there is something about humans that are different. To put it in words, we are the only mammals to have permanent breasts. Other mammals have flat chests in both genders and the females only have larger breasts when their breasts are full of milk. For humans, women grow breasts during puberty instead of pregnancy. The breasts will stay long even after the fertility stage is over.
A popular theory from the book The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris is that breasts evolved into a sex symbol as a replacement for the swelling rear females normally have during ovulation. When our ancestors started walking on two legs, our private parts were no longer easily visible. This caused the males could no longer tell when females were mature and ovulating for mating. Over time, breasts began to take that place, to not only feed the young but to also attract males.
What Makes Women's Breasts Attractive to Men?
Image Credit: Cody Portraits on Pexels
Now that we know some of the histories, we can move on to the next question: What exactly makes a woman’s breasts attractive? To answer that, we first have to figure out what men think. A long-standing theory is that the evolution of the breasts is a sexual signal to men that a woman is young and healthy, which are signs of a promising mate. Men preferring a high waist-to-hip ratio and large breasts prove that an hourglass shape is a sign of youth and fertility. A study even shows that women with larger breasts have higher levels of the hormone estradiol, which increases fertility during mid-cycle.
When it comes to a cultural view, this is where we find something interesting. In a 1951 study, anthropologist Clellan Ford and ethologist Frank Beach found that out of 191 countries, only 13 of them had men found women’s breasts sexually important. Of these countries, 9 enjoy large breasts, 2 countries prefer long pendulous breasts, while the other 2 see upright and hemispherical breasts as attractive. This shows that viewing breasts sexually is a learned thing instead of just a biological thing.
Why are women's breasts sexualized?
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels
Now for the biggest question of all, why is it that a woman’s breasts are sexualized?
One of the biggest and saddest reasons is that sex sells. Everywhere you look, on television, in magazines, and in movies, you’ll see sexual depictions of breasts. Breasts have become the sexual commodities that attract everyone’s attention. This caused the companies who can find profit from it will shamelessly use this tactic to bring in sales.
Another heartbreaking truth is that many of our societies are deeply rooted in patriarchy. Patriarchy in our case is the system where men hold the power and women are inferior. This leads to men treating women as objects, and they are discriminated against and denied their opinions. Seeing women as objects make sexualizing them, in general, common and easy. The reason is that men may see them as sexual objects and not for the people they are.
Some people turn to social media for things like daily news, a place to belong, and comfort. This place, however, isn’t as pretty as it seems. Girls who try and post some of their pictures on social media may experience slut-shaming when they wear skimpy clothing. This leads to the misconception that it’s okay to demean girls and treat them like sluts on social media, which in turn sexualizes them.
Women's struggle with the sexualization of breasts
The sexualization of women’s breasts causes adverse effects on women. It seems like the value of women is determined by their breasts. Many have to experience insecurity over their breasts. Women with small breasts would think that they’re unattractive enough and that it will be difficult for them to breastfeed their babies. In fact, the size of the breasts won’t affect the production of breast milk. Meanwhile, large-breasted women won’t be confident wearing a skinny dress or tight-fitted shirt. They would think that their breasts are too obvious which can make people get distracted. This also makes them have to think twice whenever they wear revealing clothes as they have to live with the thought that people will judge them. The sexualization of women’s breasts will not only degrade women’s values but also limit them in expressing themselves through clothes.
Any form of breast sexualization is always wrong and it shouldn’t be normalized. Women’s values do not depend on their breasts. Once again, breasts are not the tool to satisfy men’s lusts. It is not an object to drive sales. Women may want to look sexy and beautiful, but they don’t deserve to be treated like playthings, no matter how they dress. Our society may be thriving, but our mindsets still need to change. All human beings regardless of their gender play a crucial role in breaking the chain of sexualizing women’s breasts. Together, let’s support diminishing women’s breasts’ sexualization!
Thanks for reading along!
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