Why are Women’s Breasts Sexualized? 

Nowadays we see women’s breasts are something sexual, not just for breastfeeding. While men’s chests are also attractive to women, they are not sexualized the way a woman’s breasts are. Why is this? In this article, we will be finding out the reason for this. 


Evolution of women’s breasts?

Image from istock

To understand why we have come to this, we must first understand the beginning. 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 – we are the only mammals to have permanent breasts. Other mammals have flat chests in both genders, and females only have larger breasts when they are feeding their young, their breasts full of milk. For humans, women grow breasts during puberty instead of pregnancy, and the breasts stay long 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 to 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, and 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 a woman’s breasts attractive to men?

Image from istock

Now that we know some of the history, 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 a man thinks. 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, 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 finding women’s breasts sexually important, with 9 of the countries enjoyed large breasts, 2 countries enjoyed long pendulous breasts, and 2 countries enjoyed upright and hemispherical breasts. This shows that viewing breasts sexually is a learned thing instead of just a biological thing. 


Why are women’s breasts sexualized? 

Image from istock

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 because sex sells. Everywhere you look, television, magazines, movies, you’ll see sexual depictions of breasts. Breasts have become these sexual commodities that attract everyone’s attention, and companies who can find profit from it will shamelessly use this tactic to bring in the 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 women being treated as objects, and they are discriminated against and denied their opinions. Seeing women as objects make sexualizing them in general common and easy, as 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 in 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 slutshaming if they are found wearing 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. So whenever you’re on social media, please be very careful.


Final thoughts

Women’s breasts are so sexualized women cannot even breastfeed in public without being shamed! Our society may be thriving, but our mindsets still need work. Hopefully in the future, we can stop this inappropriate sexualizing of women’s breasts. Women may want to look sexy and beautiful, but they do not want to be treated like playthings, no matter how they dress. 

Want some more informational reads? Check out these tips for washing your bra!

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