Saturday, July 29, 2006


There is no doubt that American culture has over-sexualised the female breast. Media culture is obsessed not only with breasts, but with the size of breasts. This attitude has shaped public perception of breastfeeding: a recent poll of 4,000 readers of "Babytalk" magazine, almost all whom are mothers of babies, found that a quarter of readers objected to a photo of a nursing mother and baby. It is, in my not-at-all-humble-opinion, just another sign of the infantalism of American culture. Even those who don't snigger or get hot and bothered at the thought of breasts find it difficult to imagine that others aren't doing so.

One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it.

"I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

Actually, he did. He needs to learn now, while he's still young, that breasts aren't just for his titilation (pun intended).

It's the same reason that Ash, 41, who nursed all three of her children, is cautious about breast-feeding in public [...] "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."

Lady, no hetrosexual man ever has seen a breast he didn't want to see.

Of course, the reason that breasts are purely "a sexual thing" is that people like Gayle Ash insist on treating them as purely a sexual thing. What she really needs to do is sit down with her 13 year old son and tell the little brat darling that the purpose (or at least a purpose) of breasts is not for childish men to snigger at, but to feed babies, and he better not dis nursing mothers or she'll tar his ungrateful hide.

Echidne has more.

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