Thursday, August 10, 2006

And another thing...

Ok, so I'm still riled up about the whole breast thing. And I think it's a fully justified, truly righteous indignation I'm working up.

You see, the part that has me the most upset is that it's women - W-O-M-E-N - who tend to make the most fuss about things like seeing breasts exposed. Women! It's our breasts we're bitching about!

You might think I'm making an unreasonably big fuss over this issue. In fact, it's an unreasonably big issue. Here's why (bear with me; it's a long explanation):

Men are biologically driven to seek sex. As soon as a young man hits puberty, it's pretty much up-periscope and he's dragged around by the end of his heat-seeking missile for a few years (more than a few). Now, guys, don't get mad. I'm not implying that you don't excercise control and take the reins back...but I've never talked to a man yet who didn't admit that he nicknamed his privates because he wasn't comfortable having a total stranger in charge of his life.

Women, on the other hand, are wired a bit differently. We love sex, but our biological drive is seated in another cradle. We have greater control over our physical desires but we're positively addicted to acceptance, love, and being the object of exclusive desire.

Add to this little mix the fact that, as my former mother-in-law (now resting, presumably in peace) used to say - "Yeah, little boy, you've got one of those, but I've got one of these, and with this I can get all of those I want!" Is it not true? My husband puts it quite succinctly. He asks simply, "If you're a woman, answer this question with total honesty: Could you, if you chose to do so, get laid tonight? Not necessarily with the person or under the circumstances you might desire, but could you have sexual intercourse with a willing partner tonight?" The answer is, in almost every single case, yes. And that translates to one thing: power.

Sexuality is powerful. Women's sexuality is extremely powerful. The biological imperative placed on men to spread the seed far and wide makes them vulnerable to this power. So how, without killing off your source for the very thing that renders you so vulnerable in the first place, do you right the power imbalance? You enlist the aid of an equal or more powerful ali.

Enter the church. What better way to reduce the power of women's sexuality than to declare it disgusting, filthy, defiling, sinful in its very nature and existence. "The hands that have touched a woman are not fit to handle the body of Christ." Filthy daughters of filthy Eve. Lusty succubi used by the devil to ensnare innocent men in a pit of carnal degradation. So filthy are women that some priests are required to be celebate in order to handle the Host. And it's obviously not Christianity alone that feels the need to protect against the evils of feminine sexuality. Look at Islam. And don't even get me started on cultures that perform ritual mutilation on women, excising the clitoris and part of the labia as a "right of passage."

And the worst part of all this? Women themselves have bought into it. We may not run around calling ourselves evil, filthy, or inherently unclean, but let one of us show a breast in public and Katie, bar the door, it's on! Let one of our sisters show a little too much leg or a bit more clevage than we think appropriate and we're slinging "slut" and "tramp" like poison darts. A flirtatious woman gets a little male attention while other women are quietly plotting her demise. Even the most non-sexual use of our bodies - pregnancy, childbirth, nursing - is subject to the madness. Case in point: The August 2006 issue of Baby Talk magazine featured a nursing baby on the cover. There was such an uproar about the cover that the magazine polled readers and at least 25% responded that they are upset or offended by the photo. Who reads the magazine? Women! Women with babies! Women with BREASTS! Read the article.

It's all about power, folks. And the sad part is that it really doesn't have to be this way. But you can bet that it will stay as long as the prisoners keep polishing the bars and making sure the doors shut tight. If women don't reclaim and own their own sexual power and learn to use it ethically and for the good of all, we'll always be evil daughters of evil Eve. If we're going to think anything is disgusting, it should be that. I know I'm ashamed.

Beasts! Beasts! Beware the beasts!

I read recently where some people were highly offended by other people exposing their beasts in public. Well, I should say so! I don’t want to see anyone’s beasts! And what about the children? What were these people thinking? Beasts are to be kept private, covered, hidden away. They could hurt someone!

Oh…wait…by golly, I read that wrong. It was breasts, not beasts. Huh…funny what a difference that "r" makes.

Only… well… it seems that it doesn’t make any difference at all. People are just as offended by breasts as they are by beasts. Offended? By breasts? Life-giving, sweater-filling, put-your-head-on-my-pillows breasts actually offend people? Apparently so. Some folks seem to equate beasts – snarly, scary things with fangs and bad attitudes – with breasts – soft, jiggly things with little pink nipples and no attitudes at all other than perky, and even that goes away pretty darned quickly.

Further confusing matters, some breasts seem to be more offensive than others. A Hollywood breast, for example, draped in something sheer or shiny that barely covers only the cute little nipple, is not likely to cause any but the nicest kind of stir. People will snap photos of it for magazines, newspapers, and websites, and afford it honors like "Best Dressed." But a Chattanooga breast, clothed in a cotton camp shirt from J. C. Penney, a nursing bra, and the lips of a cherub-cheeked infant – that breast can cause a ruckus. Expressions of disgust and even outrage rise up all around whenever one of those puppies raises its nose (even though the nose is, technically, covered by the baby).

I guess I just don’t get it. I was ok when I thought it was beasts causing all the commotion. But breasts? Breasts that are feeding babies? Nourishing, pure-and-perfect mother’s milk dispensing, comfort-giving, smells like mama…what in the name of all that is human can possibly be offensive about that? Have we become so sexually driven that we can’t see past our own neurotic obsession with the prelude, losing sight of the main attraction? All that sexual activity we associate with breasts leads right up to babies, and babies have to be fed. That makes breasts pretty much full-circle, self-contained, the right tool for the right job perfect, if you ask me… and nothing to be ashamed of.

Hmmph. I think some of these folks’ beasts are showing…and I AM offended.