The Boob Revolt: Let All Breasts Be Free. {Nudity} ~ Lori Ann Lothian

Via on Sep 24, 2012

How did the mammary gland become a fatality in a puritanical battle to cover up?

I have been asking myself this question a lot lately. First, we have the recent uproar over Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s cute perkies (well I imagine them that way, I didn’t hunt the pics down) showing up in a French tabloid. Yes, of course part of the scandal churned around invasion of privacy issues; after all she was topless sunbathing in her French vacation home, not on a public beach. But another huge segment of upset was about the Princess being indecently exposed. Egads, she has breasts!

But it gets worse.

For instance, just last week an American University professor got caught in a media storm when the campus paper reported she breastfed her infant in front of students during a lecture. Nevermind the baby was ill and could not attend daycare on what was the first day of classes, and that this mother simply nourished her baby rather than say, flashed her breasts in a striptease act.

It seems breast-feeding is a still hot potato issue even after 49 states legislated nursing an infant in public legally A-OK. From Wikipedia:

In June 2007, Brooke Ryan was dining in a booth at the rear of an Applebee’s restaurant when she found it necessary to breastfeed her 7-month-old son. While she said she attempted to be discreet, another patron complained to the manager about indecent exposure. Both a waitress and the manager asked her to cover up. She handed him a copy of the Kentucky law that permitted public breastfeeding, but he would not relent. She ended up feeding her son in her car and later organized “nurse-out” protests in front of the restaurant and other public locations.

The suppression of women’s breasts hit close to home when my own boobs were seemingly censored on my blog, Love Stripped Down. With no warning from Word Press, my home page disappeared overnight—and along with it, a tasteful professional photo of me arching backward over a chair, topless. (I tried to repost it here but a relentless error message about size kept showing up—not my boob size, but the resolution quality I suppose). So instead, I’ve inserted a beautiful image of a young mother and her baby.

Good news is, I live in a city that has legalized naked breasts in public. On beaches and at public pools, for ten years, women have been free to go topless. Yet, I have never seen it happen, except at the city’s one semi-legal nudist beach.

Like superstar singer Beyonce, I have been bold enough to breast feed in public, though modestly, with a blanket draped over me and baby. But I have never been brave enough to be the solo bare-breasted women on the beach even though the feeling of my soggy bathing suit top on a hot day, pressed against my breasts, is really not fun. I have not been willing to stand out in the crowd, often because the men I have been with have not been supportive of that option. (No effing way you’re taking your top off in front of all these other guys).

Which brings me to the real issue. Women do not have problems with the possibility of a bare-breasted society. Men do.

Men have made the mammary gland all about sex. And we have let them, by participating in the game of surgical breast enlargement, push up bras for cleavage enhancement and even toning creams to reduce sag. (I remember a boyfriend giving me a breast toner cream for my 43rd birthday. Needless to say, it was not well received.)

The solution is not to deny the reality that breasts are a psychological turn on for most men and an erogenous zone for women. The remedy is, rather, to remember that breasts are also feeding stations that deserve to be available to infants whenever and wherever. And that breasts are a part of a woman’s body that in many cultures is considered no more shameful than a shoulder or arm.

The first time I went bare-breasted on a beach, I was 23 years old, in a small town in the south of France. It was the end of a hot day, and the locals gathered by the water’s edge—whole families—topless. I felt so free amongst the deflated breasts of grandmothers, and the full breasts of young mothers and even the perky breasts of teen girls. Free to let it all hang out, without fear of judgement or lewd stares.

But more than free, I was delighted. The tickle of the sea breeze on my breasts. The cool refreshment of the salty sea on my bare torso. The beautiful warmth of the late day sun kissing my nipples. This was sheer pleasure, and it was legal.

There are several movements these days to equalize the playing field so that women, like men, can go topless. These movements, such as Top Freedom, The Topfree Equal Rights Association and GoTopless have lead the charge to change laws, to defend women who are being persecuted or prosecuted for baring their breasts, and to de-sexualize breasts. In the last three years, GoTopless has organized topless events in Paris, Toronto and Venice Beach, California.

Here’s a clip from the 2011 Venice Beach event, where topless women explain why they are participating. As one young women asks, “How can you not love yourself? There’s no reason to have to cover up your body.”

Unless, of course, loving your body means you will be arrested.

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About Lori Ann Lothian

Lori Ann Lothian is a spiritual revolutionary, divine magic maker and all-purpose scribe. She writes about love, relationships, enlightenment and even sex, at Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Yoganonymous, Origin magazine, Better After 50 and on her hit personal blog The Awakened Dreamer. She is also a senior editor at the online magazine, The Good Men Project, where she founded Good for the Soul, a section dedicated to the exploration of men and spirituality. Lori Ann lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and daughter, where she has learned to transcend the rain and surrender to mega doses of vitamin D. Tweet her at Twitter or friend her on Facebook at Facebook.

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32 Responses to “The Boob Revolt: Let All Breasts Be Free. {Nudity} ~ Lori Ann Lothian”

  1. Lori Ann, thanks for writing this post and sharing your view. YES, it is a male issue, though women HAVE been trained to collude. I'm not sure how we can retrain ourselves, as there are multi-billion dollar industries that depend upon this training.

    As a man, yes, breasts ARE distracting, yet I can also say, that nudity helps us to acclimate. I was raised in a nudity-friendly environment, have been to many clothing optional communities and the truth is, after the first five minutes, seeing bare breasts becomes the norm and its beings to eroticize. We CAN be reconditioned.

    Wish you the best in getting this new awareness mission off the ground!

    Adam

  2. Sorry, can't re-edit, meant to write it begins to DE-eroticize. Hate autocorrect!

  3. Freya Watson singingflute1 says:

    Hi Lori,

    Loved reading this! Despite the recent publicity, one of the things I like about Europe is the more relaxed attitude to topless sunbathing and breastfeeding. We still have our own issues about it, but taking a sun holiday round the Mediterranean, I've always taken it for granted that I, and many other women on the beach, will be topless. And in Scandinavia, total nudity is fairly common for all shapes and sizes. (Not a reality here in Ireland, unfortunately).

    I breastfed all my children, with nothing but good feedback, and my chats with other moms seems to suggest that barriers to feeding publicly are mainly to do with lack of confidence in skill or being self-conscious about their bodies.
    I believe at this stage the whole 'breast' issue is as much a female as a male one, but that women have the ability to make changes – if they want to. But do most women really want to be free to bare their breasts? Or are we back to issues around lack of confidence in how we look as women and is this what really needs to be tackled rather than legal/male issues? Some quick thoughts from the other side of the Atlantic!

    Freya

    • Lori Ann Lothian says:

      Yes, you are right that many women are self conscious–but it's chicken and egg….when the male sexification of breasts makes having large or perky good, and small or saggy bad, and when women buy in, we have a situtation that requires a cultural re-engineering. By both genders!

      Breasts in the bedroom are sexy. Breasts on a beach or while nursing a child, are recreational freedom and maternal freedom issues. It's funny how this can't simply be a contextual issue, and how it is becoming a puritanical one. We will all be in burkahs next.

  4. Susan says:

    "It's funny how this can't simply be a contextual issue, and how it is becoming a puritanical one. We will all be in burkahs next."

    Ok, you are definitely exagerating.

    Diferent countries have different moral and social codes. What is appropriate in some might be inappropiate or even taboo in others , why? Well there are several reasons , culture, history, tradition, etc.

    "Men have made the mammary gland all about sex. And we have let them, by participating in the game of surgical breast enlargement, push up bras for cleavage enhancement and even toning creams to reduce sag"

    Actually, no , evolution has.
    Men like breasts for evolutionary reasons mainly because the chest-waist ratio indicates fertility.Research has shown that most men enjoy viewing women's breasts more than other body parts.
    For this reason alone I dont think breasts in general will ever be desexualized .

    "And that breasts are a part of a woman’s body that in many cultures is considered no more shameful than a shoulder or arm."
    If that were the case here, would you feel entirely comfortable if someone touched yours , like they would a shoulder.

    "Which brings me to the real issue. Women do not have problems with the possibility of a bare-breasted society. "
    Well, Im a woman and I definitely dont enjoy seeing other women's breasts in public, specially in restaurants, while Im eating. I guess a lot of people feel this way too. What about people's rights to not see your boobs in public?

    "For instance, just last week an American University professor got caught in a media storm when the campus paper reported she breastfed her infant in front of students during a lecture"

    Totally inappropriate, a school classroom filled with teenagers or young adults is definitely not the place where she should be doing that, she should have stayed home.

    I dont think it is a puritanical issue, it is a feminist issue. With a feminist agenda….the bottom line: because I want to.

    • Lori Ann Lothian says:

      All good points. I did not want to delve into evolutionary biology, really was past the scope of the sociological angle. But you are making great points.

      But you are right. Yet also, past "ologies" are human beings who desire to have freedom to choose. It could be, that simple… (though I am not advocating freedom to choose, say, mass murder. ) We are talking human beings with human rights and if men can have their nipples kissed by the sun, well….hey, what about mine?

      Context is key

      Lori Ann

      • Susan says:

        Well, with subjects of this kind you cant ignore the science. No matter how you raise a boy it is very unlikely you will ever be able to make him not like boobs , unless he turns out to be gay ofcourse.

        The prize we pay for living in complex societies is that we must follow rules or laws that are intended to keep things running smoothly for the majority. So unfortunately or fortunately in some cases the wishes or wants of minorities are not taken into account. Women who want this are a minority so it is very unlikely you will see a substantial change in the near future.

        Also, any woman concerned with her safety should be very careful about where she decides to go topless , case in point the stripper that goes topless in NY city. Its like she almost asking to be abused . Context is definitely key.

        • Susan says:

          Sorry ment to say price not prize

          Forgot to say, saying it is about equality and freedom is so cliche. They should at least have a good reason for doing this, did you notice that most of these girls were in their early twenties ? I didnt see any grannies there or women in their forties. How come? They look so silly . Men seemed really exited about it though.

          Also, there is the other issue…some boobs look really good and others look really disgusting as in totally gross. Eyesore…Those who say all breasts are beautiful are clearly mistaken.

          • ann says:

            yuck…really not loving a whole gamut of your points here…namely these:

            1. The price we pay for living in complex societies is that we must follow rules or laws that are intended to keep things running smoothly for the majority.

            ahem. sometimes the rules are just…wrong.

            2. Also, any woman concerned with her safety should be very careful about where she decides to go topless , case in point the stripper that goes topless in NY city. Its like she almost asking to be abused .

            really? this is supposed to be one of those costs of living in a "complex society," yeah? how about short skirts? this is tantamount to the "she was asking for it" line…kinda makes the sick come up in my mouth a bit.

            3. Also, there is the other issue…some boobs look really good and others look really disgusting as in totally gross. Eyesore…Those who say all breasts are beautiful are clearly mistaken.

            all that hate! honey, you're just not used to seeing 'em! they're all kinds of different! you say eyesore…i say beautiful.

            you've also mentioned that only straight men love boobs – gonna disagree with you on that one, too…i know too many gay men and straight women who love-love-love 'em! i'm calling evolution on YOU this time! yeah we love boobs – they're from whence the milk cameth! they're the symbol of our first provider, our first protector!

            you make a whole lot of blanket statements about what people like and dislike…i think you're too filled with judgment to be making those calls for the rest of us.

            respect.

          • Susan says:

            "ahem. sometimes the rules are just…wrong"

            No one is talking about right or wrong here, if you dont like them you can always move to country where there are laws but cant be enforced by the state , a failed state , i guess youll like the law of the jungle better.

            "really? this is supposed to be one of those costs of living in a "complex society," yeah? how about short skirts? this is tantamount to the "she was asking for it" line…kinda makes the sick come up in my mouth a bit."

            There will always be weirdos and sickos in all societies that will take advantage of others, if you dont know this then you are being incredibly naive.

            "all that hate! honey, you're just not used to seeing 'em! they're all kinds of different! you say eyesore…i say beautiful. "

            It is not hate, it objectivity and realism. Saying all boobs are beautiful just to be polite is dishonest.

            "you make a whole lot of blanket statements about what people like and dislike…i think you're too filled with judgment to be making those calls for the rest of us."

            No one is making calls for "the rest of us" this is an open forum where people get to say what they think, that is exactly what Im doing , saying what is on my mind.

          • Susan says:

            "lori ann, i never felt like standing up for women's rights to bare the boob until reading the comments on your post! (the article was great, by the way) particularly unimpressed with austin and susan's comments…really hateful, ignorant stuff, people."

            Ohhhh, because you dont judge right?….funny.

          • Alexis says:

            their not hateful or ignorant. their opinionated. and we should all respect each others views, there is no right or wrong

          • ann says:

            "the law of the jungle"? i'm done here.

  5. [...] The Boob Revolt: Let All Breasts Be Free. {Nudity} ~ Lori Ann Lothian (elephantjournal.com) [...]

  6. We applaud your sticking your head into the lion's den here with some inconvenient truths, Susan. Nudists, of ALL people would love to be able to wander about nude, but most of us realize that's an unreasonable proposition for many reasons. You cite some of them here, primarily that human beings come pre-equipped with certain responses to stimuli for the sake of procreation. Men are attracted to women, and women's bodies are a large part of that attraction.

    It's all well and good to educate folks about what they SHOULD think about subjects like nudity or body image, and about seeing the person and not the body, but that's easier said than done. Rarely do people change lifetime beliefs AND go against nature simply because they're told to do so.

    It is indeed possible to view the human form without sexual thoughts; naturists have been doing it for a long time now. But that is a unique group of people under controlled circumstances where the social norm is to do so. More than that, nudists voluntarily WANT that to be the social norm, unlike Textile society where EVERYTHING is tied to or sold by sex. We're inundated by sexual imagery and suggestion, and a society so attuned to equating nudity with sexuality can't stop doing so simply because a small minority tells them that their thinking, their culture, their religion, their friends, their own inner feelings (and physical bodily reactions) and everything else they see tells them otherwise.

    There have been body taboos throughout history in virtually every culture, a few exceptions notwithstanding, and the reason is that sex is such a powerful human motivator and can be disruptive to a society. Society protects itself by minimizing temptation by hiding the parts felt to be responsible. Breasts are almost universally held to be in that category in most circumstances.

    Topfreedom is likely to become a reality in the not-so-distant future not because society is convinced that it should be, but because our modern democratic system often legalizes things simply because there isn't a LEGAL basis for not doing so, not because it's necessarily a good idea for society. Freedom and order are in conflict when civil rights issues arise which rock the boat, and sometimes freedom wins out over social stability.

    When that day comes we'll likely see the same thing we see now in New York and other places where bare breasts are permitted; few will do it. As has been pointed out, just having the right to do something doesn't mean folks will want to. All those social and personal 'reasons' for covering breasts now will still remain and few women are willing to deal with them. Most of us aren't activists and prefer to remain firmly in the 'normal' camp when it comes to behavior.

    Ha! THAT coming from a nudist!

    Whether we like it or not, appearance is extremely important to most folks, both that of themselves and of others. Few will go out of their way to highlight their perceived flaws when the addition of a few square inches of fabric can make them appear to be satisfactorily 'attractive'. As they say, a woman in a bikini is far sexier than a simply nude woman, and makeup and attire can make a model out of a wallflower.

    Sorry for such a long response, but we at All-Nudist.com take an approach to problems which includes recognizing the reality of a situation when seeking solutions rather than following the popular line of reasoning. That includes realizing that there are some things that cannot be changed just because repeating that they're wrong.

    Women SHOULD be able to be topless, for all the same reasons that we all SHOULD be able to be nude in public; there is no valid reason not to. That doesn't change all the INVALID but real reasons it's not happening!

    Thanks for you logical and reasonable comments, it's hard sometimes to be the one that points out practicalities when everyone else is shouting you-rah rah!

  7. Lori Ann – Great article, we'll be sharing it! So much fuss over such an outwardly simple thing!

    One mention, WordPress doesn't censor, it must be a problem with image size or something, though we've haven't run across this before with pics. Believe me, WP doesn't care about a pair of breasts!

  8. Auki says:

    Observing as a heterosexual man: Keeping women's breasts covered with tiny garments actually makes them much more sexual. When breasts are covered they become like the forbidden fruit… and men (everyone really) want what they cannot have. In indigenous cultures where women keep their breasts exposed all the time the breasts are no more sexual than say, the ear or the ankle. I support women's rights one-hundred percent. However, as a matter of personal taste and preference I prefer cultures, women (and men) who are modest — not ashamed, but modest — about displaying themselves.

    • Kathy says:

      Agreed. Case in point, the sight of a wrist or ankle is salacious in fundamentalist Muslim countries. And really, it isn't even the breasts….it's the nipples. You can see as much breast as you can, but if that nipple pops out, all bets are off.

      I went to France/Italy a few times with my kids and husband. The kids were agog about the advertsements on the street and in magazines with topless women, and not just in sexy poses trying to sell perfume. It was an interesting teaching point…

  9. Austin says:

    The truth is in ANY modern culture breasts are sexual to 99% of men. Even in Europe where many say the lame line "nobody bats an eyelid about topless women on the beach" the truth is that THEY DO look and they look a lot. Men in European countries where topless women are allowed to expose private areas to the public for any number of reasons, look at just as much porn as Americans do. Even in tribal communities where women are often always topless, there have been stories of women saying they get their breasts groped constantly and the men treat them like crap. Scientific studies have shown that men often think of women as tools when they see them nude. Feminists say women should display their bodies(nudists also) but the truth is it NEVER becomes non sexual. You may get accustomed to it but the sexuality is still there.

    There in lies the problem with nudity since sin came into the world. Before sin came into the world Adam and Eve was like the animals in that they didn't even know that they was naked. After they sinned, they learned they was naked and covered up. Nudity outside of marriage is shameful and sinful. A study on nudists has shown that a LARGE portion of them have mental issues, go figure.

    Men and women are different. Very few men would object to any woman touching their exposed nipple but women even if topless still object. Its a tease and women who go topless do so for voyeuristic reasons and for attention. At a young age women learn men look at their bodies and aim to get attention from the males by revealing their bodies. Women like the attention they get when they reveal/get naked around men.

    If people truly got over nudity as the nudists say, nudism would have taken off a long time ago. Even in Europe, it has slowed way down and fewer go nude and topless on public beaches. Also if men truly got over naked women, porn wouldnt be a billion dollar industry and there wouldnt be topless and nude women on magazine covers and billboards in Europe.

    Dont believe the lies people. God wants us to be modest and nudity in public is not modest.

  10. cheersmoron says:

    This has to top the most usless articles I have ever read in my life.

  11. ann says:

    lori ann, i never felt like standing up for women's rights to bare the boob until reading the comments on your post! (the article was great, by the way) particularly unimpressed with austin and susan's comments…really hateful, ignorant stuff, people.

  12. @audreyvp says:

    You may find these two articles interesting;

    On Pink's feelings about breast feeding in public http://moms.today.com/_news/2012/09/25/14096764-r
    and
    Trying to explain why men love women's breasts written by, you guessed it, men
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-young-phd/bre

  13. Amazon says:

    if you can't hang with the BIG DOGS stay on the porch! I love it! :)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Biased. This is not about religion. Its about Women's rights and acceptance. "A study on nudists has shown that a LARGE portion of them have mental issues, go figure." They don't have mental problems they just want to be free. I've actually hung out with a large group of nudists and have studied psychology. They don't seem to have any problems. Labeling because people want to feel free and accept their body?

  15. Wikaniko says:

    Statistics suggest that women who wear bras more often than women who don’t, will suffer higher rates of breast cancer. There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that breast-feeding has massive health benefits for both the mother and the child. But society still seems to have a problem in some way with women’s breasts. There is also the massive sexual inequality that makes women feel that it is somehow wrong to expose them. All this needs to change if we want future generations to be healthier in both mind and body.

  16. jim fry says:

    * bellissimo *

    "Which brings me to the real issue. Women do not have problems with the possibility of a bare-breasted society. Men do."

    My perspective, complicated by years of cultural programming I've not fully unwoven, is that the entire spectrum of sexual customs and context has been distorted as a result of folks seeking to govern each other. From governments over populations, to purported experts and authorities over whomever may be spell bound to parents over their children and partners over each other.

    What I feel you've nailed with a sledge hammer ( :: winks :: ) is that many (but not all) men seek to subjugate women (mothers, sisters, lovers, spouses and daughters) and breasts are a convenient landscape to culture.scape upon.

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