5.2
September 24, 2012

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

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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jim fry Jan 8, 2013 1:20pm

* 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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Lori Lothian

Lori Ann Lothian is a spiritual revolutionary, divine magic maker and all-purpose scribe. Her articles on love, relationships, enlightenment and sex have appeared at Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Yoganonymous, Origin magazine, Better After 50, XO Jane and on her hit personal blog The Awakened Dreamer. She is also the creator of The 40 Day Magic Challenge. a daily practice to create a masterpiece life of ease, flow, joy and prosperity. 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