I believe the argument that many gender equality and topfreedom advocates use, that breasts should not be sexual, is deeply terrifying to many men and women and forms a barrier to normalizing breast exposure.
Both genders use the breasts of both genders to assess physical attractiveness (which can be translated as sexual worth.) It is disingenuous to say breasts are not ever sexual. They are one of the defining features of the physique.
One of the most erotic things I have ever seen was a family of Indian women, without men present, performing a “hand dance” together, in which they simply moved their hands rhythmically, with deadpan facial expressions.
Every body part has sexual and non-sexual functions.
My blog is about normalizing the sight of female breasts. Part of that is understanding what breasts mean to people of both genders and then bringing that understanding forth in your demeanor when appearing bare-chested in public.
I think it’s fair to say that most men, straight or gay, enjoy the sight of female breasts. Mature males understand that female capability and attractiveness are not linked, except perhaps in the nebulous sense that confidence in one arena begets confidence in another. An immature male (of any age) will reduce a woman to only those parts of her body that please him and associate her ability to please him sexually in some way with her ability to perform other functions. If that immature man has power, (employer, teacher, father, spouse, police officer, politician) then it becomes a real and urgent problem.
One of the arguments that topfreedom fighters employ, understandably, is to say that since breasts are viewed as sexual, and since sexual bias limits women or makes them targets of predation, breasts should be made non-sexual. They are for feeding babies, the argument goes, not for pleasing men.
Yes, but no.
My argument is that the woman who owns them gets to decide what they are for and when, and that men can develop the maturity to both enjoy the sight of breasts and not then reduce the owner of those breasts to simply those breasts. The women and men with whom I choose to associate understand that beauty can be found in all elements of a woman’s existence.
I say this to emphasize that there is a difference between my opinions and my tactics.
Tactically speaking, it is important to understand that women have for all eternity used breasts to attract sexual partners (male or female). I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s real and we have to acknowledge it to move forward in our goal of normalizing the sight of bare breasts. The thought of removing breasts from the arsenal of tools women can use to attract a mate is going to terrify some women.
When I am walking bare-chested, I see this play out in the reactions of attractive, provocatively dressed women. Life to them, as I interpret it, is a constant battle to either attract a mate or to protect the mate they have from being drawn away by a more attractive female.
They often see me coming from a distance and experience an instant conflict. They want to assess my threat level while also looking at the man beside them to see what his reaction is. Are they losing him? What do they have to do to regain his attention? And they do this fascinating move, which is to turn their head toward their man, but their eyes toward me, which has the effect of exposing the whites of the eyes (mid-brain!)
Then, and this is almost universal, their expression turns from the hitherto attempted and failed deadpan to a specific type of anger, which is, “You bitch. I have to do that to compete now?”
Pause here to ponder the incredible poignancy of the women who have mastectomies and struggle with body image and sexual confidence, and celebrate the strength of the women who find peace.
For the purposes of my blog, which is to empower women venturing forth bare-chested, it is important to understand people’s feelings on breasts and honor them.
This means, from a practical standpoint, reducing the mid-brain fear reactions people have about bare-chested women. Announcing to the world that we are going to show you so many breasts that breasts become non-sexual is asking for a collective panic attack from both genders.
In the guerilla warfare sense of it all, go ahead! Show the world so many breasts that it becomes desensitized, just don’t announce that! Simply go out and do it, quietly, relentlessly, unapologetically until it becomes normal.