Making breasts happy instead of scary (part 1, parents and kids.)

Near Union Station, Washington, D.C. Summer 2015.   This gentleman and his wife were driving by, circled back around and stopped to ask me questions and ask for a photo.  They were polite and supportive.
Near Union Station, Washington, D.C. Summer 2015.
This gentleman and his wife were driving by, circled back around and stopped to ask me questions and ask for a photo. They were polite and supportive.

Anger is fear.

People who show anger toward my bare breasts are really showing fear.  Seeing a bare-chested woman, especially unexpectedly, is new and disturbing to many Americans.

Female bare-chestedness should never be scary, in my opinion.  Instilling fear is a very useful tool when trying to sway politicians.  Shouting protesters can and do change political will.  But intimidation is counterproductive when trying to change public sentiment.  Reacting to angry (fearful) people by shouting at them only makes them more afraid, which pushes us farther from our goal of acceptance and normalization.

To reduce the fear reaction, I have pondered what makes certain types of people afraid of bare female breasts.

Again, the vast majority of my interactions and reactions are either positive or neutral.

Not surprisingly, I sometimes see negative responses from mothers and fathers who have their children with them at the time they encounter me.  Let me add immediately though that most mothers and fathers have handled it beautifully, without strong reactions.  Often in Ocean City, Maryland, families will clearly see me and still set their blankets near me.  This always makes my heart happy.

Children themselves almost never notice my attire until they reach the age of about 11 or 12, and even then they will proceed unaffected with whatever they were doing.

Parents, by my interpretation (and experience raising our own child), experience a complicated cascade of emotions when they see anything that will require a conversation with their children that makes the parents themselves feel conflicted and uncomfortable.  (Sex, drugs, bullying, religion, etc.)  Kids look at me and sort of universally shrug, like huh, she’s not wearing a shirt.  That’s new.  But at that age, kids experience new things every day, so it’s not especially jarring.

To many adults, however, parents or not, new things automatically represent potential danger.  Parenting is difficult and scary work.  We have to protect our children from so many things, and we get so exhausted, that it becomes easier sometimes to build a wall of normality around them.  My personal opinion is that this wall is as much to reduce anxiety in the parents as it is to protect the children, and that it can actually endanger children and society by limiting the amount of discovery they experience.  It raises adults who are afraid of each other without knowing why.

At the same time, we can’t let our children discover that traffic is dangerous by getting hit by a car.  So to honor that reality, I present myself as sexually neutral as possible.  Sexual predation is terrifying.  So when I appear bare-chested, I just appear bare-chested.  No high-heels, no photo-shoots, no shouting, no attention-grabs.

I understand completely the premise behind slut-walks and anti-shaming campaigns.  I support their message whole-heartedly.  But my blog is about normalizing bare female breasts, which will only happen when people are no longer afraid of them.

Walking bare-chested in the United States is a disruptive, jarring act.  Breasts are sexual commodities in the United States.  Freely displaying them for no commercial gain is confusing and new, and thus, by definition, scary.

The only experience many people have with bare breasts is sexual, or commercially sexual. and they don’t understand why I am being sexual in front of their children.  This triggers their protective parent reflex.  Fair enough.  The best way to counteract this response is through careful, repetitive non-sexual breast exposure that desensitizes the American eye to the sight of breasts.

After that, we can begin talking about the beautiful subtleties of sexuality.

<…Continued…>

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6 thoughts on “Making breasts happy instead of scary (part 1, parents and kids.)

  1. Hey Gingerbread!
    Thanks for your comment on dare2btopfree. I went to reply but realized it didn’t go anywhere. Wondering how you ever found my blog! I’ve been reading your entries; it feels good to know there’s a kindred spirit out there! I had a previous blog all about this issue but it got discontinued and I lost most of my writings. 😦 I do have my guide to going topfree, which was cross-posted here: http://www.epochalips.com/2014/01/a-guide-to-going-top-free/
    Enjoy!
    Heather

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Heather. I have just finished reading and enjoying your guide to going topfree. You’re right, we are kindred spirits. I love your positive, hopeful tone. I also love the feelings of liberation and confidence I get when bare-chested and I can’t wait for more and more women to experience it for themselves. I see in your post you mention San Francisco. Are you from California? It would be great to go for a walk together sometime. If you ever get to the East Coast, send me a note ahead of time and we can go for a walk.

      Like

  2. >Breasts are sexual commodities in the United States. Freely displaying them for no commercial gain is confusing and new, and thus, by definition, scary.

    I love that. You make the USA sound like the Ferengi! Your breaking rule of acquisition 382!

    As a family naturist, I am used to thinking of the whole female body as non-sexual not just any particular part or parts. At a naturist event, each woman is a human being, each man is a human being, each transgendered person, who may exhibit secondary sexual characteristics of both cisgenders, is a human being.

    Sure, the reptile brain at the back of my skull may seize control of my neck or eye muscles and cop a glance at some part of a person once in a while. But this has become less and less common over the years and I feel more and more at peace in all situations because of it.

    I remember a few short years ago, wishing that women wouldn’t wear low cut V necks at work because I found their cleavage distracting. Then it suddenly occurred to me that it must feel a lot cooler. Exposed cleavage must act a lot like a chimney on a hot day. Why should a woman sweat and be uncomfortable because I couldn’t control my eyes; it was obviously my problem and not theirs. Years later, having since become a naturist, it is hard to believe I ever thought it was a problem.

    Naturists do to ourselves what you are hoping to do to America. We expose ourselves to so much nudity as to make it non-sexual.

    I particularly like what you have to say about it being in the power of the individual to decide when their bodies are sexual and when they are not. Of course, this is what happens. I can play volleyball with women all day and their bodies are non-sexual. I can spend the whole day nude with my wife and it is clear from her behaviour that her body is non-sexual and then in a second, she can choose to make her body sexual. It is clear that this power is power over herself not power over me. It requires only respect from me. It creates a beautiful freedom that we can share.

    I hope that your project continues successfully,

    Eric Saumur

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eric,

      Haha! Thank you so much. I, and others like us, know that this is a transition and something for society to wrap its collective head around. We have centuries of conditioning to undo for both men and women, and we will only accomplish this task together. I greatly appreciate the fact that you can look back and understand what was happening and then address it internally. That takes strength of character. Personally, I believe we have eyes to see and I don’t have a problem with someone looking at me. The problems come when fear, anger, possession, domination, etc come into play…
      I am happy to know that you and your wife share such a wonderful, open, and honest relationship. The world needs so much more of that! And I am very pleased that you found my blog and reached out.
      My fiance and I do not plan on quitting the blog any time soon, so stay tuned for more breastcapades! 🙂
      Please let us know if you and your wife have any comments, questions, or ideas for the blog!

      Thanks so much!!
      Gingerbread

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just to be clear, my wife and I don’t have an “open” relationship. We are open to family naturism but not swingerism. Not that we have anything against swingers, we just aren’t them.

        As for the “eyes to see” bit, I am glad you have the self-confidence to not mind being looked at. But there are so many other women who don’t. Family naturism is a great way to build that confidence in a safe environment. That is why we design the experience to be as comfortable as possible. Part of that design includes a prohibition against staring. It is considered basic etiquette. We are a long ways away from that kind of basic etiquette being part of society in general but until we gain that, most women will probably not feel confortable exercising their rights to bare-chestedness.

        This brings to mind something you said somewhere in the blog about needing patience to move toward your goal in this way. It will be a slow long walk. You may walk your whole life and never see the change you are trying to be.

        Me and my friends at SolSeed are doing something similar in that the path we are walking seems impossibly long. We take heart in the words of Paul Krafel:http://wiki.solseed.org/Weekly_Service_Call_Readings#Gaia.27s_Whisper_from_Reversing_Spirals_in_Seeing_Nature_by_Paul_Krafel

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I meant open honest conversation lol. And I don’t see anything wrong with it either, but did not I intend to make it seem as if I thought you were. Apologies.
          We associate being looked at with some kind of threat to us. And the sad part is that it is completely legitimate in some cases. It is definitely important to begin having such discussions early in a child’s life so that they might escape the forced idea that the human body is shameful.
          I am fully aware that I may not get to see the world move up on the maturity ladder, but if I can (and I have) get even one person to reconsider what they think they know…well that’s a victory to me. I’m hoping my children will live to see more positive change in every facet of equality…
          Thank you for sharing 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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