[dropcap]I[/dropcap] want to talk about women’s breasts. While it is undeniable that they evolved for a role in child nurturing, the majority of the western world assigns an additional, sexual significance to women’s breasts. Venturing into the debate, I declare that the empress is naked, and I suggest a simple solution to this conundrum.
Women’s breasts can be a confusing subject for heterosexual men. Sometimes, the feminist assertion is that they are sexual, such as when wagging a finger of disapproval in the direction of a girly poster or a strip club. In fact, even looking at them from across a room is often at odds with the rules of polite behavior. On other occasions, the feminist position is that breasts are not sexual and that it is offensive to consider them so. Examples include the right to breast feed in public or the right to be topless in all situations where a man could be topless.
In such cases, women’s breasts are merely mammary glands which women use to feed their young. Analyzing the situation, it becomes clear that breasts have two modes – we’ll call them mode A and mode B – and the only consistent rule is that men are usually on the wrong side of the rules.
Take the recent scandal involving the long lens paparazzi photos of Kate Middleton and her husband, Prince William. A lot was made of the fact that she is topless in the photos. And yet, where are the cries, from feminists, that toplessness does not constitute nudity? It seems that, by consensus, the breasts were in mode A that occasion. In Britain we have a strange tradition called Page 3 in which photos of topless women appear in some of the tabloid papers, and almost every feminist objection to Page 3 makes reference to the fact that the models are baring their breasts. It seems that the boobies are in mode A for that one too.
Furthermore, breasts would be in mode A if a feminist mother or teacher found that a boy had a picture of a bare chested woman on his locker, on his bedroom wall or set as the backdrop on his computer. Breasts switch to mode B when feminists are marching, topless, for the right to “top-free equality”. They’re in mode B again when feminists are making it sound like men are attempting to prevent them from ever leaving the house by not allowing them to breastfeed wherever they like.
Imagine if men could control the mode of breasts. Think of how much money one could make by setting up a bar in which all of the female staff would, in common with the male members of staff, wear shorts and nothing else. “Really?”, the proprietor, could exclaim. “To me, breasts are merely mammary glands that are used to feed young children. It had never occurred to me that anyone could view them as sexually arousing. Are you suggesting that this is why I am making a fortune?”
If you’re in game development, why not shove some topless female characters into your game? Massive, jiggling boobies all-round, I say. I mean, it wouldn’t be sexual, would it? “They are objects of beauty that symbolize feminine power and fertility”, you could point out while clutching a feminist textbook. You could on go on: “Only silly schoolboys think of them as being connected with sex in some way”.
Something tells me that the people who run Facebook would be completely happy to allow women to post pictures that show their bare breasts in profile photos, but the people who are arguing in favor of it would start to complain if they did. You see, they are sacred parts of the body that must never be gazed upon. Everyone knows that.
Although most people immediately think of sex when they hear the word fetish, it is originally an economic term. Commodity fetishism is the principle that elevates the value of a lump of gold above that of a tin opener. That’s what sexual fetishes are: when something commonplace and not innately sexual such as a part of the body (or a whip or authority) is imbued with a significance that evokes a sexual response.
It is important that sexual fetishes are treated with respect. For example, if a liberal heard that a particular gay person got off on wearing leather while they are having sex, a solemn acknowledgement would be the order of the day. God help the hapless person who made a jokey reference to that practice.
Yet, breast fetishism, which is perhaps the most common sexual fetish in western culture, and has all the hallmarks of an autonomic sexual response, does not get respectful treatment. Whether brought about by social conditioning or biology, it doesn’t seem that men choose to be affected by it.
So, is the confusing feminist reaction to the mere sight of bare breasts simply a stick to hit men with? It smacks of a typical “have their cake and eat it” situation in that feminists want all of the benefits of having bodies that are sexualized, without accepting a few, minor inconveniences that result from that.
A cynical person might conclude that this is a tactic employed by feminists in order to make themselves the victims of an imagined hardship. Perhaps, it’s a battle of wills in which feminists attempt to claim that black is white and up is, in fact, down? Or, perhaps they are telling the truth and are genuinely ignorant of the sexually arousing effect of bare breasts on most men? I propose a test to find out.
Next time you are talking to a feminist, ask if you can see her breasts. Surely, you can argue, she could not object? For breasts, as many feminists argue, are not sexual. If it is a colleague that you are debating with, she may object that the breasts are sexual or non-sexual depending on the context. You can reply – with a look of astonishment – that the workplace is a context in which feminists have argued that women should be able to bare their breasts. Perhaps you could request a photo of a woman’s breasts over email or Facebook, if she is a feminist? After all, it wouldn’t be sexual.