Boobs – What are they for?

I have a pair of boobs. Most women (and some men) do. Unless she has had a mastectomy a woman will have breasts. In an evolutionary perspective our boobs are meant as a tool in the most important job men and women do – procreate. Tits are an almost free source of food (for those who have enough milk), fast-food and food-on-the-go for infants and small children. The raw materials needed for our milk-factories to do their jobs are taken from the woman’s body.

Aside from providing meals on the go for children, “the ladies” provide both pleasure and pain. Growth pains when children become adults, when “snuggle pups” become “milk cans”, and during menstrual cycles are NOT fun. When our babies scream milk squirts from our nipples and our glands harden. I remember those first inhalations of food by my sons. Talk about pain.

Pleasure can be had while our “jugs” are dripping all over the place, but things are more fun when we aren’t acting as milk fountains for our children.

All of this makes me wonder why some people seem so against breastfeeding in public. Granted, some “nunga-nungas” are lovely to look at. Using “rib-cushions” to sell products is something we do in our repressed Western societies. That’s fine with me. Just as using a man’s buffed torso sells products, so will a woman’s buffed torso in many of our societies. We see more or less naked bodies around us wherever we go. I would think we would all be used to it. But take a “gob-stopper” out of its confinement and use it to fill the stomach of a child, and some people practically begin frothing at the mouth.

We perpetuate the over-sexualization of breasts by hiding away the natural use for them and attaching shame and discomfort to it, and in doing so we are in fact harming young girls and women.

This is bigger than just a personal rant for wanting to nurse without a cover. It is certainly not “just another mommy war”. It is about our society’s values and cultural lessons, and how we are raising each generation to think about the human body. It is about all of us. (Beth)

As seen in the pictures above, not all cultures see the baring of a breast in order to feed a child as something unusual. Indeed, the rest of the woman may be covered while she is allowed to feed her baby in public. Where does this type of socialization come from?

It’s confusing to own breasts, because on a deeply subconscious level (or maybe not so subconscious) a woman has to wonder—if breasts are so great at selling things, does that mean the ones on her body would be?  Sexy enough to sell something, that is?  What if the ones on her body are smaller than most of the ones that sell stuff—or bigger?  What if they bounce less, or more?  What if they’re not simultaneously perky and exceedingly large—is that natural, and sexy?  Yes, the cultural interest in breasts can be confusing to a woman.

And it’s not like this confusion is an occasional thing, say something we run into once every couple of months.  No, breasts are so fantastic at selling things that they pop up everywhere, all the time.  I haven’t studied the matter, but it would be interesting to know how many breasts the average American views in a week.  I bet we really rack ‘em up.

Of all these breasts we see, very few are ever doing what they were made to do:  feeding children.  That’s right, y’all.  The magnificent, versatile breast not only brings us pleasure and sells us a variety of fascinating and delicious products, it also feeds children. (Elizabeth Hall Magill)

I breast-fed my oldest son until he was six months. At that point he was more interested in the bottle. There wasn’t enough milk in me to fill him up. My second son was breast-fed until he was about 18 months. At that point I said, “no more”. I wanted my body back. The time we had together for such a long period of time was loving, sweet and bonding. When it was over I was happy to get on with a regular life with my body.

In the matter of breastfeeding or no, I am all pro-choice. I suppose I am pro-choice about a lot of things. Using our “mother lodes” for the purpose evolution intended would be nicer if women weren’t considered as some sort of deviant for nursing in public.


Nicknames for breasts


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