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Image right; Who says women don't look?
Sophia Loren and Jane Mansfield
Throughout history the female breast has been a symbol of femininity and power, in some cultures the breasts have been uncovered or even accentuated as in ancient Mycean and Minoan cultures, or today in our world of glamour where bare breasts are permitted and the human body as an object of art.
At other times they have been covered and even bound and today in Western society bare breasts are accepted at beaches, night clubs and some festivals. Accentuated breasts (cleavage) have become tools to gain power in commerce and in attracting a mate.
Breasts display enormous variation between individuals, they can be small, flat, tear-shaped or pear-shaped, droopy or perky, immense and plump, dominated by big dark nipples or the palest pink ones. There is huge interest in breasts - everybody loves them: men, women, babies and advertisers.
Western cultures in particular have a fascination with breasts, some consider this in the light that the female body as the bringer of life is an object of reverence and worship, its softness and natural curves a subject of admiration as artistic beauty of which the breast are part of the package.
Image right; Fashion 500 B.C.
Ever since genders started dressing differently, breasts have been over-emphasised - apart from the androgynous 1920’s and bra-burning of the ‘60’s. The empire-line push-up breasts of Jane Austen years or the pointy, cone-like breasts of the 1950’s are testament to this. With the amount of attention placed on breasts it is no wonder that women will do almost anything to achieve the ‘perfect’ breast - padding, strapping, Wonder-Bras or surgery.
The 1960’s saw an extensive women's rights movement that saw breasts become an important issue in feminism. Bra-burning was a symbol of freedom, of removing the restrictions placed on women by men.
Around this time there also came an increased awareness of breast cancer. As a disease that focuses almost solely on women, research and treatment had not been as substantial or as demanding as other medical studies focusing on diseases that afflicted men or both sexes.
Demonstrations in America during the early 90’s resulted in a considerable increase in funding for breast-cancer projects and as a result, a drop in breast cancer fatalities.
The female breast is absolutely fascinating in any aspect it may take - that of a sexual, desirable object to a man, or of the bringer of life to newborn babies, or of the breast that belongs solely to a woman, and her alone.
Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence.
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