During the Renaissance period, women’s legs were banned from sight. In 1907, Australian underwater ballerina Annette Kellerman was thrown in jail for showing her arms and neck in a swimsuit. In 2015, women are still publically shamed when exposing their breasts.
In this age, with the development of gender equality, this unfair stanza must be recognized; it’s time to realize that if men are allowed to reveal their nipple in a public setting, women should be able to do so as well.
Many people say that because a woman’s breast is shaped differently from a man’s, it should be covered up. Because it is supposedly more prominent, it should be hidden from society.
But this thought, this ideal, is both stereotypical and misinformed.
Firstly, women and men have completely different body shapes in general. Of course, some women have more masculine features, and some men are more feminine than the orthodox standard, but the two genders are not built the same. And this difference occurs in areas other than the chest.
Women’s waists traditionally curve more than their male counterparts’ and men have the ability to sculpt their upper abdomen in ways that women cannot physically achieve. The thighs are not the same; the shoulders have a different structure — even chins change in both angularity and possible hair growth.
Fundamentally, men and women have completely varying bodies. But for some reason, female breasts are the banned segment, the taboo of society.
Furthering into this, many men actually have more prominent breasts than many women. If it were to say that a female’s breasts were banned because of their larger size, then these males should face the same consequences for exposing their own nipples. And yet, that is not the case.
The size of the organ does not matter and the shape of the organ does not matter within today’s standards; what does matter is who owns the breasts—the female or the male.
Sounds very sexist to me.
Furthermore, cleavage is not even banned, nor is any part of the breasts’ enveloping skin that differentiates in form. Once the areola appears, however, all is forbidden.
But, unjust as it is, this specific part of the human anatomy looks exactly the same on men as it does on women. Only again, however, society requires that the individualized female cover up her skin, simply because of the sex she was born into. Women’s bodies suddenly become shameful and degraded.
The true difference is the actual function of the nipple, which I completely acknowledge; it is commonly understood that women produce milk after a child’s birth. People believe that because women’s breasts aid in a life-sustaining process, they are not appropriate for everyday viewing.
However, life-sustaining is very different from life-creating, and breasts have nothing to do with the latter; breasts are not sexual organs whatsoever. I do acknowledge that the different reproductive organs should remain hidden because of their complicated function that young children do not need to know about, but breasts are not involved with the act of procreation at all. They’ve just commercially been turned into a symbol of sex, objectified by the media and outdated beliefs.
This whole act of objectification results in an increased amount of threatening situations for the female gender. Because their apparently placed breasts on the front of the chests—which girls cannot always hide and should not need to—are not easily kept from sight, and because everyday people associate these organs with sex, girls become easy targets to sick predators. If we as a whole society were to reverse the thought the breasts are sexual organs, their sight would not turn on predators and females would be safer.
If women’s nipples become publicly acceptable, however, girls shouldn’t just walk around half-naked all of the time. Men cannot go into a professional setting without their shirts today, and that same principle should reflect on all women. Our culture should always aim for equality, not extremism. This ideal would just result in the fact that women can take off their blouses when working on a hot day, or that they can expose skin in a movie while keeping it PG. All it takes is a new, accepting look at the female anatomy throughout our society.
Basically, what I’m calling for is a different outlook on this average area of skin. Instead of identifying the chest as an unequal sex symbol, we as a people — and therefore a society — must mature and realize that, if we are going to reach gender equality, breasts need to be seen as what they are: a functioning body part, not an uncomfortable organ or a shameful piece of tissue, but an equal structure on both the male and female body.
If within 100 years, forearms could go from sex objects to completely average limbs, then breasts can do the same. It just takes a new and, at first, uncomfortable mindset. In the end, however, there could be a new step towards gender equality and improved safety for half of the entire population.
by Cruz Control (Elena Cruz)