Boobs: There were a couple of stories in the news this week about boobs.
The first involved a mother in Vermont who was asked to get off a flight because of breast feeding. Ok, I will admit it. I am not totally comfortable when women breast feed in front of me. Surely this is because at least part of me has bought into the whole patriarchal idea that boobs are primarily a sexual part of the body. The thing is though, in reality, they aren’t. Breasts are primarily for feeding children. It is inexcusable for an airline staff person to tell a woman not to breast feed on a plane. This is ultimately a cultural issue and the problem is NOT women who breast feed in public, the problem is a culture that sexualizes a body part so much that people like me end up having a distorted view of the very purpose of boobs. Interestingly, the solution to this cultural problem is to encourage women to breast feed in public. For as uncomfortable as I sometimes get around breast feeding, I have become much less so as I have been exposed to it. Oh and I don’t mind mentioning that breast feeding on planes is a particular place where it should be encouraged. You see, breast feeding helps kids equalize the pressure in their ears. Which makes them more comfortable which in turn leads to LESS CRYING. Trust me, when I see a woman breast feeding on a plane, there is a part of me that wants to say to that woman, “Thanks for making my flight better!” Loud crying causes me way more irritation than my discomfort with breast feeding does!
The second major boob story this week involved silicone breast implants. The FDA has lifted the ban on silicone breast implants. What I thought was interesting about this story was that for cosmetic surgery, the cut off age is now 22. That seems strange. I mean, we let women vote when they are 18. We let them drink when they are 21. But they have to be 22 in order to get a boob job with silicone boobs? I assume a younger woman can still get a saline boob job. It just seems weird. OH well. As it happens, I am not a big fan of boob jobs for cosmetic reasons but then, I have always had really big tits so I have no idea what it is to go through life with small boobs in our culture where breasts are valued so highly as sexual items. Still, when faced with stories like this, I find myself wishing that women could learn to like their bodies the way that they happen to be. Even so, I imagine that women who are younger than 22 are perfectly able to make their own decisions about their bodies even if they might make decisions I would rather they didn’t even feel the need to make.