Updated: Apr 3
These are all photos of Paula over the years
When our daughter was in high school, I was dragged into acting in a few stage productions at the local playhouse. One year I was the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. As all the munchkins and jitterbugs were played by children and teens, we had a large number of children present backstage. The woman who played the Wicked Witch of the West was a very talented actor in her early thirties and more relevant to this post, was very attractive. She was slim but had unusually large breasts, at least 36 DD’s. As most theater people are not shy about their bodies, over the rehearsal months we saw a lot of those breasts. No, she did not fully expose herself to the teens and children milling around. We are in South Carolina after all, but on occasion, a surprising amount of her generous bust was on display. As a long-term drama person, she thought nothing of it.
On the crew was a group of high school age home school students who used this experience as part of their schooling. In the American South, where we live, most homeschool students come from fundamentalist Christian homes. Not surprisingly, the younger kids hardly noticed her, but the teens did. For me, watching the sheltered teenagers watching the witches’ breasts was quite an opportunity to learn more about how teens react to nudity. At one of the first dress rehearsals, the witch was sitting gand etting on her “green face” as the director fussed with the munchkins on stage. As she had to change clothes and makeup between Kansas and Oz she stripped down to a pair of micro-shorts and a very abbreviated halter sports bra, in which a great deal of her bust was on display. It was the first time the teens had seen her change like this.
The next day, when she was again changing, a teenage boy, who had clearly lived a very sheltered life was talking to her. I have no doubt before he joined this production, he had never spent time with someone like her (she lived with her boyfriend…. such a sin). Over the prior month of rehearsal, he had discovered she was just a regular person, not a demon. I heard him say with clear admiration in his voice, “I’ve never known anyone like you. You are so comfortable in your own skin.”
I knew exactly what he meant, with my fundamentalist background I interpreted this to mean “I’ve never known a woman that doesn’t seem to care who sees her boobs.” The witch also understood and said, “They’re just mounds of fat, nothing special.”
She was wrong though. Yes, a woman’s breasts are just mounds of fat with latent mammary glands, but to say they are nothing special to humans is simply not true.
Anthropologists make a convincing argument that human females evolved “swollen” breasts because, unlike other mammals, humans do not have a physiological signal when they are fertile. They don’t get in heat and are receptive to sex at any time. The female has protruding breasts to tell males she is sexually developed enough to mate. Breasts are not just lumps of fat. Contrary to the insistence of some feminists that breasts are not sexual; they are, in biological fact, the primary way females advertise they are sexually available and desirable.
So it should be no surprise that males are drawn to this visible symbol of female sexuality. It isn’t objectification or male chauvinism, it is basic biology that makes the breast the focus of male attention. Sure men also are drawn to asses, but that is an even older biological response, harkening to our quadruped roots, one must only see a dog in heat to see where that came from.
It has been suggested that people in the modern world are only obsessed with breasts because they are nearly universally hidden. However, reviewing historical and anthropological records would suggest that indeed exposed breasts do become normalized in societies (normally tropical) where they are usually left uncovered. Even in places where women nearly universally leave their breasts exposed, upright perky breasts are still admired by men as a sign of sexual desirability. Yes, by keeping them hidden modern humans have amped up that focus to the point of fetish, but it is not the base reason for the fascination with the female breast.
Boobs, tits, knockers, hooters, melons, ta ta’s, fun bags, the list could go on and on. Men and women are obsessed with breasts and always have been. Even in eras of highly conservative values such as Victorian England and post-war USA, breast were put on display. Sure the ‘real thing’ was hidden under layers of fabric, but that just meant they had to be all the more accentuated by corsets and bullet bras.
When I was shooting glamour photos professionally, the face of my client was the primary focus, but her breast was most definitely one of the secondary points I brought into the composition. This would also be true in the photos I collect from other talented glamour photographers. Bare breast, draped breast, breast with the nipple just peeking through; they all have their own allure. As a photographer, I like smaller or midsized breasts for the simple fact they don’t move around. Large unsupported breasts seem to move of their own accord and are very difficult to photograph; except for surgically augmented ones, they stay put.
A client from nearly 20 years ago shot with my full manual Nikon.
And then there is the notion of valuing women solely for their breasts.
The truth is that most men are not particular and are aroused by the sight of just about any woman’s breasts. Women however are prone to make judgments of other women based on their breasts. My experience is that women judge other women’s breasts far more harshly than men ever do. I would suggest that the approval of women is a larger factor in the desire to get breast implants than to please men. And, increasingly this effort to impress or show-up other women is to no avail as women with ‘natural’ breasts are increasingly critical of those with augmented ones.
Big soft breasts, small muscular breasts, half bowl breasts, perky upturned breasts, breasts pulled down by their own weight, big areolas, tiny areolas, the variety goes on and on. Men tend to have breast types they are most attracted to. A study in the 80’s found that men with physical jobs tended to like large breasted women, while men with desk jobs tended to be more attracted to smaller breasted women. What that means….. I don’t know; but it does show that there are patterns to sexual attraction based on breasts.
So I will close by saying my wife’s breasts are perfect. They were perfect for the first 20 years of our marriage as 34 B’s, they were still perfect as 36 DD’s during her late 40’s & 50’s and now she is back to 34 B’s, and they are still wonderful. No, she did not (as my own mother did) get implants to make them bigger, her breast size has just changed over time.
So I will make the radical proposal that the size and shape of breasts are not nearly as important as the woman to whom they are attached. But, like it or not, breasts matter.