All Articles Tagged "breasts"
At age 10, there was nothing I wanted more than to wear a bra. Some girls in my grade had already started wearing training bras, and I yearned desperately to be part of that club. I vividly remember the day that my mother gave me my first trainer. I was filled with such joy that I gave a huge smile that stretched from ear to ear. That very “sexy” (to my then 10-year-old eyes) trainer bra, black with a little bit of lace trimming, was all mine. I was becoming a real bra-wearing woman.
As the years rolled by, my excitement for bra wearing evolved into boredom, which grew into mild annoyance, which finally ballooned into full-on dislike. Underwire, hooks, straps… all of it became too cumbersome, so much so that a couple months back I unwittingly started weaning myself off of bras. Now, I know some people are probably rolling their eyes at this point and thinking to themselves, “Here’s another hippie chick thinking she’s too good for basic societal norms like bra wearing,” but let me assure you that I have no deep seeded desire to be countercultural for the sake of being countercultural. My motivation for going braless is far less political or interesting than that: I just want to be more comfortable.
At first, I started off not wearing a bra at home after work, but that quickly extended to braless weekends (yes, even in public). The only place I was yet to venture braless was to work. I won’t lie; I did have some initial worries about going into work sans bra. I kept imagining that I would be summoned to HR, scolded for letting my bosom run amuck, and sent home with a stern warning. HR would later issue a company-wide email reminding all female staff that all breasts must remain appropriately contained during work hours. None of that happened, in fact, not a single person even eyed my chest suspiciously. I relished in my new found freedom for the whole week.
When I’ve told friends that being braless is a thing I’m doing regularly now they, too, have failed to notice. But, their reactions can be summed up into three general remarks:
OMG, what about nippleage?
What about it? I first became aware that female nipples were taboo right around the time my breasts were developing. It was 1996 and the Spice Girls had just dropped the music video to their debut hit single “Wannabe” when I learned that the video had been banned in some countries because Mel B had a nip situation going on that you could easily see. The point here is that nipples weren’t a big deal to me until I was told that they’re a big deal. We’ve been conditioned to see women’s nipples as vulgar, and I’m not sure why. The mere semblance of nipples visible through clothing whips us into frenzy, yet those are the same nipples that may provide nourishment to an infant. Meh, I’m over nippleage.
Loose boobs jiggle too much—they’ll be too sexual!
For most of the day I’m not engaged in intense physical activity, so there isn’t a whole lot of boob movement happening that could sexually entice a thirsty on-looker. On the contrary, I think that my breasts look sexier when I’m wearing a bra. Bras smoosh by breasts close together to create the appearance of cleavage, make them look plumper and rounder and hike them further up my chest for all to see; whereas without a bra, my 34C breasts hang a little lower, the cleavage disappears and they look smaller.
Get ready for your boobs to sag to your knees!
Ugh, this is by far the most common response I get. So here’s the thing, whether bras can actually prevent breast sagging is still hotly debatable. Some women swear by wearing a bra 24/7 to keep the girls perky, while others claim that getting rid of the bra actually helped them gain a little lift. In any case, what we do know for sure is that age will eventually take its toll and the elasticity of the Cooper’s ligaments, which help to keep up the breasts, will slacken. So until then, I plan on enjoying as much bra-free time I can.
What I will say about going braless, which is a bit of a negative, is that what you choose to wear does become quite important if you’re not trying to draw attention to that area. I favor dark colors over lighter ones, and sometimes I will layer with a tank top or camisole underneath if I’m feeling too naked on that day. I will also add that, unfortunately for me, it does hurt to work out without a bra on, so I do compromise on this and wear a sports bra during high impact workouts.
I’m not advocating that everyone should try going braless, especially if you experience pain without a bra on. My personal experience has been that not wearing a bra is usually most comfortable, in spite of professional bra fittings and spending several coins on top-end bras. So if you are interested in breaking up with your bras but have been too scared to, take comfort in knowing that there are other women out there who are already doing it—you probably just don’t notice it.
Do you do it with the lights off because you think your boobs are bizarrely shaped? Take a look around a gym locker room: most of us don’t have “normal” shaped boobs! Here are eight different boob shapes that are actually very common, and how to choose the right bra for each.
Could your footwear be making your breasts sag? These new studies on breast health have revealed that certain habits could be causing your girls to droop. You may want to refrain from doing the following.
I hesitate to write about the Smith children, simply because they are indeed children. Yet, unfortunately in the media, they are bashed and dragged and even condemned in ways no one- man, woman, boy or girl- should experience.
And that’s unfortunate.
But today, I’m going to write about Willow Smith because I really am on the fence about a recent picture she posted on Instagram.
It’s not an actual posted picture, rather it’s an image she’s currently using as her profile. In it, Willow is wearing a long-sleeved very colorful shirt that just so happens to feature a pair of naked breasts on the front.
So, the question is, is this too much for a 14-year-old girl to be wearing.
A large part of me thinks no.
Breasts are not bad, or solely sexual. I know that’s what society has taught us. Breasts are only there to be sexy and to be used during sex. And of course they can be but then again, so can any other body part. People get off on a lot of things. Plus breasts actually do other things– you know, like fill out shapeless clothing and nourish children. So I think Willow wearing this shirt raises some questions about our society’s hypersexualization of breasts.
In an ideal world, people would be able to distinguish the image or appearance of breasts for sexual satisfaction and when breasts are just breasts. But that’s not the way it is around here, here being America. It’s the reason why all of the kids in your fourth grade class crowded around that one desk to point, gawk and giggle at the picture of a mother breastfeeding her child in the National Geographic. And it’s the reason why mothers who take pictures like this, are morally berated on the internet. Because we haven’t been able to tell when breasts are sexual and when they’re just doing what breasts do.
But there is also a part of me that understands this is the world in which we live. And since breasts are so undeniably sexualized in this country, is it really appropriate for a 14-year-old girl to invite this type of gaze, from people she does not know and cannot see, onto her body? There are some very sick people out here and that’s a scary thought. Even though these aren’t Willow’s breasts, they’re strategically placed right around where hers are–or would be. I don’t know. Whether she views it as sexually suggestive or not, a vast majority of people will. And while it’s a shame we have to live our lives, attempting to predict the thoughts of others, as women we often do that to prevent certain types of attention or even certain types of violation.
I’m not a mother yet but I wouldn’t want my daughter wearing a shirt like that to school or anywhere else. Because I know what type of attention it might attract. And frankly, it’s dangerous.
Then again, this is Willow Smith. She’s not a normal 14-year-old. She’s not in conventional school. And I don’t know her life, but I’d assume that she doesn’t go a whole lot of places without a bodyguard. So she can express herself in this way without fear that she’ll be physically harmed because of it. She might just stumble across a few more hurtful comments about her parents’ irresponsibility or worse, comments about her own morality as a young woman. Hopefully, Willow posted the picture and went about living her life and isn’t as worried about this as we all are.
What do you think about the shirt and posting the picture of herself in the shirt on Instagram?
It’s hard out there for a big-chested girl.
Bring me some fabric tape and a safety pin.
“Who owns the breast: child or husband?”
This is the tongue-in- cheek yet provocative question raised recently in Street Talk Naija, a Man on The Street sort of Nigerian web series, which you can watch on YouTube. Speaking with both women and men, the responses were pretty evenly split: half of the folks saying that since the primary purpose of the breast was for feeding, it therefore belongs to the children, while the other half argue that since the woman belongs to her husband, he “owns” everything about her, including her breasts.
Of course, while watching this, I had already summarized this to be a trick question. I mean, we all know that the woman owns the breast. After all, it is attached to her body so – husband or not – it is hard to claim ownership of something that is not in your physical possession. Likewise, just because breasts are also mammary glands doesn’t mean that women are not using the breast right if it’s for purposes outside of being a food source for a baby. Some women do get sexual pleasure from their breasts, and in fact, recent studies have found that ni**le stimulation activates the same brain areas as vaginal and clitoral stimulation. How and in what way her breasts are being used is solely up to her. The funny thing is that as obvious of a point as this was to me, not too many people in the video actually echoed a similar sentiment.
Yet before we attribute this to the backwards thinking of some indigenous Africans (because I know how some folks think), we in Western societies too find ways to enforce, albeit subtly, this belief that the use of a woman’s body is not of her own fruition. And it is a major reason why some folks responded with flat out ridicule when Angelina Jolie announced that she had both breasts removed in hopes of preemptively striking against a hereditary and aggressively deadly form of breast cancer. Nevermind her very real health concerns, keeping a pair of perky breasts was deemed by some as much more important. The negative reaction to her announcement should serve as a reminder that the female form, particularly the breasts, are still very much treated as public domain, created for the sole purpose of sexual arousal – regardless if she sees it that way or not.
Such as the case of Holly Van Voast, a Bronx photographer and performance artist, who filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New York for being repeatedly detained, arrested, and on one occasion, institutionalized, for daring to bare her breasts in public. The easy answer is to say, “Well of course what she did was lewd.” However, the same city, which saw Van Voast topless as obscene and sometimes mentally ill, had a completely different standard for men of all body shapes (including breast-size), who are free to walk around topless without repercussions, including the N*ked Cowboy, a pasty-skinned guy who walks around Time Square, strumming his guitar in just a pair of tighty-whities and cowboy boots.
It is also this double standard when it comes to displays of the female breasts, which has inspired Go Topless Day. According to Policy Mic, such a day looks to bring awareness to the need for gender equality in public decency laws, by protesting across the country in – you guessed it – no tops at all. And according to the New York Times, the Van Voast lawsuit, which was filed on the grounds that the public decency laws are bias, might have been the inspiration behind a recent shift in policy in the NYPD, which is now instructing its 34,000 police officers to stop arresting topless women for indecent exposure.
Despite the shift in NYC laws, women who opt to bare their chests still face an uphill battle in having their bare breasts not viewed as criminal or as a spectacle as demonstrated by video of last year’s Go Topless Day in New York City. In it, men followed around a bunch of topless protesting woman, drooling, ogling and taking pictures. Even as these women hope to convey a much bigger message of ending the need to make natural body functions and form dirty or illegal, the reality is that you can’t change the mindset of some, who still insist on putting their own definition on it – at least not right away. Up until the mid-1900s, men could be arrested for going out in public topless. Today, we have Rick Ross and nobody blinks an eye. Perhaps if more women are willing to bare it all in protest of these ridiculous laws, and more importantly, this mindset, it might change how we as a society view breasts. Basically, as a source of many things, from the giver of life and nourishment, to a part of our sexuality, to being the source of nothing at all.
You probably heard the news yesterday that the Grammy organization has handed down a dress code for it’s upcoming award show that’s more detailed than that of most catholic schools. And I’m sure you thought, “huh, aren’t we talking about grown people here?”
Oh, how soon we forget. T&A is about as visible during award season as it is inside of a Gentleman’s club, and after years of people (sometimes the same ones) pushing the envelope way, way, way too far, CBS and the powers that be said they’ve had enough and are banning all sorts of attire — or lack thereof — this year. Still confused why they’re being so strict? Check out some of the most risque fashions ever to grace the Grammy red carpet.
It was April 25, 2007. The day my boobs officially said, “We quit.”
I remember the day because I was breastfeeding my five-month-old daughter (my firstborn) in the midst of some last minute work in preparation for graduation a week later. She pulled away from me, full and satisfied. I looked down and noticed that my breasts fell incredibly light. Not “just got done nursing” light, but “things are never going to be the same” type of light.
And I was right. For the remainder of our breastfeeding journey, they were never the same. Less perky, less round on the top and forming more of a tear-drop shape instead of a circle.
So when I found out I was pregnant shortly after our daughter’s first birthday, I looked forward to the pregnancy hormones giving my boobs a little more fullness again. My husband never said anything until I asked him, point blank, if he noticed my boobs were different. He hesitated.
“They’re softer now,” he said. “A little smaller. But I like ’em.”
I spent what little free time I had (with two kids under two) trying on different bras—gel-filled, underwire, no underwire, all the so-called “revolutionary” bras. None of them really restored me to what I had prior to my kids.
So I gave up. Decided it wasn’t the end of the world. Found a few bras and shirts that did my chest justice and went about my business.
Did it make me feel less sexy? Yes, initially. But defining my sexiness by the way my boobs looked was something society had conditioned me to feel. Who says that breasts have to be right under the chin in order for a woman to be attractive?
I know for a fact that many women cite not wanting “saggy boobs” as a reason for not breastfeeding, even though the research says that it is not the act of breastfeeding that changes your boobs, but a combination of factors.
A 2007 study (by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, no less) attempted to clarify the subject. Among some of the study’s findings:
- A history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child’s breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape.
- Your body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.
Even with the research though, we have to understand that in general, our bodies change. Whether through pregnancy or just the aging process, our bodies don’t stay the same forever.
Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of TheYoungMommyLife.com and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.
During my pre-adolescent years I was told by my mother to “hide my breasts” and make sure I wasn’t showing too much cleavage. If I did I wouldn’t be thought of as a “good girl” and I could be labeled “hot” or “grown” by people I didn’t even know! Not wanting to sour my reputation, I covered up in fear of being looked down upon by strangers.
That was until I became a mother at 19 and made the courageous decision to breastfeed my child. I didn’t know much about breastfeeding but all the research that I found said that my baby would be healthier and as a college student this was a much more economical choice than formula. At first I would quietly go to a bathroom and sit in a stall and let him nurse around the pungent smell of a public restroom. If the restroom was too unbearable, I would go to my car and just nurse in plain view for the world to see.
After a couple of months I got tired of being inconvenienced due to society’s criminalization of breastfeeding. If we were in a restaurant, I’d place a blanket over me, latch him on and continue my conversation like nothing was happening. If I was at the mall, I’d go into a lounge (or back of a store) and take a seat and nurse my child. No longer did I have to endure the stench of a public restroom or the shame of sitting in a cold car in the winter just to feed my baby. Sure I got awkward stares but luckily (for them) no one ever approached me questioning my right to feed my baby.
Imagine my shock that in 2012 there have been two recent examples of women being publicly humiliated because of their choice to breastfeed. According to Atlanta affiliate CBS Atlanta, Dawn Holland says she was nursing her 20-month-old son in the back of an Applebee’s restaurant in Covington when the manager told her to breastfeed in the bathroom or leave. She refused and the police were called. Nevermind that the police are busy with burglaries, murders and car jackings, now they are being used to stop mothers from breastfeeding in public places!
Luckily corporate Applebee’s stepped in and apologized to the mother but the problem is that there are people who feel like it’s their responsibility to police when and where mothers can breastfeed their children. Another example of this blatant discrimination is when an American University professor couldn’t bring her sick child to daycare, she decided to bring her to class and while lecturing she breastfed the baby. Instead of applauding her decision not to cancel class, she’s now embroiled in a petty debate on if she made the right decision to feed her child or not. This is ludicrous! Breastfeeding is a natural, eco-friendly way to feed God’s most precious gift on earth—children.
Despite the recent controversy, I’m still an advocate of tastefully feeding your baby in public. We breastfeeding mothers will not be regulated to nasty, public restrooms where we have to feed our babies five feet away from someone is relieving themselves of human waste. No, we are feeding a hungry baby and in that is a sacred process that has taken place since the beginning of society. If you don’t like it, don’t look!
My MommyNoire family, what do you think? Should breastfeeding mothers have to go into bathrooms to feed their children? Or should Americans get over their demonization of breastfeeding and worry about bigger issues in society?
Words By: Franchesca Lane-Warren
Image By: Shutterstock.com
Dear Boob Sweat,
You really are a tricky, little wench aren’t you? For years, I’ve had some good laughs at the women who dared not leave the house with a little powder in their cleavage. I thanked God that I would never be one of them. You weren’t going to catch me out here with an ashy cleavage partly because it looked crazy (read:hood) and also because I really don’t have a cleavage to speak of. Being less endowed in the boob department, the only way I would ever have cleavage would be by pushing my breasts together with my triceps. And who can hold that position for long periods of time? I call the area where my cleavage should be, “the Barren Land.” There’s nothing there but my sternum. So imagine my surprise last week when I found that water, aka perspiration, had come to the barren land. It was you boob sweat! (Cue villain noise here.)
Being that this was our first introduction, I would imagine that you would have made a better first impression. But, (and this is where the story gets gross, clutch your pearls if you must) after I slid my finger down my shirt to wipe you away, I noticed there was a very faint, musty smell that lingered in the air. At first, I couldn’t believe it. Certainly that smell couldn’t have been coming from me. I’d just taken a shower! But a second swipe confirmed my fears. How could this be? How could I have boob sweat when my breasts barely speak to each other? I hit the sink to dab away the sweat and the odor. But as I dabbed, I thought, what does this boob sweat mean for my life? Was I going to become one of the powder ladies I’d made fun of? Would I be able to wear barren-land baring shirts in the summer?
I didn’t come up with a solution until later in the week. I was standing in the bathroom mirror, fresh out the shower. I opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out my deodorant/antiperspirant. I applied my customary (and excessive) six swipes to each pit. Just as I was about to recap, I looked down at my antiperspirant and had a brilliant idea, Put some deodorant on the barren land. I literally smiled at my genius. This is just what I needed, the perfect solution. I’d keep you away, boob sweat and since it goes on clear, I’d completely avoid the powder marks. I wore a low cut shirt just to test the theory. And sure enough, when I got to work, there was no sweat and no must. Score!
I’m onto your game boob sweat. I know you thought you could use my mistaken smugness against me, that your sneak attack would get the best of me. I was unprepared and unarmed then. But now that I’m onto your game, I know which weapons to use against your trickery. You may have won the battle; but the war, boob sweat, is all mine.
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