Sunday, August 12, 2012

Boobs and mind clutter

The other day an acquaintance of mine informed me that she would love a chance to crawl inside my mind for a while and just observe my thoughts. My response to her was, "Oh I don't think that is a good idea." "Why is that?" she asked. To which I replied, "Have you ever seen the TV show hoarders?" She told me that she had and I then told her, "Yeah, it's kind of like that...only in my mind."

I have realized in my own life, that the people who I find to be the most interesting, intelligent, talented, artistic, and so forth, are also the most...shall we say....distracted individuals I have known. You know the saying, With great power comes great responsibility? Well I would say that in regard to people like myself, With great insight comes a whole heap of totally useless crap. True, every once in awhile you might strike pay dirt (intellectually speaking) and come up with some really insightful and helpful observation; but really, I attribute that more to a numbers game. Think of it this way; if all you ever do, day in and day out is throw darts at a dart board, then it stands to reason that at least some of those darts are going to hit the bulls-eye every now and again. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of other darts safely lodged on the outskirts of the board, or in the wall, or in the cat. Though in my case, the ones in the cat were my bulls-eye.

All of this I give as justification for what is coming next. Let's call them my pet-pseudo-philosophies. Who are they going to help? Probably nobody. Will you be better off for reading them.....possibly not. But you might laugh a little, hopefully.

Boobs.

Yes Boobs. They go by many different names, some of my personal favorites include:

Dirty pillows
Breasticles
Timon and Pumbaa
Bosoms
And so many more. In fact, two-hundred and something more. Wanna see?
http://mycampustalk.com/262-names-for-boobs/

You are welcome.

So we are all familiar with breasts right? Big mounds of fat accumulation that have become almost the very meaning of what it is to be a woman. The physical representation of femininity.   Though to be fair, there are the man-boobs or moobs, as they are sometimes called. But they don't see to excite the masses the way that their female counterparts do.

Have you ever really stopped to think though, what is so great about boobs? Not only that, but how is that these mounds of flesh have become so idolized? Some women flaunt them as a sign of power, while others cover them up in order to not insight men to riotous acts of scandal. Some women are taught to exaggerate them, while others are taught to be ashamed of them. Some women push them up, other women bind them down. Every year, thousands of women pay thousands of dollars to make them bigger and make them smaller. Some will remove the other after losing the first to cancer; some will opt to remove them both just to insure that the cancer never claims them.  In most developed countries, women cover up their breasts, unless we are at the MTV teen choice awards, or the occasion calls for a bit more flesh. But in other parts of the world, there are still cultures where women walk about bare chested and unashamed.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the missionaries tracked into one of those tribes? Not only would it be hell-arious just for the awkward factor on the part of those naive young boys, but it would also be interesting to see what if anything about their dress would change if they were to convert. Can you imagine the bishop interview? "Um....so......yeeaaahhhh...I'm gonna have to go ahead and ask you wear this bra now ok?"

The thing is though, it seems like this idea of "appropriate" vs. "inappropriate"   has less to do with any eternal principle and more to do with the Dogma of the society. The reasons why we choose to cover up may not apply to cultures who don't. As a young girl in Sunday school, I was taught that the reason that I shouldn't flaunt my breasts was because of the effect that it would have on the young men. They almost had me believing that if I showed any amount of cleavage that I was basically asking for a guy to take advantage of me, and that really, it wouldn't be his fault. After all, he is "just a guy" and can't really help himself.

Hold on a tick....I seem to recall something about agency. Also, I do understand some things about biology and biological urges, and I'm pretty sure the "I'm just a guy and that's just how we are wired" has never held up in a sexual assault or rape case.  But that's neither here nor there, other than to say, I'm pretty sure if the sight of a line between two mountain ranges is enough to send a male into uncontrollable acts of depravity, then we need to be taking a better look at these guys hormone levels and impulse control centers.

I will give you this though, I agree that reality is all about the value we as a culture or society place on it. By this I mean, we are a culture of symbols, and we must concede that we have established certain meanings to certain symbols. Red lights mean stop, pine trees decorated in peoples homes usually indicate a specific time of the year, and boobs, well.....boobs seem to have taken on several meanings.

For the young single woman, boobs are a tool in man-catchery, or booby-traps, if you will. And even though we might wish it wasn't so, when a woman flaunts her breasts, she is sending a certain signal. She knows it, the men around her know it, and it doesn't even really matter if that wasn't her "intended" signal. That's like going into a pack of vampires and slitting your wrists and then claim that they are jerks for getting "the wrong idea" about you. True, they still have their agency, and true, if they attack then it is in no way shape of form your fault, but come on.....really, you are going to get pissed when they can't keep their eyes off the blood? Let us not be naive ladies.

 Once a woman becomes a mother however, they become less for aesthetic pleasure and more for functionality. Though in truth, I know plenty of moms who have opted for some sort of plastic surgery to get their breasts back to their pre-child glory. I think no matter how you slice it, boobs have become a critical part of how a woman feels about herself, and her perceived value as a desirable companion. I have to admit, I have never had a great need to worry in this particular arena. I have been blessed with ample endowments and even when I got super skinny, the "girls" never suffered much. So to be fair, I don't know what it must be like to be a woman who has gone through her life, without. But I can't imagine it has been easy. Not because there is anything fundamentally lacking on her part, but because our culture has indeed gone boob crazy and made such a fuss over something as neutral as your elbow, if you really think about it. Can you just picture a culture where knee caps are the pleasure zone of choice, or the 3rd rib from the top. I know, I know, it's not that simple. I know, I know, boobs are not elbows in anyway shape or form, but it is still interesting to think about.....at least....I think so.

Boobs. 

8 comments:

  1. Socially constructed...like most everything else:

    http://broadblogs.com/2010/11/04/men-aren%E2%80%99t-hard-wired-to-find-breasts-attractive/

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  2. It was quite interesting to read your thoughts, because I thought about some of those things too! The sexualization of breasts really is a product of our culture. There are plenty of cultures in the world where breasts are just simply considered a part of a woman's body and nothing is enticing or arousing about them. In one native tribe in Africa I believe, a group of women were told that breasts were considered arousing in American culture. When the women heard this, they began to laugh and said that American men were like babies, referring to the fact that babies are breast-fed. I have often wondered if a lot of the commandments involving modesty are simply products of our culture. In other words, we are told to dress a certain way because when we don't, we send a bad message and example to others around us in society. But how much of the commandment to dress modestly is because God specifically intended for us to cover up specific body parts, or if it's merely a way of showing we can be the best of the best in the society in which we live? And where do we draw that line? Don't get me wrong, I think certain parts of our bodies were meant to be covered no matter what (ie groins), but what about butts, midriffs, and breasts? I'm in no way suggesting we change our standards of modesty to reflect the current culture of America (bad idea), it's just an interesting topic to talk about.

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    Replies
    1. Took the words right out of my mouth! It is interesting to consider cultural norms when discussing modesty. In a way, modesty truly is relative to the cultural experience. I do agree though that from a religious side of things, certain types of modesty become an imperative (but that feels like a whole other conversation altogether).

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  3. I can't help but think now of what the world would be like if elbows were considered in the same light as bosoms in the western context. Beauty pageants would be all about long sleeves cut at suggestive angles, jacket material would become thinner and thinner, and tank tops or t-shirts would be something you'd only find on the beaches in Europe.

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  4. I was reading an article a friends had posted about male nudity. How the whole sense of american modesty comes from our protestant upbringing.

    I think the church has a rough sea to tread. You can use beards as an example. No big deal when they were the norm. Then when beards became more of a method of being rebellious against society, the church modified standards. Perhaps they will be back at BYU some day.

    I have a hard time with the argument some break off LDS groups make about modesty being an insult to men or demeaning to women. That it can be empowering for a woman to show off her body.

    Of course men are not powerless when it comes to modesty. And the temptation of men is not the only reason we observe it. But I will say, it is a distraction. It would be like leaving a cake on the counter, then telling a teenage boy, "don't eat my cake, it's for after dinner."

    Is that boy's fault if he goes and eats your cake before dinner? You bet! But maybe he won't eat the cake, but he could be thinking about cake all day. Or perhaps he will push the thoughts out of is mind. You could have taken steps to help him not even be tempted by the cake.

    One of our friends told us about when her teenage son was talking to her about some of the outfits girls wore at school. He said it makes it hard for him to keep his thoughts clean. If you are a daughter of God,(and walking tall.) You will want to make choices that help support this young man (and others like him) in his desire to be pure so that one day he will be the grown man that takes you to the Temple and presides in your home.

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