Author: Meni Koutosimou
Psychologist – Phil to Post Graduate Mental Health Advisor
Post Graduate Degree on Psychiatry/Child Psychiatry
Doctor of Medicine at University of Ioannina
Post-Doc at University of Ioannina on Quality of Services
Many have praised it, and as Nietzsche said:
“The variety of contrivances in this world is such that the earth seems to be like a woman’s breasts: both useful and pleasing”.
Speaking about female breasts, also known as cleavage, we can agree from the outset that it constitutes a fetish for the male sex and fully gains our attention consciously, unconsciously and subconsciously… The area in respect is provoking in its own way, magnetizing the gaze so strongly, that even the most trained eyes are incapable of self-control. Defiant, prude, sensual, upright, kinky, firm, impudent, a symbol of femininity, prestige, it carries countless characterizations and makes the male stare ceaselessly stay nailed on it. And while the market interests have surrounded women with commercials of every kind of product about breast support and breast enlargement, the sweeping force of capitalism mercilessly takes advantage of it, in the name of delight and compliance.
Between rascals: you want to effortlessly win something? Lower the opening…
Female breasts concern literature, remaining catalytic and apocalyptic in art, since sculpture, painting, music songs, deliver the stigma of each age and perception. Women, compatible with their role and the messages they transmit, cope on a daily basis with the powerful messages breasts carry as life-givers and destroyers-, pleasure on the one side and pain on the other, linked to breastfeeding, loss and occasionally death.
Hera experienced pain when breastfeeding Hercules. The Amazons were tamed through the loss of one of the two breasts, since it was a prerequisite on the price of battle for it to be cauterized by their mother. The holy breasts of Isis offered immortality to the young Pharaoh. It has been a fertility sign for the inhabitants of the river Nile, and on another occasion it has been linked to the sacrificial offerings in the Minoan civilization. Helen of Troy earned Menelaus’s forgiveness at the sight of her breasts, when he returned from Troy. In Christianity, it was the forbidden apple that simulates Eve’s breasts, and the Holy Child pictured in his mother’s arms. The antithesis between “good” and “bad” breast -the sacred, the erotic, the domestic, the commercial, and the medical- all fit and breathe into an existentialist tension. The part of the body that has always given and will continue to give the stigma of social values, clad during the course of time with various religious, erotic, political and psychological mantles, defines the reflection of our moral crisis.
Yes, breasts have their own crisis.
And that’s because we always embellish what we own up to a narcissistic point. Embellish what we have conquered and debilitate the opposing force so we won’t feel deficient in that uneven melee combat.
So, for most men a woman’s soul must be an abyss –we will deal with that issue in another article- but her personality may be decrypted by a more careful intrusion in the inner cavity of her cleavage! On one side, it’s the first call back to the mother’s nest, the first “meal” from the mother’s breasts, a memory from the beginning of life; on the other , we have the breasts that seem sizeable in the child’s eyes; all representations impart the glorification of the curves and the aesthetically perfect in appearance… A promise of erotic fulfillment. At least that’s how it works in the minds of most people.
Can the V spot reveal personality traits?
It might/could… Besides, History clarifies that.
Denuded from its connection with sanctity, female breasts undoubtedly became a symbolic field of “negotiation” of the male choice. The lacy neckline openings were excommunicated as the “gates of hell” and marriages were being cancelled for that reason… and whoever blasphemer dared to reveal them in Medieval France, was hanged in hell from their “imprudent breasts”. In its evaluation, during the Renaissance, the criteria has to meet certain specifications… unswervingly small in size, fair in complexion, and hard to the touch, firm in appearance and each in full distance from the other.
Techniques and tactics succeeded one another in the French society. Poppy solution, a mix of ivy infusion, rose oil, camphor and rainwater or sow milk. The recipe does not lack cumin mixed with water… Pulps and formulations spread on breasts, for beauty reasons. The possibility of their breasts becoming loose made many mothers of the Renaissance give up breastfeeding, and use wet nurses; tendency that lasted until the late 19th century, and was redefined in the early Italian Renaissance, highlighting the appearance of richer and bigger breasts and curves in general. Therefore, if size does matter, then the rich and big reflects the enthusiasm and the necessary sensuousness to its holders. So, everything joins the battle of the once called corsage and today’s bra…
Delacroix’s topless “Freedom” drives her people to victory, rendering the bare breasts the symbols of resistance, as persistent and aggressive as the revolution itself. Their politicization in times of war exhaled images commensurate with national preference; for the Italian people breasts were inextricably linked to eroticism and power, while in Germany they became a symbol of protection, in the role of the wet nurse of Aryan children. In America it was a product lifting and boosting the army’s morale, nourishing and maintaining dreams of homecoming and conquest.
And while historically it has found its place and its timeless role, the real issue is how women feel about their body part that remains “exposed”. Recently, an American online fashion magazine published a research that took place in New York, about how much the beauty standards influence the way women deal with their body. 57 women aged 17-72 -a 4 year old who grabbed the pen from his mother’s hands also took part in the research- were asked to express via a sketch and a phrase, their relationship to their breasts. The meetings took place in cafeterias and bars, in playground benches and in parks, on their way to work. Once they overcame the initial feelings of shyness, women went for the project. Their answers were not at all conventional. According to the investigation’s report, they focused on the breastfeeding experience, on their surgery memories, the size of the nipple, in a very specific but also abstract way. They described it, praised and deconstructed it, and stated what they would like to be different. Big, small or somewhere in the middle -size didn’t matter after all, because it appears that there were women who were happy with their breasts and others who did not feel as comfortable with it.
Many roles and countless suitors.
Where the child sees the food, the man dreams of love, the businessman embraces money, the doctor reveals the disease, and psychoanalysts encircle the unconscious.
In the end, to whom do these breasts belong?
Mairilyn Yalom. (2009). Η ιστορία του γυναικείου στήθους. Άγρα.
Παμπούκης Γ. (2012). Ιστορίες Ντροπής. Οι άνδρες, οι θρησκείες, οι νόμοι και η μοίρα των γυναικών… Εκδόσεις Πατάκη.