The function of Breasts

It apparently comes as a complete surprise to some people that the primary function of breasts is feeding:

“In the fall of 1993, one of the undergraduate students in my ‘Women and Culture’ course was totally flabbergasted to discover that the biological function of women’s breasts was for feeding children. With obvious shock and disgust evident in her voice she asked, ‘You mean women’s breasts are like a cow’s udder?’ That a young woman could reach college without ever having even heard of women using their breasts to feed their children is a sad commentary on American culture.”
Katherine Dettwyler as quoted in The Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton (BACE) report about Breastfeeding at Municipal Pools in Canada. From 007b.

chriscurnow.com has consistently argued that breasts belong to the women whose bodies they are part of. We men have no right to regard them as our property. chiscurnow.com believes the way that women have been made to feel about their bodies and their breasts in particular is a great shame on our society and we men who are mostly responsible for it. We believe that all women should be able to feel good about and pround of their bodies and their breasts and be free from stares, whistles, demeaning and belittling comments and demands for them to “show us your tits.”
However, we were challenged we recently came across this site which argues that the sole purpose of breasts is for “breastfeeding our babies” and that breasts have no sexual function whatsoever.


We have some sympathy for this point of view but we cannot agree with it completely. Our bodies (both men’s and women’s) are sexy in appropriate circumstances. I can see a woman walking down the street confident in her body and feel nice having experienced the sight. The experience has a sexual component. That doesn’t mean that I have permission to whistle her, pinch her bottom or stare at her breasts. It does mean that I can smile at her and walk on.
Similarly, my four daughters each tell me of experiences where they have just seen a “hot guy”. Other women I know tell me of similar experiences without using the same language.
For me, the sight of a breast or the shape of a breast is often an important part of the experience. Like many men I know, the size of a woman’s breasts is not important. Sure a woman with large breasts might bounce by and I might think “wow”. A moment later I might be moved to a warm feeling by the sight of a gentle curve in a t-shirt.
I don’t think I would like to live in a world where that was taken away. I think breasts have a sexual function just as our hands, mouths, feet etc do. We need to treat women with respect. We need to stop treating them as if we can do what we like with those we regard as pretty or sexy and disregard the rest. We need to stop treating them as if they were made soley for our pleasure.
If we did stop doing these things, maybe we would be able to experience joy together and maybe women would let us appreciate them and the sight of them – and we say it again “with respect”.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *