We are a current culture obsessed by, infected with, and clamoring for — the female breast. Have we always been breast-centric beings? Or is the modern breast in situ only our latest distraction from the real perils of the earthly world?
Let’s turn to art to help inform the context that creates our culture. Early ocher cave paintings and even hieroglyphs made clothing — more than the bare breast — the most distinctive identifier of the human form:
Early oil paintings feature the breast as a normal part of the human anatomy.
The breast was in coquettish evidence, motherly affection, and also slightly protected and withdrawn from the center of attention.
Is there danger in an extended breast?
Is there too much overt sexuality in the female breast that it must be condemned and denigrated as an unworthy temptation?
Breast and kneecap become androgynous and interchangeable. The sexuality is dissipated. The danger is mitigated.
The body is the new center of the notion of a woman and her hair becomes more powerful than her nipples.
The danger of women carving into their natural bodies to reflect a pixilated, oil, or ocher ideal, is the threat of death lingering in the nearby beyond:
Miami – A high school cheerleader from Florida has died of
complications from a breast augmentation, according to media reports
No cause of death has been determined for 18-year-old Stephanie
Kuleba who was set to enter the pre-med program at the University of
Florida this fall, but her family attorney says that doctors believe
Kuleba died of a rare and potentially deadly genetic reaction to
general anesthesia known as malignant hyperthermia, which sends the
body into shock. …
It is estimated that nearly 247,000 women got implants for augmentation
last year in the United States, compared with 32,000 in 1992.
Does Art conflate our choices between beauty and necessity — or does Art merely reflect the innate wants and desires of the observer?