Who’s afraid of the big bad b-word?


Breasts. Breasts breasts breasts. Whenever you utter the dreaded b-word it seems that women, and men, recoil under the sheer horror of it, preferring to beat out ‘tits’, ‘boobs’, or the favoured ‘gazongas’. There are actually hundreds of words that we use to skirt around just saying breasts, which is a bit odd. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a friend say breasts (e.g. “ooh this bra is really hurting my breasts”), and in romantic situations when the lights are dimmed low and Barry White croons like a whale pup, no man has ever seductively said “C’mere baby, let me touch your… breast.”

So why don’t we like using the word breast?

Perhaps it could be that women don’t want to talk about themselves, or be discussed, akin to a chicken fillet. The word isn’t particularly sexy and if using it conjures up images of KFC-grease splattered hands and pink glutinous globules in Tesco then avoiding it like the plague is perfectly understandable.

It could very well be that it’s a purely semiotic or phonetic issue. Breasts, like those attractive words moist, smear or pustule, are words with strong socio-cultural connotations and conjure some pretty repellent imagery.

Or maybe, as it’s a formal biological term and we only ever really hear the word when we see a medical specialist, breast subconsciously strikes the fear of god into us. Breast cancer and breast pump aren’t so endearing and might encourage us to scream gazongas from the rooftops.

The above may all be valid, but you can’t truly forget that, as women, we might not like breasts because we are made to feel like we should shy away from talking frankly about our ‘rude parts’. Ridiculously, we resort to employing a hundred other words instead of just talking about the body parts that we all have in plain language.

A little while ago, we became fixated with vajazzling (or decorating our vaginas with jewels) just to avoid realising that what we have might be naturally beautiful. We had to shave them so we had no hair, write ‘eat me’ messages around them in jewels to make vaginas more enticing, instead of just appreciating what they are.

Similarly, using words like airbags, bee-stings and baps all spark a laugh but, again, using those words just distracts from talking about our bodies in a natural way, and also make breasts seem frankly ridiculous.

I think it’s time we should just own breasts and vaginas and feel comfortable using them. Then maybe we’ll then start to become more at peace with our own bodies, instead of constantly trying to change them.

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