Breasts

The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession

By Ellen Cole, Esther D Rothblum

© 1998 – Routledge

210 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781560239277
pub: 1998-06-03
US Dollars$45.95
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Hardback: 9780789004222
pub: 1998-06-15
US Dollars$145.00
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Breasts: The Women’s Perspective on an American Obsession describes and explores our national breast fetish, which is defined as a culturally constructed obsession that is deeply interwoven with beauty standards, breastfeeding practices, and sexuality. By tracing the complex history of this erotic fascination and discovering how it affects men’s and women’s sexuality and their relationships, this book will help women accept their breasts as they are and provide male readers with insight into how women think and feel about their bodies. This awareness will enable them to better understand and empathize with women’s experiences as objects of a cultural fetish.

Focusing on adult joys and anxieties about breasts, sex, and breastfeeding, this text uses research and expert opinions from several different fields, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, mythology, and sexology. You will find several other issues in Breasts: The Women’s Perspective on an American Obsession that involve men’s and women’s struggles with this obsession, such as:

  • breast implants
  • human psychology and breasts
  • beauty standards and breast sexuality
  • how breasts are portrayed in mythology and art
  • how ancient religions saw the breast as a sign of motherhood and giver of life
  • ”breast men”
  • debates on how and why the breast evolved
  • adolescent girls and breasts
  • breast activists, such as La Leche League, who are proponents of breastfeeding in public

    Through personal interviews with men and women, Breasts: The Women’s Perspective on an American Obsession also addresses women’s pride and shame about their breasts and their confusion about the attention their breasts receive. Ultimately, this exploration of breast obsession sheds light on our society’s general fear of and ambivalence toward women’s bodies. Breasts: The Women’s Perspective on an American Obsession shows you that breasts have a venerable history and urges you to see beyond the contemporary standards of visual perfection to give you an overall sense of the female body’s power and worth.

Table of Contents

Contents Preface

  • Acknowledgments
  • Part One: Image and Icon
  • Love and Loathing
  • Initiation
  • Dressing the Part
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • Part Two: We Two Are the Universe
  • Garden of Paradise
  • When Instinct Meets Culture
  • Part Three: Sex
  • Circles of Desire
  • Breast Men
  • Part Four: Thinking About Breasts
  • How the Woman Got Her Breasts
  • The Great and Terrible Breast
  • Breasts Unbound
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOC028000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies