by Steve Messick
A recent article I caught while waiting in a lobby took a nostalgic look at the "wardrobe malfunction that rocked our world." It was a sports mag., (it was that or a People, and I really don't care about the people in People, nor particularly the "Royal Family", as I'm reasonably certain we fought a couple wars so I wouldn't have to give a shit). Anyway sadly, someone claims at this day and age to have been rocked by one exposed nipple ten years ago, in spite of the fact that most of us already have two.
This is not unusual behavior here in the US. A few years ago, there was a rampant blow back against breastfeeding in public. It was likened to sexual harassment, among other things. I'm not sure what our problem (those of you that are not part of the "we" here, my apologies) with the intended natural business of breasts are. We certainly seem fixated on them otherwise, and all but the business-end (or front) are allowable on public billboards, and everywhere else excessively in ads.
Some of it is our attempt to deny our fixation in general with breasts. Somewhere in our genetic hardwiring, big boobs became predominately a desired trait, even though there's no correlation between lactating and size. There's no reason at all for this obsession, unless you buy the theory of time-traveling, gene-splicing Baywatch enthusiasts.
I think a lot of it has to do with us acknowledging we are mammals, and by extension animals. Forward thinking as I like to think myself, I recoiled reading an article of a French restaurant offering human breast milk cheese.
"Gross" I thought, "I will only eat cheese and effectively suckle from other species-'cos that's not weird at all". Humans shouldn't be thought of as lactating, just the "lesser mammals".
Yet there is something amazing and seemingly magical about producing our own food. This isn't limited entirely to females, there are some male birds that do the equivalent of lactating for their young, and heck even some examples of male humans lactating, (endocrine/hormonal anomalies). Me? I'm holding out for bio-genetics to be able to install a chip dispenser, and maybe a bourbon tap on the other.
This will no doubt be sometime in the future, where hopefully we'll be as okay seeing Janet Jackson's nipple as we are with the really fat shirtless guy's in the upper deck.
photos courtesy of Sue Wood Goodall and Will Bauer