Beauty and the Breast
A couple of weeks ago Breasts Not Bombs staged a demonstration outside the Military recruitment center in Ukiah, California because we feel that office is the first introduction to our young men and women as to what it means to be a soldier. We need to find the root cause and address the aberrant and excessive violence that has led our military to commit war crimes like rape and murder. Though there were ten of us on the street that day, we opted not to take our shirts off. We blamed it on the weather and well, it was a major street and we had concern about traffic. But, the truth is I was afraid. Afraid to bare my breasts to again be subject to judgement and ridicule for my outrageous behavior and my bountiful bosom. Although it was a spirited and well supported action, it felt disappointing. We even took the opportunity to go into the recruitment office and converse with the Sergeant in charge. Sgt. Hemphill could not take responsibility for the troops run amok or even point me in the direction of those who might be responsible, besides a "few bad apples." it felt like we built a bridge. He could see our humanity and we could see his. We were civil, kind and very calm. But, inside I'm bursting with terrible rage and sorrow. It's so strong that I feel compelled to tear off my shirt, pull out my hair and weep. Yes, it's dramatic, but it feels like this really is an emergency. I ask you, why is so unacceptable to bare my breasts? Why does the public at large have such a defintive and immediate reaction to women's flesh, but the death of 2,900 American Soldiers and upwards of 200,000 Iraqi's elecits little response? Every day that our government debates and hem and haws there are REAL PEOPLE being violently killed.
What keeps me under wraps is also the simple size of my breasts, how they look. They are enormous, yes. It feels like I am carrying the sorrow of the world right under my nose. I wonder if so much of the breast cancer we are seeing is the unexpressed grief of this world. I dream of weeping, bare breasted with a million other women on the White House Lawn. I long for a world wide weep. Why are women kept under such restraint? What is so scary about our breasts? Last week a young mother named Emily Gillette, flew on Delta Airlines out of Burlington Vermont. She began to nurse her child before take off. The flight attendant was so deeply offended she brought the woman a blanket to cover her breasts, which would then include the baby's head. The woman refused and she was ordered, with her family, off the plane. Was she a threat somehow to the other passengers? Is she a terrorist? As a response 30 or so new mothers came to the Airport and had a nurse in. There was a beautiful photo in the paper with the happy babes tucked sweetly into their mother's laps enjoying the elixer of life. What could be more comforting? What is more representative of peace?
Then, I see on the front page yesterday that the FDA had lifted the ban on silicone implants. This seems like a subtle form of terrorism to me. Yes, ladies though we are offended by the nature of your mammaries, if you want to enhance them with our handy dandy little picker upper, then step right up. The FDA seems to ignore that Dow Corning Corporation paid out 3.2 billion dollars in a class action for women who suffered awful diseases as a result of leaky silicone. They've endured cancer, autoimmune diseases, pain and discomfort of all kinds. Still they reapprove this mysogynist product that serves the idea that without perfect breasts women are worthless, ugly, unlovable, nothing. We are still being brainwashed to believe that everyone's tits look like Brittany spears. We are all never been nursed upon 36 B's. This lie is dangerous. It puts our lives in jeopardy. If a woman loses her breasts to cancer, can we not see the beauty in the scars? Can we spend the money that we will spend on "enhancement" to get to the source of this epidemic? Can we empower women to love their bodies as they are or are we all sentenced to anorexia, diet pills, and silicone?
We are different. My mother says that the body is the physical expression of the soul. When it comes to illness the soul is communicating that something is wrong and it needs our attention We could pay attention to the messages of our bodies and avoid alot of expensive pain and suffering.
Imagine women of all sizes, shapes and configurations safe to be bare breasted, without judgement, no grand prize just to be. I've been in circles like that at women's gathering's and the comfort is indescribable. It's the truth, we are flesh and we all have stories to tell and they are written on our bodies. I believe it is in our breast that life sustains. And the threat to our bodies, particulary our breasts, is real and constant, The simple act of eating seafood involves the risk of infecting our breast's milk. This is serious folks. Its the root of destruction. We must revive and recover the mother. With a simple shift in focus to the mother and child all other things would fall into place. The naked truth that we are human and dependant on the mother, (earth) is really what matters. I would love to capture the imagination and courage of women. But there is a shame that keeps us in our place it dominates. So I will muster my courage, bare my breasts and bring this dialogue to the table so we can at least have the conversation. It's a matter of life.