Discussions around breasts are rarely controversy-free. To breastfeed, or not to breastfeed? That is one question. Others include: #Freethenipple, or no? Should women revel in the attention and free drinks that a low-cut top can bring, or should they practise modesty and cover up? What about breast augmentation? Breast reduction? Most people with breasts think about all of these questions at some point in their lives. And so we wanted to explore the complex relationship people have with their breasts.
We so often compartmentalise our public coverage of breasts into discrete narratives: breasts as sexual, breasts as nurturing, breasts as the origin of cancer. But, the reality is that people experience the interplay between these narratives (alongside breasts' many other roles and stories) every day. Our breasts can be supremely sexually pleasurable; they can be a source of anxiety about "measuring up" to cultural expectations. They can be beautiful; they can be a source of illness and pain. Each person's breasts — and each person's story — are uniquely her own.
So, we bring you 24 women and their personal relationships with their breasts: difficult and celebratory, in sickness and in health.