To breastfeed or not. To wear a bra or not. To #Freethenipple or not. Conversations, debates and thoughts around breasts are rarely uncontroversial. Should women celebrate the attention and perks that a cleavage-revealing top can deliver, or should they cover up and practice modesty? What about boob jobs, currently the second most common plastic surgery performed in the U.S. Most women think about all of these things at some point in their lives as their breasts develop and change over their lifetimes.
We so often compartmentalize 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 women experience the interplay between these narratives (alongside breasts' many other roles and stories) every day. Our breasts can be supremely sexually pleasurable, and they can also 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 woman's breasts — and each woman's story — are uniquely her own.