WNPR

It's The Breast Day Of The Week!

Dec 6, 2017

Marie Antoinette's breasts were believed to inspire the design of the shallow French champagne coupes we see on the shelves of the local Pottery Barn. Mae West noted in her 1959 memoir, Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, that she regularly rubbed cocoa butter on her breasts and spritzed them with cold water.

"This treatment made them smooth and firm, and developed muscle tone which kept them right where they were supposed to be." 

We have a long history of fetishizing (mostly) female breasts in film, literature, art, and in the anatomy-defying breasts of comic book heroines. While breasts are beautiful, women often feel the burden to meet a "sexy" and mostly unattainable standard. Could insecurity be related to at least some of the 289,000 breast augmentations performed in the U.S. in 2009? 

We're so caught up in the sexuality of the female breast, we forget about its purpose -- which is to feed -- and its vulnerability -- which is the increasing incidence of breast cancer in women,  including young women in their twenties.  How often should we get that mammogram? To breastfeed -- or not?

Lastly, how come men can go topless in America but women can't?

  • Florence Williams - Author of Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History and The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, which will be published in February and her Audible podcast Breasts Unbound, debuts in December 
  • Dr. Christine Rizk - Breast surgeon, director of the Comprehensive Women’s Health Center at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
  • Lina Esco - Actress, producer, activist, director of the documentary, Free the Nipple and leader of the Free the Nipple movement

You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on October 4, 2017.