Women's Breasts in Literature

Anthony Chatfield
 


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This was a little thought that hit me today. Usually I don’t make corolations between little things in literature unless I read more than one book in a single day. Today was one of those days though, so here’s a good thought. The description of a woman’s breasts constantly comes up. It’s bound to happen. Most of the authors and protagonists are men. The lion’s share of decent books written by women don’t get stuck up on something so basic to the human anatomy. Women tend to focus more specifically on the emotional development of a novel and not necessarily glaze over the physical, but they sure as hell don’t dwell on the unnecessary physical “endowment”. Anyways back to how men describe women’s breasts.

There are some factors as to how the breasts are described. It depends on the nationality of the author, his age, and his genre of writing. It makes sense if you think about it; Pynchon isn’t going to describe anatomy the same way as Cory Doctorow. Completely different methods. I omit classic literature not because authors in those times never wrote of a woman’s breasts, but because they tended to gloss over the issue and most descriptions were the same. And if you’ve read an old classic novel that is sensual enough to offer up these sorts of descriptions, please pass it along. Can’t imagine a whole lot of “classics” going the down and dirty route.

The shape seems to come up a lot. It seems a bit odd to me personally, but 9 times out of 10 a writer will take the easy route here and simply utilize the basics of geometry to describe a woman’s breasts. We don’t read things about the gentle curves or such as much as say the hips or neck, but get things like conical, sharp angles, comparisons to round fruits (i. e. melons, grapefruits, etc. ) and an occasional allusion to geographical structures like mountains and their subsequent slopes. Then of course, these break down into whether the author is writing a love scene, how much the narrator wants to touch said breasts, and to what degree the narrator is even interested (younger narrations tend towards the motherly view of the breasts, using similar descriptions but lacking the lecherous or amorous tone of the older descriptions. ) I find this all very humorous, because I haven’t read a book recently from a male perspective that doesn’t describe the breasts of some female character for no reason. I understand when a character is involved romantically, or even carries feelings toward said character, but do we really need commentary on the woman walking across the street and her swollen breasts pulling at her yellow sweater from a homosexual character eating his lunch, or even a female protagonist commenting on other women’s breasts. While I can see why this would come up, and I don’t really have a problem with it, most of the time these descriptions just pop up for the simple reason that the writer wants to write about breasts because he’s a guy and that’s what guys do. I do the same thing. I am however going to try to figure out a way to minimize unnecessary *** descriptions when they are completely out of context.

It’s fun to write, but honestly do we need to turn every simple piece of prose into moderate *** ography for the gratification of our base male imaginations… hmmm, now that I think about it.

I'm a self avowed unemployed writer, working on semi-constant basis to try and overcome the need to go and work a real job. I've written more than 200 articles and reviews and am constantly scouring the internet for any and all excuses and methods to make myself less dependent on corporate pay days. Visit my website at TheChatfield.com

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