Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Breasts speak

What do you think you’re looking at?

Ha!

You sound surprised to hear us speak. And yet for as long as we remember, you’ve conducted conversations with us. Stared at us as though we were the sentient things that were capable of moving this world.

I know why you do it. We are soft targets. And don’t make the mistake of thinking of that word in the sense that tickles your cheap, adolescent fantasies.

We live in a strange world indeed.

Breast feeding offends you. Bare breasts exposed for your pleasure do not.

Have you ever thought about how much your gaze offends us? When your eyes seem to strip us of the layers in which we are enfolded.

Look at us now. Why do you shrink from our gaze?

We are not afraid.

We have faced the cold, hard steel of the mammogram, flinching only slightly. We are after all human.

But your gaze demeans us. Turns us into objects.

Compartmentalises us.

Ever stop to think about how you treat us?

We are groped.

Pinched.

Nudged.

Slapped.

Forced to squirm because your ego gives you a bigger sense of self.

Compelled to shrink into walls and corners, lest you view our confidence as an invitation.

And yet, we were the ones to give you warmth, comfort and sustenance when you needed it.

It is a game to you, this horrible treatment of us, this flagrant disrespect of our feelings.

We upset you. Because you can’t pin your tiny brains on the fact that we could as easily straddle the worlds of motherhood as that of sexuality.

Unlike your kind, we do not measure our worth by size. We nourish and nurture. Ourselves and the world.

What is that you said?

Don’t you dare call us those names. Those mono-syllabic no-words you use to demean us. We could call you names too, but we were raised better. We believe that people are bigger than the sum of their body parts.

Treat us with respect. That's all we ask. We are sick of carrying around the guilt that should be yours. Why should we go around feeling assailed by a sense of shame when you look at us with your dirty gaze?

What's that you say? You weren't looking at us? We're crazy to think you'd look at our drooping, sagging shadows of our former selves?

You're not even capable of admitting your guilt. And that is why we have been carrying it for you. But no more.

Of course, we’re not perky anymore. We’ve nursed too many young ones for that. Our milk has flowed like blood in their veins, a living river that rushes through their bodies. We have the power to nourish life, and we have used it, and we are exhausted.

But we're still perfect.

We are the timelines of our lives.

We made you what you are. 

Look at us now.

Why do you shrink from our gaze?





50 comments:

  1. Like a slap on the face, you said it all Cynthia .

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  2. This post sends out a very strong message. Couldn't agree more. Absolutely love the way you have written.

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  3. I am speechless. That's a brilliant post Cynthia....kudos!!

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  4. Well said...especially loved this "We upset you. Because you can’t pin your tiny brains on the fact that we could as easily straddle the worlds of motherhood as that of sexuality." Beautiful :)

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  5. Another strong post, Cynthia. You have said all that I ever wanted to but never have. Kudos.

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  6. Thank you, Sridevi, I meant it to be a hard-hitting slap on the face of every man who has ever stared at a woman's breasts with lust in his eyes.

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  7. Thank you, Janaki. :) And thank you for sharing on FB.

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  8. I wish, Prathima, some man somewhere reads this and amends his ways. One less lecher at a time.

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  9. Thank you, Shail, I hope I have the courage to stare back and not feel shame the next time something like this happens to me.

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  10. I am sure every woman will connect to your words Cynthia! great post!

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  11. Powerful and so effortlessly u told what U had to ! I dare "those" ppl to read this!

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  12. One awesome post Cynthia !
    Thank you for bringing out the words, which many of us wanted to say !

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  13. Thank you, Gauri, yes, I am sure they will. This unfortunate experience is one thing women everywhere have in common.

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  14. hi, Afshan, I hope they do and change their ways.

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  15. Oh wow that was brilliantly said. Respect for women where has that gone?

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  16. Unfortunately, Suzy, there has never been much respect for women. All that worship of women is hypocritical and unreal.

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  17. We all face this harassment sometimes or the other... Guys talking to our breasts instead of our face...but u have hit the topic bang on! awesome post!

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  18. We are a screwed up society indeed. I breast-fed my boys and endured stares from relatives at family gatherings as though I was doing something abnormal. Thank you for your beautiful words.

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  19. Thank you, Shaivi, we have all encountered these moments, and we all feel shamed by them. It is high time we make the starers feel ashamed.

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  20. Denise, that is the hypocrisy of it all. The sight of the same breast provides pleasure at times, and becomes taboo when one attempts to feed one's child. People have their heads screwed up all wrong.

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  21. Wow! Voice of every woman here! Hear all if you will when the breasts speak!

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  22. Hmm. Nursing breasts are groped, pinched, slapped, chewed on... I wonder if the strange mix of fascination and anger, later in life, comes from the fact that they also symbolize the first female rejection to a boy not fully ready to grow up? (Even if the "rejection" was really only "weaning," it could be quite painful if it also meant less attention from mom.)

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  23. This needed to be said. Thank you!
    Dagny

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  24. Cynthia, you can't see it, but I am applauding you right now!! What a strong post. What a strong post! Hats off, mi'lady.

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  25. Greetings, A-Z Challenger! Dare I comment, as apparently the only male so far? Male behavior can be rude and obnoxious at times, and I have now and then been guilty during my seven decades. But when you say we cretins have lust in our eyes, you are interpreting. You are assuming you know what we think, as if you could see the drool dripping from the corner of our mouths. But while you are clearly right some of the time, it's by accident. No, you do not know us all. Like it or not, a woman's figure cannot pass unnoticed simply because we dogs should reform our animal ways. What should be important is how we men speak to and about women, and how we behave. And while staring is bad behavior, noticing is not.

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  26. I'm at a loss...you expressed it perfectly. What can I add? Thank you for putting 'them' out there and saying what needed said.

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  27. one hard tight slap in their faces, very well written and the message will surely spread and reach those morons!!!

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  28. Yeah, tell me about this! My post on the challenge yesterday ended with how I had to take so much care to shield myself from prying eyes while breast feeding on an aircraft. Some of them are truly shameless.

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  29. You know, yesterday when I read your entry for 'A', I thought you were a great writer. Now I think you're INCREDIBLE. And what a sense of humour and WAY to make it poignant, too!

    I'm blown away by this :D

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  30. wonderful, cynthia. the flow of thoughts is effortless. You are talented

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  31. The message is strong and clear!!

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  32. Amazing post, Cynthis...its says it all :)

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  33. Its such a strong message sent to the society! you are awesome Cynthia. Love the way you write

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  34. Hard hitting as always, well done Cynthia.

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  35. Hard hitting as always, well done Cynthia.

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  36. Such a strong post..After reading this I just want to go somewhere, be alone and cry and feel relieved .. I am so fed up of dealing with this, hiding them under the dupatta.. I cannot even tell to anyone how bad it is every single time when someone lustfully ogles at my breats, coz then I hear things like you have grown up, aren't you used to it ? - like what the hell ....
    You have expressed it so poignantly..

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  37. Very well written, Cynthia!! I wish I could say this to every creep who stared at women's bodies. You've echoed the collective thoughts of women everywhere.

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  38. Absolutely fabulous! Your prose is gorgeous. I'm saving this one for future reference! GAil

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