Why Do I Care About The Breast Fetish?

470_2580418I’ve written a series of posts criticizing the breast fetish, not because I’m trying to shame men but because I am concerned with:

  • Women’s self-esteem.
  • Women’s ability to enjoy sexuality. (And if women enjoy it more so do men.)
  • Getting rid of double standards

But I’m not interested in shaming men about the fetish. So what is my point? How would I like to see things change?

A quick reminder of the themes of past posts:

The breast fetish and women’s self-esteem

Living in a world where breasts are constantly obsessed over leaves most women self-conscious and worried they don’t “measure up.” 70% of women don’t think their breasts are good enough. That can affect self-esteem on an everyday basis. And one study found that when college women lost their virginity they also lost confidence in their bodies.

The breast fetish harms sexual enjoyment

When a young woman is busy losing self-esteem over body worries in bed, do you think she is enjoying sex?

And if she’s distracted and not “into it” her partner is probably enjoying himself less, too.

Some men feel disappointed or shamed because their partner’s bodies don’t fit some cultural ideal. So his self-esteem also takes a dive. And some of these guys grow abusive — insisting their partners do things to make up for body “short-comings.”

I know of relationships that have been destroyed by these issues. Not good for anyone.

Double standards

Double standards that obsess over and shame women while ignoring men are no fair. (I don’t think anyone’s body should be picked apart and shamed.)

The breast fetish is not natural, it’s socially constructed

You don’t find it in every culture so it can’t be natural. For more, read “Related Posts” below.

I don’t care about personal preferences

First off, I don’t care about personal preferences.

If you are a guy who is really turned on by breasts, I don’t care.

If you are a guy who’s really turned on by really big breasts… or really small ones… or lopsided ones… or any other sort… I don’t care.

I don’t care about personal preferences…

… but could you keep it to yourself? Or share just with your lady if she happens to fit said preference?

Changing the culture — one conversation at a time

A fetish makes the fetishized body part seem extremely important. And most women don’t feel good about their breasts.

Not announcing your personal preference to everyone you can think of is one step toward changing the culture.

My first boyfriend said his friends wondered why he dated me when I didn’t have big breasts. Did they have to say that? And did he have to tell me that?

Another boyfriend told me about his friend who was obsessed with big breasts. Do I need to know that?

Another male friend loudly proclaimed that big breasts were all he cared about. When I broke up with my boyfriend he wanted to date me. Why would I want to date someone when I’m not his type at all?! No thanks! And btw, I could do without the megaphone announcing how much more attractive you think other women are.

My own brother told me that guys kind of like a bit more up top. So what am I supposed to do with this information?

Oh, and I get to hear guys on my blog go on about how much they like big breasts… or how important breasts are too them…

… Meanwhile, guys have to hear other guys go on about this stuff too, which can affect their self-esteem if girlfriend is otherwise endowed.

I could go on…

The larger culture

Maybe the larger culture could grow more aware of how all this hurts so many of us.

But of course, plenty of money is made by making people feel bad about themselves and then offering a product to “fix” it. That can include breast surgery, under and outer garments to create illusions, and even porn — you can’t get it at home but you can get it here!

Thus, while I would like the larger culture to shift it’s an uphill battle — even if those in charge of the market are also harmed in their intimate lives.

If things don’t change? The plus side

If things still don’t change there is an upside for those who feel they don’t have “perfect” breasts:

You’re more likely to get guys who are empathetic, who don’t objectify you, and who actually like you.

Come to know who we are, and know that you are so much more than this silly fetish.

Men are perfectly capable of having sex and falling in love with women who don’t fit their personal preferences. So why create unnecessary problems?

Related Posts

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 5, 2017, in body image, psychology, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. The size of the breast is one of the problems I worried about during my college. After I fall in love with my first boyfriend, I begin to worry if I’m a sexy woman or attracted to my partner? Although my boyfriend doesn’t say anything about my breast, I will still feel uncomfortable if I see he is staring at another woman who has larger breasts than me. When other people tell me I have a pretty leg, I feel proud of myself, but at the same time, I also feel unconfident about my A cup size breast. I want to be perfect when someone admires me. Then I realize this is unhealthy because you give strangers rights to identify who you are and judge your appearance. You may be proud of yourself when they admire your body, but you also feel anxious if they dislike your body. Different people have different opinions about the definition of sexy. If women care too much about their body shape or breast size, they put themselves in a dangerous situation. I believe the value of ourselves is always defined by ourselves.

  2. I find the topic of “breast fetish” to be very interesting and the effect that it has on a women’s body image. From a very young age I was aware that other girls were developing breasts and I was not. All I ever wanted at the age of 12 was to have breasts like the other girls I saw in my class. I can recall countless times that I would shut myself in my room, stuffing my bra and pretending I had a chest/. After reading numerous articles about the breast fetish, I have come to realize that I wasn’t trying to look like these other teenagers, but that the obsession came from somewhere else. Western culture has taught us that women’s breasts are considered a sex image and that bigger breasts are more desirable. This culture is detrimental to women of all ages and has negative effects on their self-esteem. To this day, I struggle with my own body image and the idea of having perfect breasts.

    • Yeah, it’s a difficult thing. Men are fortunate in that the size of their “packages” aren’t obvious most of the time. Although they can suffer when they have to get naked to have sex if they are small.

      And as it turns out, a study among women in one African country found that the larger her husband‘s penis the more likely she was to have an affair because she wanted to have sex without it hurting. So guys shouldn’t worry so much.

      But women don’t need to worry so much either in that while there are men who really really value large breasts, those are the men who are most likely to objectify women, and not treat women well. So having smaller breasts can help you get higher quality men.

  3. For me I completely agree with this article on how it affects my self-esteem. Personally I hate my breasts and always cover them when a guy sees me naked. I constantly think well mine do not measure up to those other girls. Guys of course reassure and say they are fine, but how do I know if they truly mean that. I agree that I have met and know lots of guys that are obsessed with breasts. Like today I was watching a movie with my guy friend and some girl came on with big breast. He turned to me and said, “I love big boobs, the bigger the better.” Like seriously? Did I need to hear that? No, I do not want to talk about another girls breast. There was a girl in my high school was literally identified to guys with, “oh the girl with the big boobs?” Like she has a name, you do not need to refer to her by her boobs. It really irritates me how obsessed some guys are. I wish society would change, but I do not believe it will.

  4. I blame the Barbie doll. Just imagine a little girl told to play with a perfectly plastic doll her first years of life. She is told to dress her in fashionable clothing. Undressing the doll to find perfectly shaped breast along with the perfect body shape, face, hair, etc. The little girl grows up to want to be just like her beautiful dolls. When the little girl does finally grow up to have a body shape far from her perfectly shape Barbie, it puts pressure on the girl. She starts getting interested in media, society is posting non stop girls who have been edited to match the Barbie. Society upholds the girls who go through plastic surgery to mimic the Barbie look. It is hard when you have had an unrealistic image of perfection brainwashed into your mind at such a young age.

  5. thegreenesteyes

    I have always been on the petite side for my age group since I was very young, whether that be height or weight. It became especially apparent when my peers started developing before me, and they were all well endowed breast size wise. Both female and male peers would comment on this, and this only added to the idea that I wasn’t feminine or attractive enough because I didn’t have any boobs. Boys in my highschool had really crude nicknames for girls – for example, I was “Nancy-no-tits,” and one of my good friends was known as “big jugs.” Breast size has always been a topic for discussion and boys in my age group constantly discussed how they wanted to “shag a girl with big tits” because big boobs = more attractive. I never understood the fascination, as I had personally never found breasts to be of a sexual nature – I had only ever understood their purpose for nurturing babies. But once I started to realise that breasts were also now a huge factor in choosing a sexual partner or being found attractive, I really began to reconsider and worry about myself not being attractive because of my small chest size.

    Watching movies and reading magazines also hurt my perception of myself during this vulnerable time of change, and I began to worry that I would not be found attractive by anyone if I had a smaller chest size. In magazines, movies, adverts, billboards, commercials, there are many attractive women with large breasts that are used to capture the attention of the viewers. An example that stands out for me is Kate Upton’s Carl’s Jr commercial. People talked about it for weeks, and it began to give me a complex, that I would never be able to acheieve this body standard. Models on Instagram, such as Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajowski, have tiny waists, flat stomachs and big boobs, always used to make me reconsider my body type, and wonder if I should have surgery to look more like them. I “wanted” a boob job since I was 14 because of this severe body image issue.
    However, since then I have dated guys who have loved all aspects of my body, as well as seeing models such as Kendall Jenner celebrating the fact that she has small boobs and dressing sexily despite this, has given me more confidence about my body shape, and that not everyone will be able to live up to that body type.

    • Women are made to feel more insecure about their breasts then they actually need to feel. Most men are perfectly happy with their partners breasts.

      There’s a parallel to men and penis size. Most women don’t really care but men come to feel like it’s a really big deal.

  6. Julissa Avila Corona

    During the first few years of my teenage years, I was flat chested. Between my freshmen and senior year I went from a B-cup to a DD-cup. I remember the first time someone made a comment on my breast size. I was in 5th grade and it was towards the end of year. We were all headed over to a golf land course that had some water slides inside the park too. I had bikini under my shirt and the shirt was kinda see through. A boy next to me noticed my classmates breasts and made a positive comment that I can’t remember. He then looked over at me and said how small mine were. I was unsure of how to respond because no one had ever made a comment of my body image. Since that moment I wanted big breasts to feel complete. Well, I got my wish. My beats ended up being too big for me. Being a 36-DD now, I have questioned myself, “ Okay, I have big boobs now. Why don’t I feel complete?” Well, because the rest of my body isn’t where it needs to be yet(shape wise). That’s where exercising and maintaining a good diet come in. I have experienced what it was like to be flat chested and now I think of how wonderful it would be to be a size B-cup again. It sucks that nowadays what shames women on their body image is mainly social media. For example, every time I go on Instagram I get down on myself and how my body is shaped because of other beautiful bodies put there that is considered the “ideal” body figure. Is there really one though? The ideal body figure is overrated. There is nothing we can do to stop people,especially men(although not all men have the same point of view on body figures), from making such comments on our body image. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself and truly love every inch of your body, to point where a comment like that won’t come in and ruin all that hard worked confidence that you built up. I am very lucky that I have a partner who loves me for I am and reminds me that I am perfect in his eyes. One thing is hearing it, another is believing it. I know I’ll gain my confidence and love my body much more.

    • As a guy with a small penis I share the pain you experienced in your early teens – comments about your small breasts. Except, in my case, I waited and waited for the very specific growth spurt which never came. At 2.6 inches I suppose I have the equivalent to an AAA cup. The important thing is to just go with the flow and accept yourself as you are.

  7. After reading this post, I think that I’ve gotten rather lucky with the men in my life. Aside from a few platonic friends in high school, none have ever really addressed this topic with me. I’ve personally never understood breast fetishes—to me, they’ve always just been something to feed babies with, that a lot of men happen to be obsessed with. I don’t feel as though, in terms of body image, criticizing a woman’s breasts is no different from her thighs, her face, even her feet. You’re communicating that something about her physically isn’t up to your standards. Men (and women) with any form of tact won’t simply address the subject. What would kill my self-esteem were to be if someone were to point out my breasts in relation to breastfeeding. I had a friend whose mother-in-law made a comment about how she was surprised that my friend was able to produce enough milk for her child, and it destroyed her feelings about her mothering for a while.

  8. Geawna Hernandez

    As a female, I will never process the reason as to why our society is so obsessed with the size of boobs. I never felt the need to change my appearance, however, there are so many women who fill the need to get a boob job. I understand that we should do whatever we need to make ourselves feel more comfortable in our body, but at the same time we should not let men dictate our bodies. I know many of my former classmates who really wanted to get a boob job. I never understood why until I became older.

    When I became older, people started joking more and more about boobs. (Not in a funny way, but in a rude way.) My aunt teased me in front of all her older friends about how I have none. I don’t know if it was just me being sensitive, but I felt so hurt and embarrassed. How could you tease anyone about a personal appearance? The size of my breast is not something I can control nor do I care of controlling. If we are all for embracing the natural bodies of women, do breasts not count? It’s like teasing someone for being overweight. It’s rude and cruel!

    If we women are going to tease others about the size of our breasts, we make it okay for men to do it too.

  9. This series of posts are fascinating! I’ve never heard this point of view. I remember in middle school it was common for my friends and me to rank our favorite parts of a woman and the top three was always, in varying order, face, boobs, and butt. From such a young age, breasts have always been sexualized. The biological functions of breasts are secondary to their sexual objectification by men. Granted, I never gave too much thought to the reasons why breasts are attractive to men, but if asked I would probably have said evolution. I would have thought that it was an innate desire and chalked it up to being as natural as breathing. I hope I can take this critical analysis and try and see what other aspects of my life and society that I take for granted as being “just how it is” and find out what part our cultural influence plays on my likes and desires.

  10. shannon r green

    As a woman, I don’t really understand the whole breast fetish…….just that it is pain in the boob……I mean butt I mean, men see 1/100000 of a corner of a flap of breast, and he starts salivating like a dog. If people only knew how much work it is to own boobs. The only really good time in our lives is when we are under 10. Then one day, your mom brings home the training bra, and life is never the same. We have these things growing out of our chest and we have to keep them taped down, flattened, and covered. Because if we show them off, all hell will break down. Boobs are only useful for babies. So maybe when men fantasize about them, it takes them back to when they were young and helpless? I sometimes wish we lived in one of those indigenious places were men and women walk around naked all day long. Because even though we don’t like to admit it, those people handle breasts quite well when they see it all day and all night. You never see any of those native men breaking their eyeballs just to see breasts, because they see breasts so often that they have grown absolutely passe about women’s breasts. In the clothed societies, that is not the case. Men want to see breasts all day long. Sometimes they are even turned on by a woman breastfeeding a helpless baby. Come on. All it is, is a mass of skin, fat and trouble. No matter how much a man touches, sucks on, stimulates, and drools over breasts, they are in fact just tissue on a woman’s body that we grow to wish we did not have. Men are greedy, so they only want to see large breast. No, they prefer to see large breasts, but when large breasts are not available, they will look at whatever is available. There are even dirty old men out there that will look at a flat chested little girl. As long as our breasts are scrutinized, it will be difficult for women to lead normal lives. We are just concerned about our breasts and whether they are getting larger or smaller or perky or saggy. Breasts are a drag for women, but for men, it is a source of constant happiness. I mean a poor girl could go crazy after all the emphasis that is put on her breast. LIfe would be so much easier if, back millions of years ago, instead of zeroing in our breasts, they would have decided that the sexiest thing about a woman was her elbows. LOL. \

  11. It’s great to raise awareness about this! Different people have different preferences – so why obsess about it? I realize that this is a big problem for many people, and it’s important to have conversations about it.

    Kathrin — http://mycupofenglishtea.wordpress.com

  12. So should we all (both men and women) stay away from discussions of anybody’s attractiveness, especially in public? And on what is attractive and what is not?

    When I see women on social media describing celebrities (actors, athletes, … ) as “hot” and “sexy” it makes me sick. Because, well, you can guess why.

    • I mentioned to someone else that the !Kung (circa 1970) appreciated all body types. Actually, there the women were more particular — which I think is a problem. It’s certainly possible for people to appreciate variety as the spice of life, whether we are directed toward women or men. Everyone would be happier.

      Are people more interested in judging or being happy and satisfied?

      • I don’t want to be judgemental, and I want to people to be happy.

        So what does it mean to appreciate variety as the spice of life? Does it mean that we should stop publicly praising any quality as being attractive, especially in sexual context? Because any people not possessing these qualities will be offended.

      • Why not?

        I can think of some good reasons to stop doing it (Women like sex more, more self-esteem, Less likely to put men down in reaction to feeling put down themselves…). But I can’t think of any good reasons to do it.

  13. I’ve said this before. when you can’t see there really isn’t anything to worry about when it comes to the body although the subject of breasts is one that never enters my mind so it’s unlikely that I myself would body shame a person it’s more likely that a sighted person will be more likely to body shame somebody when a blind person is less likely to shame as they can’t see what somebody looks like well that’s the theory I go with anyway unless somebody else makes a comment then it’s most likely to be taken on as gospel from another person if blind there’s less likelihood of judgement.

  14. Men will be Men…. but what I believe that Fetish of any kind is not good…. there should be control on every aspect of life……

    • Actually, men are men in different ways in different cultures.

      For instance I read a book about the !Kung (circa 1970) and while men did comment on women’s bodies they didn’t show preferences for certain types. And all women had a high body-esteem. They seemed to enjoy sex a lot too.

      Men really do hurt their own sex lives when they pick apart women’s bodies.

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