On the Baring of Women's Breasts:
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O nagości kobiecych piersi "widokiem oko skromne przerażającym, a lubieżne zapalającym"
On the Baring of Women's Breasts: "a sight horrifying the modest eye, yet lasciviously exciting"

Author(s): Mariola Bieńko
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Instytut Stosowanych Nauk Społecznych Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: female; breast; body; nudity; culture; sexuality

Summary/Abstract: The purpose of this article is to introduce a range of notions regarding the perception of women's breasts in public and in private. Breasts have played an important role in defining specific functions of the female body, while at the same time they are of enormous cultural significance. This paper is an attempt to present the diversity of historical and cultural exemplifications of constructs of the breast. Over the centuries, female breasts have alternately been denounced as wanton or idealised as givers of strength or life, or - in a decidedly erotic context - treated as a naked symbol of sex. This quality of womanliness, stripped of its sanctity, became a playground of male desire, and in western culture assumed a predominantly erotic sense. The article discusses the phenomenon of breast fetish, understood as a culturally constructed obsession in which canons of beauty, sexuality, the practice of breast feeding and breast cancer all intermingle.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 17 (1)
  • Page Range: 97-112
  • Page Count: 15