Last year on holiday I sunbathed topless. A friend of mine was also sunbathing without her bikini top on as were a couple of other women, not to mention all of the men, around the pool. No big deal.
At one point I sat up to get a drink and my long hair fell in front of my chest, hiding my breasts but leaving my bare back exposed.
Upon seeing my strapless back, a teenage boy who was around sixteen or seventeen, exclaimed, “Oh my God, that girl hasn’t got a top on.”
I then heard the boy, who was also shirtless might I add, telling an older family member that he didn’t understand how I could bring myself to take my top off when I was surrounded by people. He then blew my mind completely by making a comment about how it was illegal.
This boy genuinely thought I was breaking the law by removing my bikini top. Despite the fact he could not even see my chest as my back was to him, (although by this point I probably had turned around to give him my death stare), the thought of my bare body really freaked him out.
He was acting as though I had just chopped off his grandmother’s head instead of having simply sat up on my sun lounger to have a sip of diet coke.
Although I found his beliefs quite amusing, part of me also felt quite saddened by his thought process when it came to the female body. I offended him without even doing anything. I offended him by simply existing.
My body offended him because it is different, because it is female.
Let’s face it, the naked female body can be found virtually anywhere. Over the years, scantily clad and even bare breasts have been used more and more in the media and now nobody bats an eyelid over using a pornographic image to sell a sandwich.
The female body has become so over-sexualised through advertising and the sex industry that it is now the norm to see breasts on screen and on paper everywhere you turn.
Yet, in stark contrast to this it seems that the breasts of real women, (and by that I mean women who have not been airbrushed or made to look like sex dolls), remain taboo.
Whether breasts are exposed because somebody is sunbathing or feeding their child, (the latter is what breasts were created for, remember!), people go bat-shit crazy because they have no idea how to react to them.
The sexualisation of breasts sends out the message that they are taboo and should be forbidden. We have been conditioned to see them as erotic and wrong but, in reality, breasts are just another body part.
The difference between the male and female chest is nothing more than excess tissue and fat. I actually know men who have larger breasts than I do, yet their chests are not deemed as being offensive whereas mine is. Why is that again? Oh that’s right, because I’m female.
Over time the female body has been turned into something sexual, something taboo, something offensive. I am telling you, my body is not offensive. It is just a body.