Re-posted from Impressions (Originally posted on January 29, 2014)
. By T.V. Antony Raj
If the man gaping at a woman’s cleavage is handsome, she will coyly say: “He is audacious!,” if not she would retort: “He is a pervert!”
If the woman with an eyeful cleavage pays attention to a man, he will chuckle and say: “She is sexy!,” if not he would riposte: “She is a whore!”
Cleavage of a woman (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Cleavage, anatomically known as the intermammary cleft or the intermammary sulcus, is the space between a woman’s breasts lying over the sternum.
From time immemorial, women’s breasts are synonymous with feminineness. Invariably, well-endowed women often use cleavage to physically attract and sexually lure others (mainly men). They accentuate their cleavage by wearing garments with low necklines, alluring evening attire, flimsy lingerie and revealing swimwear. Thus, they find sadistic pleasure in kindling jealousy in other less-endowed women.
Midhuna Waliya in Transparent Saree (Source: zimbio.com)
Most men derive erotic pleasure when their female companions display their cleavage with aesthetic effect. However, a few envious men, mainly companions of slim flat-chested women, resort to branding the copious women as flirts and seductresses.
Bartholomeus van der Helst. Anna du Pire as Granida. 1660. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, Prague.
In western societies, opinions differ about how much cleavage exposure is acceptable in public. In many cases, though displaying cleavage is permissible, it may be prohibited by dress codes set by churches, schools, and workplaces, where flagrant exposure of any part of the female breast might be considered inappropriate, and a woman who dares to show her nipples or areolae is almost always considered immodest, lewd, and indecent.
When it comes to cleavages, former British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, former US Senator Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vera Lengsfeld, the Conservative Christian Democratic Union candidate for Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district gained attention on the international political front for wearing low-cut blouses revealing just the slightest hint of cleavage.
Former British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith
Revealing: Jacqui Smith in the Commons (Source: dailymail.co.uk)
Jacqui Smith, a member of the British Labour Party was appointed Home Secretary in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet reshuffle of June 28, 2007. Just one day into her new job bombs were found in London and a terrorist attack took place in Glasgow the following day.
Jacqui Smith drew attention for wearing a revealing black top under her tightly fitting white jacket. It caused a stir as other MPs struggled to concentrate on the security threat under discussion.
Her attire prompted the House of Commons wags to wisecrack as “Weapons of mass distraction.”
Former US Senator Hillary Clinton
On July 20, 2007, Washington Post published an article written by Pulitzer Prize winner Robin Givhan in its Fashion section titled “Hillary Clinton’s Tentative Dip Into New Neckline Territory.” Givhan wrote:
There was cleavage on display Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. It belonged to Sen. Hillary Clinton.
She was talking on the Senate floor about the burdensome cost of higher education. She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.
The Washington Post’s editorial writer, Ruth Marcus, criticized Robin Givhan’s article. She wrote that Robin Givhan “dissected” Hillary Clinton “for showing cleavage.” Marcus added, “Might I suggest that sometimes a V-neck top is only a V-neck top? As a person of cleavage, I’d guess that Clinton’s low-cut shirt simply reflected a few centimeters of sartorial miscalculation, not a deliberate Fashion statement.”
Another Washington Post columnist, Dana Milbank, also seemed to distance himself from the Givhan article during a July 26 appearance on MSNBC News Live.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Don’t look down: Angela Merkel with Mr Stoltenberg last night (Source: dailymail.co.uk)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel wore a glamorous and impressive blue décolletage with a blue bolero shawl designed by Anna von Griesham while chatting with Jens Stoltenberg, prime minister of Norway, at the opening of the Olso Opera House on April 12, 2008. Mr Stoltenberg maintained crucial, and diplomatic, eye contact with his guest at the inauguration of the cultural landmark.
On April 14, 2008, Gawker, a media gossip website published a page titled “German Chancellor Angela Merkel not Afraid to Show Her Breastesses” written by Shea. The writer wrote:
“For my upcoming vacation in Germany, I decided to study up on some of its elected leaders. What was discovered about Chancellor Angela Merkel? She’s not afraid to show a little cleavage during a night out at the Opera! Click for it… if you dare.
Gawker welcomed commentators to make light of the German leader’s outfit with quips ranging from the flippant: “Deutschland boober alles” to the politically slanted: “Imagine. A female head of state okay with being a woman.“
This photo of Chancellor Angela Merkel provided enough fodder for the media around the world. The media focused on the German leader’s appearance. Unflattering photos of the chancellor wearing a peach-colored dress with sweat stains under her arms at the 2005 Bayreuth festival were widely circulated.
“I’m Big in the Bumdestag”
In 2006, the British tabloid The Sun published photos of Merkel changing into a bathing suit while on vacation in Italy, giving its article the headline “I’M BIG IN THE BUMDESTAG,” in a reference to the Bundestag, home of the German federal parliament. The article and photos solicited an indignant response from a number of German publications, which felt the country’s leader deserved more respect.
An election campaign poster for the 2009 general election with the words ‘ We have more to offer’ shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Vera Lengsfeld (Photo – REUTERS)
During a tough political campaign for the 2009 general election, Vera Lengsfeld (61), the Conservative Christian Democratic Union candidate for Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, used pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and herself in low-cut dresses. To draw attention to serious election issues she put up 750 provocative campaign posters accompanied by the slogan “Wir haben mehr zu bieten” (“We Have More to Offer”). Lengsfield bought the rights to use the picture of Merkel but did not seek the Chancellor’s permission. However, the posters had a positive impact.
To her critics Lengsfield said: “It is ridiculous to suggest that I am being sexist or antifeminist. I am a woman and I am proud of that.”
A mother breast-feeding her baby by sculptor Aryanad Rajendran conveys the message of love.
It is said that a child’s fascination with breasts starts from the moment it isbreastfed as a baby. The odor of milk emanating from a mother’s breast draws her infant towards her. The basic instinct in any living being is to seek safety from the surrounding environment. Hence, the child too finds comfort by nestling on its mother’s breasts. It finds not only nourishment while suckling the mother’s breast, but also the mother’s unconditional love.
If this assumption is true, then what about the children who were notbreastfed?
Many bottle-fed children, especially those whose mothers were buxom are just as fascinated with breasts as those who were breast-fed.
When children, whether breastfed or bottle-fed grow up the embedded image on their brain of their mother’s breast surfaces sporadically as sexual fantasies. They eye women with large breasts and quite often become obsessed with them.
Women, whether breastfed or bottle-fed, do not react the same way as men because breasts naturally grow on their own in women. However, studies show that breastfed women have a healthier opinion of their own breasts in their adulthood.
Sigmund Freud, a firm supporter of the nature argument, believed that sexual drives are instinctive. He viewed sexuality as the central source of human personality. He said that a child’s first erotic object is the mother’s breast.