Real Boobs & Our Complicated Feelings About Them

Three new-ish sites aim to celebrate the uniqueness of the female form, but also present an inherent contradiction: why do we feel compelled to flash our private parts in order to feel more comfortable in our skin?

(Photo: iStock)
(Photo: iStock)

We’re all pretty familiar with what happens when starlets and supermodels bare their breasts in the name of advertising: designers make bank, box office booms and individual fame meters skyrocket. (See: Jenner, Kendall.) But when 100 regular women get their bras off in the name of art something invaluable takes place. Faced with the infinite variety of the female form, we briefly experience liberation from the unrelenting pressure to be perfect—and we begin to question the ridiculousness of feeling it in the first place.

Or at least that’s how I felt looking at the website Bare Reality, for which more than 100 women allowed UK photographer Laura Dodsworth to photograph their breasts. (Dodsworth is currently looking for crowd funding on Kickstarter to turn the art project into a book.) Bare Reality offers undeniable evidence that no two breasts are quite alike. Moreover, it gives the women pictured the opportunity to talk about what their breasts mean to them. It may sound a little touchy-feely but it’s not entirely: the women are frank and real and the stories featured so far make for entertaining reads.

Bare Reality isn’t the only forum for women to talk ta-tas. The website Our Breasts achieves a similar feat, showing up the culture’s preoccupation with perky yet full funbags with some real-life examples of Mother Nature’s bounty. But it also offers women an education, too. For example, one post explains why some women have bumpy areolas (they’re called Montgomery glands).

Our Breasts doesn’t stop there. It also has a sister site: The Large Labia Project, which attempts to normalize women’s feelings about their equally one-of-a-kind vaginas. Both sites aim to celebrate the uniqueness of the female form, but both also embody a few inherent complications, too. For one, it seems a strange paradox that women feel compelled to show their breasts and vaginas to the world in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.

But then again, perhaps the existence of Bare Reality, Our Breasts and The Large Labia Project will embolden more women to not just accept, but also come to terms with their uniqueness… and then move on to more pressing matters. Maybe one day, after we’ve let go of the lie of perfection and reclaimed our private parts for ourselves, we’ll feel less compelled to present our naked bodies as testimony to our worth—and be more inclined to tell those who undermine them to grow up once and for all.

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