Yesterday as I figured out what was going on with all the women on Facebook posting colors in their status updates, I first thought, "That's kind of cute." But then the colors started expanding into fabric descriptions: "silky," "lacy." If the chain message had ever been a secret amongst the females of Facebook, it couldn't have stayed one for long with all the postings of "nude," "natural," and "hanging free!"
Now, I've read other comments about the lack of modesty displayed. I don't fall into that camp. I'm pretty sure the obsession with breasts in our culture is related to our repressed Victorian attitude about them, and I do not believe that telling someone the color of my bra is inherently scandalous, or even immodest. However, I was a little disturbed by the updates that had more to do with the titillation factor than the cause of curing a disease. Are campaigns like this and "Save the Ta-tas" effective at getting attention? Sure. But for what purpose? "Save the Ta-tas" does actually go the extra step and use that attention to raise awareness about breast cancer and research toward a cure. This Facebook thing has yet to go there. Even if it does eventually explicitly connect with breast cancer awareness, however, it still gives the impression that we are most concerned about this particular form of cancer, not because it kills people, but because it might diminish women's sex appeal. Because death is but a small concern if our breasts are intact (and firm and perky besides).
I didn't play the game, although I'll happily tell you the color of my bra (beige...not very titillating). I just have no desire to be reduced from a person to a body part - or even two body parts - even for the cause of curing cancer. Also, I don't find cutesy games involving "secrets" from half of the population you're allegedly trying to reach to be a particularly effective way to raise awareness.
In honor of breasts everywhere, and the women of whom they are but a small part, today's poem comes from the Song of Songs (JPS translation) chapter 7.
Turn back, turn back,
O maid of Shulem!
Turn back, turn back,
That we may gaze upon you.
"Why will you gaze at the Shulammite
In the Mahanaim dance?"
How lovely are your feet in sandals,
O daughter of nobles!
Your rounded thighs are like jewels,
The work of a master's hand.
Your navel is like a round goblet -
Let mixed wine not be lacking! -
Your belly like a heap of wheat
Hedged about with lilies.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes like pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim,
Your nose like the Lebanon tower
That faces toward Damascus.
The head upon you is like crimson wool,
The looks of your head are like purple -
A king is held captive in the tresses.
How fair you are, how beautiful!
O Love, with all its rapture!
Your stately form is like the palm,
Your breasts are like clusters.
I say: Let me climb the palm,
Let me take hold of its branches;
Let your breasts be like clusters of grapes,
Your breath like the fragrance of apples,
And your mouth like choicest wine.
"Let it flow to my beloved as new wine
Gliding over the lips of sleepers."