nipple confusion

no, this post isn’t about miles going back and forth between a bottle and the breast.  he’s 100% breast fed.  the closest he’s come to any other sort of nipple is the pacifier he sometimes digs into the “kid” drawer in the kitchen to find and gums in a casual fashion.  not that I have anything against bottle feeding and even if I did, god help the person without a disclaimer stating “to each his own” after every stinkin’ opinion that might possibly slightly offend someone else (no, I’m not bitter:)

I guess I’m confused about what is so damn indecent about my nipples.  number one: a man can go shirtless and that’s totally socially acceptable behavior.  this is because women have more breast tissue than men and our breast tissue, though actually intended for feeding babies, has been distorted to have a sexual connotation in our culture.  ok, you want me to feed babies with my breasts in a culture where my breasts are supposed to be covered at all times or else dressed up as sexual items for public viewing.  sure, that’s easy (note: sarcasm).  not hard at all.

not only are my naked breasts only fit for perked up digital enhancement on billboards for advertising purposes but even the outline of my nipples through my clothes is supposedly scandalous.

now, breasts and nipples come in all shapes sizes and pigmentation.  that’s great.  I happen to have very pointy nipples.  they like to stand at attention…any time.  they just seem to naturally hold their shape more than some other peoples do.  this would all be well and fine if I wasn’t given the overwhelming message from a young age that female nipples are indecent, need to be hidden.  that my more firm than average nipples were a public display of indecency and I needed to cover them up, preferably with loads of padding in bras that would not only make them look bigger, but that would also hoist them up and distort their natural shape to boot (yay!  note: sarcasm).

this idea is what drove me nearly to distraction in my younger teenage days when I would spend hours stuffing my bras with toilet paper.  no, not to make my breasts look bigger, to try to conceal the outline of my nipples through my shirts.  this is what made me incredibly self conscious wearing the plain blue bathing suit I donned at 14 all summer long.  this is what has led me for over a decade to learn to stand with my arms crossed over my chest, to pull sweaters and shirts in ways that would bag them out in front, to avoid at all costs what would surely be a complete public embarrassment: if anyone should, GASP, notice or see the outline of my nipples through my shirt (!!!!)

I am 33 and I can finally say that it’s all bull.  the idea that my nipples are somehow indecent, immodest and unnatural is bull ( bologna…or bullshit for all you pg 13ers and up).  through having children and breastfeeding for many years, through coming up again and again against this idea of shame and modesty regarding my breasts and my nipples,  I can finally say that my nipples are not unnatural.  they are not indecent.  my breasts are not sexual objects, nor are they shaped anything like my culture says they should be.  the skin on my breasts is, after breastfeeding three babies, loose and stretch-marked, the underlying tissues soft and pliable.  and my nipples, in contrast, are hard and protruding and dark.  these are real breasts.

the appreciation I now have for my body in general and my breasts won’t sell anybody anything or look good on a billboard.  but it sure as hell brings me a lot of peace and contentment and appreciation.  because this body has done amazing things.  and I don’t desire to cram it into what amounts to modern day corsets or to feel bad about it or hide it.  for the first time in my life, I am not ashamed of my nipples.  I don’t wish them to be different.  I love my body just as it is.  call it indecent.  it’s just me.


Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 5, and 8 living in the metro Lansing area writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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