Sunday, May 13, 2012

It is Mother’s Day and with cards and flowers and a dinner cooked by someone else for a change is the order of the day today. Thank God for Mothers that take care of us all unconditionally all the time. So, it is fitting that we take the time to thank a Mother somewhere in our lives for even choosing to be a Mother. We do have many choices these days and for a woman to stop their lives to nurture another person in their body and then out of their body for a lifetime is something very important to be noticed. She can choose to not be a wife or a girlfriend anymore but she can never choose to not be that Mom .
Momma is the short hand term of affection that is derived from the Latin word for the breast. That is part of the anatomy that is literally close to the heart and the first source for comfort and love. Just go to any mall and hope you see some young Mother whip her big gorging full of milk breast out to her screaming hungry baby and get a glimpse of her giving that child immediate warm and nutritious satisfaction. We see them bare in all renaissance paintings with babies and young children huddled around them; the very attraction to a child. Even in the early drawings of the Madonna and baby Jesus found in churches, the bare breast is the symbol of Motherhood at its neediest.
Now they are idolized when peeking atop a corset; fetishists when seen in the singer Madonna flaunting them on stage tucked into a cone bra; idealized in those Renaissance works of art; stylized in a print advertisement and men just love to stare at breasts, even the gay guys wished they had some. However, these days they might also be lethal. They are the most vulnerable organ to cancer in women’s bodies.
Mother’s Day has nothing to do with us. It is all about Mother and child and the tie that binds them. In practically all corners of the world and in every language the one word that can be heard everywhere and is usually the first word you hear from a baby is Mama. In paintings it is a source of imagery and has now been a concern for medical challenges.
There are few images in the Christian world more universal than the image of Mary the Mother of God nurturing bare breasted her baby Jesus. A image considered very sacred and the basis for all the new Testament writings. Since the earliest forms of human expression the breast has been front and center. There is a piece of pottery found that is said to be as old as 25,000 BC that is an image of a naked bare breasted woman called the Venus of Lund Orff.
According to Beth Rosenberg who teaches Art history at the New York School of visual Arts, we see breasts through Art history because they are about life. They are uniquely designed to feed human babies. Human infants are a lot different from other mammals in that humans do not have a protuberant snout. A science journalist Florence Williams has a book out called Breasts a natural and unnatural history. She says that researchers are still analyzing them. I love to analyze them too for different reasons.
Breasts are very unique in the animal kingdom in that other primates only have breasts while they are breastfeeding. Human breasts are there long before they are needed for nursing. Thankfully, nursing just makes them bigger. In her book she states that there are disagreements whether they evolved for sex or just a source for food. Are they sexual signals? Well, if they are it is obvious that the sex will lead to motherhood in any case.
Even in pop culture, we cannot let them go. They are what makes some movies great. We can never forget the focus on breasts in the movie, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas made in 1982 that featured Dolly Parton’s attributes other that singing. Or how about Raquel Welch’s fine fun bags in the 1966 movie “One Million Years B.C.” I mean her nurturing Mother’s Day whatever. Who can forget Halley Berries giant berries in the James bond movie “Die Another Day made in 2002; especially the scene when she rises out of the sea in her bikini. Yes, we need to thank God for women on this day. And to rent these old movies again.
Those bigger than life images in movies and renaissance paintings leave women feeling that they have to have more and thus feel inadequate. Most women really do not like their breasts. Few people understand it more than a lingerie saleswoman who always deal with women that want the opposite of what they have, too big or too small breasts. The Houston, Texas doctor even developed the first breast silicone implant in 1962. We all know the adverse health problems they have caused women. So just celebrate mothers today and all they have offered to the world. Their breasts. Sigh.

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