If you ask me, the fact a photographer can take shots of a topless Kate Middleton and then get them published may make you think: Really? In 2012? A woman has breasts, and it’s still considered news? You might further think: It’s as if no woman has ever had breasts before, but that would be plain daft.
Indeed, the latest scientific research actually indicates breasts pre-date the iPod, George Foreman’s Lean Mean Grilling Machine, and even those little Pez dispensers which hold 10 Pez a piece in a wide variety of flavours. They may even go further back than the Corby Trouser Press, although this is still highly controversial. (If you are interested in this, a symposium on which came first, breasts or mechanical devices to smooth garments back into shape, is being held on the subject in London later this month.)
So it’s not as if breasts have been around since the beginning of humankind, and aren’t a sensational novelty capable of selling newspapers if, for example, they were to be published day after day on one of the pages, like Page 3. There is a group ( @NoMorePageThree) aiming to prevent this on the grounds such photographs objectify, demean, insult and degrade women – and are just all-round sad – but, again, this is plain daft.
As one woman who happens to have breasts (two, on the upper torso; one to the right, one to the left) told me: “It’s not as if my breasts are a matter for me and only me, or have any purpose beyond male gratification. It’s not as if they’re Pez dispensers which can hold 10 Pez a piece in a wide variety of flavours.” And as a male then added: “If they could be used for something worthwhile, like feeding the infants of our species, that would be something. But until then – or at least until I can use them to, say, scrape down the car on a frosty morning – I’m going to oggle as I’ve been conditioned to do.”
As for the male penis, which is never “papped”, and does not appear in the press day after day, some would say this is because such publications are male-owned and male-controlled and males do not wish to be viewed as having nothing better to do than stand around with their dicks out, as this would be insulting, demeaning, degrading and objectifying. However, this is daft beyond daft. There is no similar interest in penises for one reason only: as men have always had them – they even pre-date the know-how necessary to turn potatoes into crisps – who cares?