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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Wordy Wednesday – Cleavage

Dear Daughters,

Okay so it is Thursday, not Wednesday, before I got this posted but it is worth the wait. Today’s Wordy Wednesday word is cleavage – mostly because I used it in my post Dear Daughters, You’ll Never Guess What This Ad Is Selling yesterday .

According to dictionary.com cleavage is many things:

1. the act of cleaving or splitting.

2. the state of being cleft.

3. the area between a woman’s breasts, especially when revealed by a low-cut neckline.

4. a critical division in opinion, beliefs, interests, etc., as leading to opposition between two groups:
a growing cleavage between the Conservative and Liberal wings of the party.

5. the tendency of crystals, certain minerals, rocks, etc., to break in preferred directions so as to yield more or less smooth surfaces (cleavage planes)

6. Embryology. the total or partial division of the egg into smaller cells or blastomeres.

7. Also called scission. Chemistry. the breaking down of a molecule or compound into simpler structures.

In the Western World, when people hear the word cleavage, they think of definition number 3 – a woman’s breasts. But what if I said intermammary cleft, intermammary sulcus or sulcus intermammarius? Those are all just different words for breast cleavage. Could you imagine at a lingerie photo shoot. “Lean forward a little. We are trying to get a good shot of your intermammary sulcus.” Kind of takes the sexy out don’t you think?

But why is cleavage so sexy here in the Western World anyway? It is basically just the crack between your boobs. Your butt has cleavage but no one really finds butt cracks attractive. When women wear those really tight push up bras, it sometimes looks like a big ol’ butt on their chest. And yet in our society, a woman’s breast cleavage is considered highly erotic.

There are even different types of cleavage!

1. Décolletage

This is the most commonly known type of cleavage and many women use this type of cleavage as part of their sexual attractiveness. Décolletage comprises a bare neck, chest and as much cleavage exposed as possible without revealing the nipples. Seems most women’s tops are already designed in a way to enable women to décolletage themselves whether they want to or not. That’s why I buy my tops in the men’s section, or wear a hoodie!

2. Side cleavage a.k.a side boob

I don’t think this requires much more explanation.

3. Bottom cleavage

And no they are not talking about butt cracks here. Bottom cleavage refers to the exposure of the underside of a woman’s breasts, such as when they are hanging out beneath a short crop top. This type of cleavage is also referred to as neathage. Get it? It is a combo of the words underneath and cleavage. Bottom cleavage is also referred to as underboob.

So what’s the big deal about our society’s obsession with cleavage you may ask? The big deal is that we don’t make any sense. In our society it is perfectly acceptable for women to walk around in clothes that allow for décolletage cleavage, side boob and underboob – basically for their boobs to be half hanging out from three different angles. Not only is it acceptable but sadly women and young girls feel they have to have cleavage in order to be sexy. And even more sad is the fact that women and young girls are worried about being sexy anyway. Our society sends the message to women and young girls that our worth is all in how we look. Our obsession with the different types of cleavage kind of supports this message doesn’t it?

If it doesn’t then why is it that women and young girls can walk around with all but their nipples exposed and that’s okay, but women who expose their breasts for their intended use – to nourish young humans – must hide in dirty bathroom stalls or sit among other boob-baring women in designated boob-baring areas in order to use their breasts in this manner? It is offensive to people to see a breast exposed by a breastfeeding mother but totally acceptable for breasts to be half hanging out of a top for your viewing pleasure and/or to make the breasts’ owner feel sexy? Are we as a society saying that as long as there is not a baby sucking on it, cleavage is an acceptable exposure of a breast? Isn’t there something dangerously wrong with this logic?

breastfeeding

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