Breasts without Brushes

By on September 19, 2014

Photo Credit: Laura Dodsworth

Photo Credit: Laura Dodsworth

The other night I was watching the “Brave New World” episode of the first season of Masters of Sex (yes, I know I’m slightly behind the times). At the end of the episode, Virginia Johnson, the other half of the Masters and Johnson research team responsible for uncovering more than anyone ever knew about orgasms, undoes her blouse, and bares her boobs for research. The premise is to prove to Dr. Masters that women can indeed have orgasms through breast stimulation alone. While the point of the study is interesting, I was more fascinated, or perhaps slightly infatuated, with Lizzy Caplan, the actress who plays Virginia Johnson, and her perfect breasts. And then I thought about the whole show, and realized that there were a lot of terrific tits bouncing around in almost all of the episodes.

My mind began to wander a bit. Like a remote control scanning the channels, I thought about all the TV shows. movies and magazines I have seem in which breasts are displayed, and realized there was almost always one common denominator in how breasts were displayed. Almost all, if not all, of these boob images showed pretty, perky and perfectly proportional tatas. It didn’t bother me that most women don’t have these kinds of breasts (and quite frankly I’m curious what percentage of women do), but I wondered if the women who are willing to bear their breasts on National TV only do so because they know they have what society thinks are beautiful breasts.

As someone who’s long been fixated on her own breasts, watching a shirtless Lizzy Caplan made me feel a slight bit more insecure about how mine were hanging these days. However, after doing some Internet searching, I found the most wonderful thing to happen to boobs. And that wonderful thing is a person, and a project, more specifically Laura Dodsworth’s Bare Reality Project. In Bare Reality, the project/book, Dodsworth, a feminist and a photographer, delves deep into the difference between how breasts are portrayed in the media as opposed to real life. Alongside each photograph of breasts is the story behind them. Dodsworth writes on her website, “I decided to create Bare Reality because I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption.”

It’s quite a relief to gaze at the 100 different varieties of breasts in the Bare Reality project, and to see that most real boobs aren’t picture perfect. As The Guardian article on Dodsworth’s project says, “The shocking thing about Laura Dodsworth’s pictures of 100 women’s breasts isn’t the flesh on show, or the many shapes and sizes, but the realisation that images of unairbrushed, non-uniform breasts seem to be so rare.”

It is rare, too rare and I  wish there was some way to get more real boobs on television, and not just in porn or on reality TV shows that deal with sex, because that’s not the place most people will be watching to see who’s hanging how. But I know that I for one, still wouldn’t be willing to just get topless, because of how my boobs look compared to say, Lizzy Caplan. And I also know that I feel badly that this is the case. Still, I know revealing more real boobs would help women, like me, who have felt insecurity about their size, shape or sag to realize we’re not only normal, and our boobs are not only acceptable, heck, they’re just as beautiful as all other boobs.


What makes boobs beautiful to you?

To support Bare Reality, go to Kickstarter.