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9 February 2007


Breasts, Germaine Greer and whether pornography degrades women

By Simon Munnery

Recently I’ve been thinking about bras. Who hasn’t? They’re everywhere these days: on television, advertising hordings, women’s bodies. Men’s bodies sometimes; I am wearing one now as I type this, as a form of research. And I am a man. Oh yes – and determined to remain one, despite all the provocation, and the doctors’ efforts.

Bras disgust me. They intrigue me. They delight me. But most of all they puzzle me. How do you get them off? How do you get them on? Why wear one in the first place? And what’s going on with lace? Eh? It’s just material with holes in it; less cloth for more money. Harmless enough, some might say, but that money could have been used for hospitals. And what pray will be the evolutionary impact of the bra in the long term? Has the bra enabled larger breasted women who would naturally have died out – by toppling or ostracisation – to live longer and have more sex hence more offspring, thereby raising the average breast size of the population? Or is the recorded rise in average breast volume simply a result of the fundamental law of supply and demand? After all, nature abhors a vacuum. And so do I. But I also abhor Nature, so I abhor two things to Nature’s one, and thus I win. For now at least – in the fullness of time it may turn out that Nature also abhors me, evening the score – but should that happen at least I’ll have been noticed by Nature and that’ll be nice.

But is the recorded lift in mean tit circumference something to be welcomed – or fought against tooth and nail? Surely – and research may well back this up – some relation must exist between mammary capacity and for example intelligence. Perhaps an inverse relationship: The same nutrients can’t go to two parts of the body. When they look back at us will they say “‘Twas as if they willed their own demise.”

Hooters, tits, ya yas, bouncy castles, call them what you like, you can’t get away from them – but what is so attractive about breasts? Is it because there are two of them and that represents good value? For thousands of years, millions of months from a woman’s perspective – think what that means – men have venerated women’s bodies. We put them on pedestals. Why? Was it so we could look up their skirts?

Does pornography degrade women? Or does it merely raise the standard by which they are judged? And who shot J.R.? A woman no doubt, but that is unusual. Generally – and I use the word advisedly, perhaps ill advisedly, time will tell – it is men that do all the murder and commit all the crime. Yes yes yes; but who gave birth to the swine? Who raised them to be as they are? Women, that’s who. I rest my case.

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For what greater power does one person have over another than that of mother over child? They give them life, perhaps to their own detriment. Does a chink of a woman’s soul, a proportion of her spark get transferred by some as yet unnamed scientific process to the foetus – and if so is that why most new mothers resemble – to some extent – zombies – because they are partially dead already? Or is their zombiness caused only by the sheer arduousness of the task; in which case shouldn’t it be a job for men?

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Should women be allowed to raise children? Generally, and I use the word advisedly – partly to prevaricate but also to entertain – one should never generalise about women. Because women don’t like being generalised about, generally. What apart from booboos are their qualifications for the job – perhaps the only undeniably important job that there is? Recently there’s been fuss in the media about whether or not Catholics should be allowed to raise children; the argument being that if they are allowed to do so there is a danger Catholicism may be passed on to the young. How much more dangerous to allow women to raise children and allow all woman’s myriad faults to be perpetuated.

I have no interest in history, it’s all water under the bridge in my book, but it was Germaine Greer I believe who kick-started the feminist movement in the sixties by symbollically removing her bra and setting fire to it. She then went on to write a series of bestsellers about the incident: ‘Why I burned my bra’; ‘How I burned my bra’; ‘My bra, burning’; ‘May I burn your bra too?’; ‘Bras aflame girls, come on’ and so on which established her as an author of high repute.

Of course like all pivotal events in the collection of lies we call history it happened by accident to some extent, chance played it’s part – perhaps she was undressing while fiddling with matches, multitasking like they do – ineffectively – but it happened to the right person at the right time and she was able to capitalise on it. Good on her. Don’t be a stick in the mud – learn how to surf. Ride the Zeitgeist. Eat your dinner. Don’t talk back to your mother. etc.

Fortune favours the brave, and also the fortunate. One could enquire as to the psychological aspects; did she find herself blessed with a flat chest, and the bra being superfluous anyway, it’s accidental conflagration actually a bonus? Something similar happened to Cassius Clay.

The feminist movement seems bizarre in retrospect, now that it’s clearly over. “All men are bastards” they claimed. But why? Could it be because all women are whores? But one cannot blame Germaine for this, or anything, given her gender.

For women to want more power, when they already had 99% of it seems just greedy. If they wanted men to be different to how they are, they must raise their sons differently. You must raise your boys to do housework ladies, if you want the housework done. But where will you be? Down the mine? On the battlefront? Boozing? You cannot beat us and join us.

It is said “a woman’s work is never done”, to which I would add only one word – properly. Recently I conducted a time and motion study on my wife: Lots of time, very little motion. And it set me thinking, aside from child rearing what have women ever achieved? A comparative list of great inventors of the past may prove enlightening: Men: Isaac Newton – who invented the laws of mechanics which make the game of pool possible; Sir Michael Faraday – who invented electricity, without which we couldn’t have big screen sport; Albert Einstein -who invented the space-time continuum which makes enables horse racing; and William Hill. And there are many others. But on the list of Great Female Inventors of The Past there is only one name: Marie Curie. And what did she invent? Cancer.

And what do women do, generally? I made a list: shop, gossip, and moan. It’s not an exhaustive list – one could add of course chores and witchcraft- but those are the main three. On the other hand perhaps moaning has a positive value: It was the Reverend J Malthus I believe who wrote “What are woman’s moans but the engine of industrial change? For what is more natural than for the nagged man to repair unto the tavern and plan the future?”

“No woman no cry” sang Bob Marley, correctly: No women – no crying; one woman – some crying; several women – much crying; a nation of women – Woman’s Hour.

I’ve been studying women for a long time now, from the inside to begin with, more recently using binoculars, sniffing apparatus, and sound recording devices which I secrete in their toilets. Nothing to report; I have been unable to hear the audio playback due to the blood thumping in my ears. Yet despite my studies women remain a mystery to me. Who are they? What do they want? If you ask a woman what she wants she’ll say sex, but then you give it to them and they say ‘yes but that wasn’t it, quite’. Why do they want sex anyway? They’re not very good at it and they don’t enjoy it. And their vaginas are too big.

The word ‘bra’ undoubtedly comes from the French word ‘bra’, meaning arm. And that is how a woman feels when she puts on her bra: armed, and dangerous. So let us remember: Breasts are something to be overcome, not come over.