Cover image for Breasts : the women's perspective on an American obsession
Breasts : the women's perspective on an American obsession
Latteier, Carolyn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Haworth Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
ix, 200 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT498.B47 L37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Breasts: The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession describes and explores our national breast fetish, which is defined as a culturally constructed obsession that is deeply interwoven with beauty standards, breastfeeding practices, and sexuality. By tracing the complex history of this erotic fascination and discovering how it affects men's and women's sexuality and their relationships, this book will help women accept their breasts as they are and provide male readers with insight into how women think and feel about their bodies. This awareness will enable them to better understand and empathize with women's experiences as objects of a cultural fetish.

Focusing on adult joys and anxieties about breasts, sex, and breastfeeding, this text uses research and expert opinions from several different fields, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, mythology, and sexology. You will find several other issues in Breasts: The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession that involve men's and women's struggles with this obsession, such as: breast implants human psychology and breasts beauty standards and breast sexuality how breasts are portrayed in mythology and art how ancient religions saw the breast as a sign of motherhood and giver of life "breast men" debates on how and why the breast evolved adolescent girls and breasts breast activists, such as La Leche League, who are proponents of breastfeeding in public

Through personal interviews with men and women, Breasts: The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession also addresses women's pride and shame about their breasts and their confusion about the attention their breasts receive. Ultimately, this exploration of breast obsession sheds light on our society's general fear of and ambivalence toward women's bodies. Breasts: The Women's Perspective on an American Obsession shows you that breasts have a venerable history and urges you to see beyond the contemporary standards of visual perfection to give you an overall sense of the female body's power and worth.

Author Notes

Carolyn Latteier, MA, is a freelance journalist and graduate of Washington State University

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Why do so many women feel dissatisfied with their breasts? Why do so few mothers breast-feed their babies? Why are women judged by the size and shape of their breasts? These are the central questions posed by Latteier in this study. Using a combination of personal experience, experience of others, and research from a variety of disciplines, Latteier explores the social construction of breasts in a patriarchy. Her discussion of the difficult and complex questions posed by breast augmentation is especially interesting. Why are some women willing to obtain an implant, knowing it may shorten their life? Why is nursing a baby in public regarded as obscene? This provocative, clearly written book gets to the core of some fundamental issues in a straightforward way. All levels. C. Adamsky; emeritus, University of New Hampshire

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Part 1 Image and Icon
Chapter 1. Love and Loathingp. 3
Chapter 2. Initiationp. 15
Chapter 3. Dressing the Partp. 25
Chapter 4. A Matter of Life and Deathp. 41
Part 2 We Two are the Universe
Chapter 5. Garden of Paradisep. 61
Chapter 6. When Instinct Meets Culturep. 75
Part 3 Sex
Chapter 7. Circles of Desirep. 95
Chapter 8. Breast Menp. 113
Part 4 Thinking About Breasts
Chapter 9. How the Woman Got Her Breastsp. 129
Chapter 10. The Great and Terrible Breastp. 141
Chapter 11. Breasts Unboundp. 153
Notesp. 167
Bibliographyp. 177
Indexp. 195