A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Since long before Eleanor of Aquitaine rode topless to Constantinople during the 2nd Crusade in 1145, it’s been common knowledge that women have breasts. To clarify, those are the jiggly things featured so prominently on 90s TV shows like Baywatch and sports car advertisements. Breasts have always been part of Western culture (Venus de Milo is two millennia old) but, for the most part, history has reserved any unruly obsession with them to teenage girls and pubescent boys. However, as our society continues to shallow out at the deep end that adolescent thinking is becoming more and more prevalent. Led by the gossip/celebrity/entertainment industry, which headlines every millimetre of exposed flesh as “stunning,” “steamy,” “outrageous” or “shocking,” breasts are now occupying a prominent place in our social thinking. (*Heavy Sigh*) Yes, I know: big breasts are prominent.
The problem is our society is not very sophisticated. We might be 21st century intellectual adults, able to identify all the anatomical parts we possess, but emotionally we’re still 19th century children, utterly fascinated by the bodily bits that are under our clothes. (BTW, this is now an exclusively male addiction. It’s the female demographic that drives the Tittle/Tattle industry. Men normally cut out the middleman and go directly to porn.) This juvenile thinking has created a feeding frenzy for smut. In the age of the celebrity sex tape, wardrobe malfunctions are now front page news, décolletage is considered daring and more than one aspiring starlet has accelerated her career with an “accidental” topless tweet. We are inundated by softcore porn, from off-handed nudity on television to the well orchestrated “nip slip” (which is just too childish to discuss any further.) In short, we’re living in a twelve-year-old’s daydream.
Now, to these current conditions, let’s add the most famous couple of our time, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a hot and sunny summer vacation, and a moron with a telephoto camera lens. What you end up with is sleazy pictures of an unsuspecting Kate Middleton, smeared across the cover of a French tabloid magazine. I am not even going to dignify these goings-on with outrage.
However, here’s an interesting idea. There is something intrinsically wrong with a society that’s constantly playing sneak-a-peek with itself. This is especially true when, to be candid, the marketplace for breasts is absolutely saturated. You can’t go five feet in this world without somebody flopping their boob out at you. We are not driven to this level of immaturity; we actively seek it out like excited school children with an illicit toy.
In a more civilized time, William, the future king of England, would have been well within his rights to grab the tawdry photographer by the scruff of the neck and horsewhip him through the streets of Paris. Or better still, call the publisher of that sordid little magazine out on the field of honour and shoot the scoundrel. Unfortunately, we do not live in a civilized time. We live in a time when premeditated flashes of sagging silicon are giggly and naughty; a time when slutty is considered normal and women take to the streets demanding their right to it and a time when nothing is beneath our insatiable thirst for titillation (yes, I finally used the word.)
Congratulations folks: we’re finally choking on our own bilge.