Read This Book About Boobs

breasts_front_cover_web(Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams)

Have you ever heard someone call another person a “boob”? I’m guilty of it! I’ve definitely said “Don’t be such a boob” before. In that, I made “boob” synonymous with “stupid” “dweeb” “idiot”. How stupid is that? I HAVE boobs and they are fantastic. I’m also a huge fan of other women’s boobs. I love that Marilyn Monroe said, “The trouble with censors is that they worry if a girl has cleavage. They ought to worry if she hasn’t any.” So why would I insult my own anatomy, my own body?

Do you know why we are called “mammals”? Maybe you guessed where I’m going with this: mammary glands. Oh, and breast feeding drove the development of palate and tongue muscles. So basically without boobs we’d still be grunting at each other and lacking all forms of spoken communication. That’s pretty cool.

The_Female_Nude_04There are downsides to being a big breasted lady. Back problems. Never being able to wear spaghetti straps. String bikinis become a hazard. Plus, bigger bras are a lot more expensive (Wonderbra sales top $70 million annually). The big kicker? Ladies with more estrogen are more likely to cheat on our mates and are more likely to get breast cancer. (Small PSA: Marijuana inhibits testosterone, so male stoners tend to get man boobs and have an increased chance of breast cancer)

8-year-old Morgan was in a terribly awkward phase. This was the year I chose glasses “because they make me look like Harry Potter” and wore a green windbreaker every day. Adults would come up to be and ask me about my unfortunately rather large boobs, or worse, tease me about them. In efforts to try and hide them, I wore two sports bras. I repeatedly asked myself “Why on EARTH would anyone want these things?!” Well, apparently, they really, really do. In 2009, 289,000 women got boob jobs to enlarge their breasts. I know it’s cliche, but we need go back to Barbie. 1 in 100,000 women naturally have the dimensions of Barbie, while only 1 in 50 men have the dimensions of Ken. That’s f****d up!

6e9f0fed684b61629052c932de4aeb50Humans take longer to reach sexual maturity than any other primate, but the age of sexual maturity has decreased about 3 months per decade since 1850. Why is this scary? The longer we hold off puberty, the taller and stronger we will be and the more likely our offspring will be healthy. The human brain takes about two decades to fully mature and humans need this time to grow our minds. Sex hormones in puberty (estrogen for girls) seal the bones from growing more. I’m a perfect example of this. I grew like a weed and was the second tallest girl in my 6th grade class. I never grew an inch after age 12. Many studies have found a link between early puberty and breast cancer. In fact, if you get your period before age 12, you are 50% more likely to get breast cancer than if you get your period at age 16.

Breasts are the only human organ that develop long after birth. Because of this, they are more susceptible to hormonal changes, as well at changes in the environment. There’s been a lot of research that lends to the idea that breast feeding and pregnancy is actually better for preventing breast cancer, and the sooner the better too. Women who have a child before 20 are half as likely to get breast cancer than a women who waits until her 30’s to have children.  They’ve actually noticed that a lot of virgins have a higher risk of breast cancer, with a striking population of nuns.

cc993684ad88d7e20781cbe7e635bb2fThough women have it worse, men suffer too. For every 100 women to have breast cancer, one man will have breast cancer too. The incidence of breast cancer has grown 1-2% every year since 1960 for both men and women.

A few more facts:

1 in 8 (12.2%) women will have breast cancer.

Most people don’t know that only about 10% of breast cancer relates to family history, and 80% of women with the BRCA gene (brought to even more attention by Angelina Jolie) will get breast cancer. The younger the BRCA gene women are, the more likely they are to have breast cancer as well. So that means their chances are getting worse.

White women are slightly more likely to have breast cancer than African American and are much more likely than Asian or Hispanic.

Women in the United States and the Netherlands have the highest numbers of breast cancer, the lowest is in Japan. Women in China tend to get breast cancer on average 10 years earlier than in the United States.

Women with the densest breasts (ratio of fat to glandular tissue) are 4-5 times more likely to get breast cancer and 90% of women don’t know that they have dense breasts (tends to be found in women who haven’t had children, eat hight fat diets, drink lots of wine or have taken hormone therapy).

Mammograms miss 20% of tumors.

There’s only one known environmental cause: radiation.

Scared out of your mind yet? I know I am. Not only do I have big boobs, but I’m a white woman who isn’t planning on having children and went through puberty early. (I also like fatty foods and wine, thank you) If you’re reading this, chances are you are the proud owner of a pair of fine boobies, or love someone with a fine pair. I’m not saying that this book didn’t scare me, it did. It also made me paranoid about a lot of environmental factors that she mentions in the book that I didn’t mention here. BUT, I feel empowered. I know SO MUCH MORE after reading this book. Please read it. Please share it with your friends. It’s so incredibly important that you do. You can buy it HERE. 

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