Boobs, tits, melons, tatas, breasts, jugs, hooters, jugs, bazooms, rack, titties, “the girls” – we call them many things, but do we stop to think about what we’re saying about ourselves when we refer to anatomical parts of our bodies as something stupid or silly or less than respectful?
Language like this is sexist, demoralizing, and designed to keep women from rising to their greatest potential. We would never think of using racist language in this day and age. In fact, people have lost their jobs and their positions by using certain words.
Is it any less wrong to call the mammary glands of a woman “boobs”? These appendages were designed to nurture and suckle babies. They are important parts of a woman’s anatomy. There is nothing stupid about them. So why do we accept these words as something normal, or something we got used to saying without thinking? It particularly bothers me when otherwise Healthy Senior Women refer to parts of their bodies in juvenile terms. We are the women of the Age of Liberation and Feminine Equality. Our bodies, ourselves – no?
The Online Etymology Dictionary explains the use of the word “boobs” for breasts at least in an intelligent way – “breasts,” 1929, U.S. slang, probably from much older term boobies (late 17c.), related to 17c. bubby, perhaps ultimately from L. puppa, lit. “little girl,” hence, in child-talk, “breast,” or a natural formation in English (cf. Fr. poupe “teat,” Ger. dial. Bubbi, etc.). The earliest Oxford English Dictionary explains that the first use of the word as slang for a woman’s breast appears in none other than Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer (1934): “She was lying on the ground with her boobies in her hands.” Miller, a renowned sexist, might have used this language as a literary tool, but what’s our excuse?
See next post – B is for Boobs, Breast, and Body Language, Part 2