We have been aware of the consequences to our young women of poor body image caused by the media's portrayal of "perfect" bodies for many years, yet this continues to escalate. Pick up any magazine and flip through the ads, and you'll still find pages and pages of thin, "perfect" models. I recently watched a television program that made me quite angry. On MTV's "I Want A Famous Face", a 23 year old woman with a beautiful, perfect body undergoes liposuction and breast augmentation. Although she has won prizes in bikini competitions, "Crystal" feels that her breasts are too small and her thighs are too fat. She will also have fat removed from the small of her back. My husband watched the program with me and agreed that Crystal's natural body was better than average. He also agreed that Crystal's breasts were too large after surgery. MTV may think that they are presenting "reality" when they show us how much pain Crystal was in after the surgery and another woman whose new breasts were an ugly disappointment. In reality, the message of this program is that if we don't like our bodies, we should fix them.
Women who surgically increase the size of their breasts do not seem to have pleasing themselves or increasing their sexual pleasure as their main goal. (Maybe I'm dense, but while I understand how larger breasts may increase the frequency of sex, I don't see how a breast full of synthetic material can increase pleasure). Most admit that want to attract and keep men, obtain jobs and feel better about their bodies despite risks to their health and their lives. As parents, we must continue to constantly nurture self-love and acceptance in our daughters and sons to counteract the images that they are bombarded with from all angles.
Biologically, breasts have a purpose - to feed babies. The classic paleolithic statue of the Venus of Willendorf symbolizes the universal feminine, fertility, abundance and the bounty of nature. In some cultures, her abundant body type is still considered to be beautiful:
I love making pendants and statues of Venus of Willendorf. Sculpting her rolls of fat and sagging breasts until they are just right is a spiritual experience. I am reminded to love and accept my body and to rejoice in the mystery of being a woman. When I bring them to fairs and festivals, I am saddened by the fact that she makes many people, including women, uncomfortable with her symbolism. Some women do give us a more positive reception, but most still joke that their bodies are similar to hers.
How healthy is your body image? You may need to work toward loving your own body, even when you're trying on bathing suits! How healthy are your breasts? Have you been neglecting your monthly self-exams or yearly mammograms? Is it time for a checkup? Please remember that early detection is a large part of the cure.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can help fund free mammograms all year long by clicking on the button at this site:
Each click generates a donation from sponsors, and you can even set up e-mail reminders to click each day.
If you confided to Sigmund Freud that you had dreamed about breasts, he would be likely to suggest that you have an unhealthy attachment to your mother. If your mother's personality includes a controlling nature, Freud would be correct and may further suggest that your own independence and full potential are being squelched. If this is truly the case, it's not likely that you can address the issue directly with your mother. You may want to enlist the support of a professional.
In dreams, breasts may symbolize sexual desire or a wish to be loved. Breasts also symbolize sustenance, growth and the nurturing qualities of a mother. Large, full breasts or breasts heavy with milk can symbolize generosity, wealth and abundance. They may also represent nurturing a new idea or the creative or spiritual parts of the self.
What activity were the breasts in your dream involved in? If the event was of a sexual nature, it may be time to get a sitter and take your partner out on a date. If you're single, treat yourself to a new outfit and a night out with your friends.
If the atmosphere was one of comfort, perhaps you need to spend time with friends or loved ones - possibly even with your mother if you have a good relationship. If you were breastfeeding or breasts were being caressed, there may be a need to surrender to your emotions. What other symbols were involved? Perhaps you need to devote more time to the creative activities that nurture your soul.
Folklore says that if a woman dreams of having beautiful breasts she will become rich but if she dreams of sagging, old breasts, she will be disappointed in love. Interestingly, according to writer Craig Hamilton-Parker, the ancient dream texts contain no information about the meaning of breasts in dreams for men.
May all your dreams come true!
Parthena Black is a professional social worker and ordained minister with experience in tarot and runes. For private spiritual counseling and intuitive readings via e-mail, please visit her at oymygoddess.com.