Thursday, September 13, 2012
Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
OK, I figure this one is a natural for Guyslitwire. Author Florence Williams is very entertaining. She writes, in Breasts, ... some anthropologists have called breasts a "signal." Breasts, they say, must be telling us something about how fit and mature and healthy and maternal their owner is. Why else have them?
I was hoping the answers might lie with the creative experiments of Alan and Barnaby Dixson, a father-son team of institutionally supported breast watchers. Both based in Wellington, New Zealand, together they've published papers on male preferences for size, shape, and areola color and on female physique and sexual attractiveness in places such as Samoa, Papua New Guineau, Cameroon, and China...
I first met Barnaby on a blustery fall day in Wellington... he was very earnest. He walked around with a distracted air and wrinkled brow, and often misplaced things, such as parking receipts. It's not easy being a sex-signaling expert. "Sometimes people think I'm using the government's money to look at breasts. They misunderstand what we do," said Barnaby, who's tall and gangly and speaks with a crisp British accent. As Barnaby pointed out, in places like Samoa, which is now very missionized, it can be a delicate matter asking men to describe which types of breasts they prefer. He said some men think he's "a perv" and get very angry. He avoids men who have been drinking. And in the academic world, grant money can be hard to come by when there are things like breast cancer research to fund. "I probably should have been a doctor," he said. "But I'm quite squeamish really."
(In the lab) The eye-tracker doesn't lie...
This book is not aimed at children, but it is easy to read, educational and entertaining. Yay Breasts!