Have you ever been at a social event or out in public…
And noticed a man staring at your chest?
His gaze travels down to your feet and back up again. By the time he finally makes it to your face, he’s grinning. His eyes are glazed and half-focused as he says—in his best sexy voice—“Hi, there.”
Eye tracking technology has found that it’s not just our imagination. Nearly half of all men look at a woman’s breasts first. Then their gaze moves to her waist and hips, admiring that hourglass figure, before finally settling on her face. 
Women, on the other hand, take in a man’s face first and then scan the rest of him. Priorities, right?
In a man’s face, you can see immediately whether he’s kind or hard. You can tell if he’s sleazy or shy. You can see how much time he spends in the sun and whether his laugh lines crinkle when he smiles.
For men, that information is less important than the shape of a woman’s body. Go figure.
“If I wear anything with cleavage, I might as well be wearing a sign that says, ‘Talk to the breasts,’” a friend of mine sighed. She was thinking of getting breast reduction surgery. She’d had enough.
Other women have no clue what that’s like. I’m one of them.
Cleavage? What’s that? Two mounds of cotton stuffing on your chest?
Bra makers assume that flat-chested women have an inferiority complex. For years, I couldn’t find bras in my size without padding. The smaller the cup size, the more they padded it up.
So I gave up bras.
Once upon a time, going braless put you at risk of being taken for a granola-eating hippie. Not anymore. These days, the hottest young models are doing it.
Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are just two of the most photographed celebrities to join the “Free the Nipple” movement. They’re embracing their petite bosoms and going braless before the paparazzi lenses because they can. They’re frankly unconcerned about how it looks. (When you make your living off your looks, you get that privilege.)
Perhaps they read the research that found that tossing out your bra helps prevent sagging.  Without support, your pectoral muscles are forced to work harder, giving you natural lift.
(Of course, you could simply go to the gym instead. Doing bench presses on an incline helps create the illusion of cleavage.)
Why do our breasts matter so much to us?
Why do we devote so much time to considering how much of them we should show, what size they should be, whether they’re lopsided, and what men think of them?
Shouldn’t we just be happy that they’re healthy and functional?
Talk to women who’ve lost their breasts as a result of a mastectomy, and you’ll find a sea of conflicting emotions. Some feel like less of a woman without breasts, while others assert that femininity is so much more than two perfectly round lady lumps.
According to women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup, “breasts are the physical metaphor for giving and receiving” as well as “symbols of sexual desirability.” 
Imbalance begins when you see your breasts as a source of pleasure for others … but not yourself.
Northrup hit the nail on the head.
For large-breasted women, there’s a frustration with being reduced to a pair of boobs. Where’s the man who can look past the cleavage to see their brain and heart?
For flat-chested women, there’s a fear men won’t find them desirable. They’re terrified of the moment they have to take their (padded) bra off in the bedroom and reveal the truth.
But breasts are not just supposed to be a source of pleasure for others.
They’re supposed to be a source of pleasure for yourself.
If the male gaze weren’t in the picture, what would you think of your breasts?
Would you accept them? Find things to appreciate about them? Even love them?
70% of women—nearly all of us—aren’t happy with their breasts. And 44% of men aren’t satisfied with their partners’ breasts, either. 
That’s horrifying. Surely our lady lumps deserve a little love?
After years of apologizing for the size of my breasts, I woke up. What was I thinking?
Having no boobs made sports so much easier. Everything stayed in place when I ran. I could even get away with not wearing a bra. I didn’t have to worry about men talking to my chest. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me.
The only thing wrong was my thinking.
Sorry, guys. There’s more to a woman’s anatomy than your pleasure.
 Christiane Northrup, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 320-321.