Carol Ann Hemingway (
13 Aug 1995 02:52:32 GMT

In <40ina8$> (JSmith1283)
>A few years ago, I listened, with a hall filled with other people, to
a>fellow probation officer read a poem about his youth. In the poem
he>referred to National Geographic and how much he enjoyed looking at
the>pictures of native women with their breasts swinging free.
>I was insulted as a African-American woman because I understand that
>National Geographic was the predecessor of Playboy type mags and the
>majority of women depicted in N.G. looked like me.
IMHO, women with "breasts swinging free" is a much better, and more
natural depiction of women than as objects of pornography. Of course,
we live in a society that glorifies the objectification of women and at
the same time, disputes whether we can nurse in public. European women
let their breasts "swing free" on the beaches, and in many magazine
adds. We react differently here. Too bad. There is absolutely
nothing wrong with the beauty of the female breast.
>Following this insult, I watched as every applauded. I was angry with
theAfrican-American men because they seemed to appreciate the piece as
..and why shouldn't they, and African American women as well. I think
there are so many beautiful women of all colours. I think the problem
revolves around seeing swaying breats as being something bad.
>Now if the subject of that piece had been white women, the white women
>would have jumped the guy, AA men would have been next, then white
men. I>doubt that AA women would get into the fight because we suffer
so muchfrom insults that no one attempts to protect us from.

I am not African American, but I have, sitting here, on my desk, a copy
of Maya Angelou's poem called "Phenomenal Woman". I don't have her
permission to write her poem so I will quote just a line from it and
hope she doesn't mind.

"It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

I understand your distress, but also know that you can turn it around
and see it as a positive thing.

Lefty (A white-bread woman)
>Jo (An African-American Woman)