The battle over breasts

Breasts now seem to be the focal point for numerous controversies. Some argue women are adversely affected by the objectification of breasts. Pro-­breastfeeding activists regularly stage ‘feed­ins’ to assert the right of mothers to breastfeed in public places and the ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign calls for ‘equality’ in the way male and female nipples are treated. Why have breasts become such a focus for contemporary campaigning and is it really possible or desirable to ‘desexualise’ breasts?

In this incredibly engaging debate filmed at the Battle of Ideas at the Barbican the speakers are: Linda Blum, associate professor of sociology, Northeastern University, Boston; Amy Brown, associate professor in public health, Swansea University; Laura Dodsworth, photographer, author, Bare Reality & Dr Jan Macvarish, research fellow, Centre for Health Services Studies University of Kent. The chair is Dr Ellie Lee, director, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies.