Walk a mile in my boobs.  Are man-boobs the ultimate symbol of patriarchal privilege?  

And why shouldn’t they hurt when he goes for a run?

As one who is ostensibly shedding male privilege, I think about sexual politics more and more.  Today, occasioned by the sight of a man running in the opposite direction with the most luscious man-boobs to ever dangle on the byways of London, I was sent on the following fanciful flight.

Picture it.  It was and is very cold in London.  It was early morning, so even colder.  I was bundled up in sleek running gear, puffy top, hat, gloves and still felt the chill.  This man, running on the same path in the opposite direction to me was in a lurid and paper-thin, almost see-through pale yellow tank top which showed enormous underarm sweat stains which extended down to his waist.  He was also wearing shorts.  His skin was pink and flush.

He was possibly 50, somewhat overweight, let’s say he had many love handles.  But what struck me was his enormous man boobs.  They were not muscular, but rather droopy, and as large as my own, if not bigger.  They heaved and signed with his every step, bouncing up and down as he ran.

While my own boobs are roughly the same size, they are pert and perky as you might expect of freshly grown bosom.  And they were safely ensconced in the snuggest of sports bras.  Gone are the days that I wear a sports bra as a political statement.  Now, I really need one.  And I needed one from the very first moment that I could see and feel something was growing on my chest.  I discovered this when on a trip to Oporto, Portugal, and was travelling without, and went on a run, and found it hurt, so ended up clutching them the entire way.  It was quite the run, you might imagine the sight I made running up and down the hills of Oporto cradling my budding breasts.

And why is that?  Why are man boobs so willingly tossed about with nary a complaint, whilst mine need such coddling?  Is it the nerve endings?  It is rather amazing to think that they have grown so quickly.  Their heightened sensitivity is without doubt.  I can play with them ever-so-gently and bring myself to the threshold of ecstasy.  And gosh, that domme who decided that what I needed was for her to beat and bite my breasts after telling her how sensitive they were.

But there is a powerful metaphor in this physical difference I have discovered.  And no, even at my least skinny moments, I have had nothing that even vaguely resembled man boobs.  Our society prizes female beauty to an extent that it becomes a prison for many.  Whether that is make-up, dieting, cosmetic surgery, or other deeper interventions, or more simply, the clothes women wear, being attractive to the opposite sex (even if it isn’t the explicit purpose) is somehow always present, even in its absence (noted for its lack, or as a statement).  This is not the lived experience for most men.

A man can be gloriously unconcerned about his body and still be confident that he will attract the opposite sex.  And this has to do with economic power.  One of the people I follow on Instagram is a prolific producer of stats on sexual inequality.  One stat she recently shared is that when a woman in a couple earns more than her male partner, she is 30% more likely to experience domestic violence.

Separately, sexual assault is never about attraction so much as about a male asserting power over his victim.  If there was any correlation between the two (putting paid to the argument that ‘she was asking for it’ by dressing sexy), then sexual assault would happen more in the summer months, when women are showing off some skin, or at the beach, or wherever they might be in skimpy attire.  Not so.

I have heard it explained that women love “differently” than men.  They value different things.  Their natural nurturing tendency allows them to overlook physical unattractiveness in ways that men cannot.  This is then further backed up by the studies which “show” that men are stimulated by visual sexual imagery whereas women respond more to emotional and physical sexual stimuli—the imagination playing a bigger role.  

Both of these arguments were created by men, for men, and serve male interests.  They are unhelpful.  What matters in sexual politics is power.  In a society that allows for matrilineal inheritance, offering women ownership over the means of production, the inherent vulnerability that comes with child-birth, child-rearing, and child-care would disappear.  But in our society, where men almost always have the advantage, placing women in a more precarious power-deficit, they are forced to find “security” through attraction.

A quick aside on my own dabblings with FLR (female-led-relationships), BDSM, Femdomme, etc…The most important aspect of the dynamic to me is that she is a fully empowered, fully emancipated human.  That was true for my wife as much as it is for a play partner.  Although I understand that many pro-Dommes speak of this, as I have gotten to know more and more of them and understand the true reality of their lives, I find it is really quite rare for a woman to escape the chains that society has laid down.  The male gaze seems to be everywhere.

Two dommes that I know, one with whom I have played, and another who is a friend of hers, are two of the most emancipated women I have ever met.  My existence in their orbit takes on a role of feeding that freedom, in whatever form that takes.  It may seem preposterous to think that “play” can actually not be play at all, but simply quiet time or normal conversation, but it can.  When a power dynamic is so deeply understood that it needn’t be discussed, it allows for a level of harmony that is quite fulfilling.  Kink or no.

Back to the man boobs.  Would a women ever dare to go out looking like that?  I doubt it.  And that isn’t just because it would be physically painful.  It would also be social suicide.  And that, my friends, is unjust.

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