The Discovery Channel reports on a study by Angela McShane Jones, showing that "Women of the 1600s, from queens to prostitutes, commonly exposed one or both breasts in public and in the popular media of the day..."
"The exposure of the breast was a display of the classical and youthful beauty of the woman--she was showing her 'apple like' unused Venus breasts," Jones said. "This was a display of her virtue, her beauty, and her youth. Upper class women maintained the quality of their breasts by not breast feeding their children and passing them on to wet nurses."
. . .
"I think that parts of the body are sexualized and desexualized for a whole range of reasons," she said. "The breasts have become a part of the body which is seen as entirely sexual, but that could change again."
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