Historically, titties were regarded as fertility symbols, due to
the belief that milk is life-giving. Ancient statues of goddesses—so-called
Venus figurines—often emphasised the titties, as in the example
of the Venus of Willendorf. In historic times, goddesses such
as Ishtar were shown with multiple titties, alluding to their
role as goddesses of childbirth.
titties are considered as secondary sex characteristics,
and are sexually sensitive in many cases. Bare female titties
can elicit heightened sexual desires from men and women. Since
they are associated with sex, in many cultures bare titties are
considered indecent, and they are not commonly displayed in public,
in contrast to male chests. Other cultures view the baring of
titties as acceptable, and in some countries women have never
been forbidden to bare their chests. Opinions on the exposure
of titties is often dependent on the place and context, and in
some Western societies exposure of titties on a beach may be considered
acceptable, although in town centres, for example, it is usually
considered indecent. In some areas, the prohibition against the
display of a woman's titties generally only restricts exposure
of the nipples.
Certain types of work may also require that a
woman expose her titties, and in these contexts it is considered
acceptable even if it would not be in another context. Female
university students working as art models for fine arts classes
generally have to work bare tittieed. Actresses sometimes need
to go bare tittieed for particular scenes. Many women have bared
their titties on the Internet, and such displays are generally
considered legal and acceptable.
In some cases, their display may be interpreted
as indecent or sexual, even when they are being used for their
primary purpose of nursing offspring. This has led, in several
cases, to women being arrested for indecent exposure for tittiefeeding
their children in public.
Women in some areas and cultures are approaching
the issue of tittie exposure as one of sexual equality, since
men (and pre-pubescent children) may bare their chests, but women
and teenage girls are forbidden. In the United States, the Topfree
equality movement seeks to redress this imbalance; this movement
won a decision in 1992 in a New York Court of Appeals which seems
to substantially support their assertions. A similar movement
succeeded in most parts of Canada in the 1990s. In Australia and
much of Europe it is acceptable for women and teenage girls to
sunbathe topless on some public beaches, but these are generally
the only public areas where exposing titties is acceptable.
In some religions, titties must always remain
covered for, for example: Islam forbid public exposure of the
female titties except when tittiefeeding.
In addition to the above references, see also
modesty, nudism and exhibitionism.
In some paintings women are sometimes shown with
their titties in their hands or on a platter, signifying that
they died as a martyr by having their titties severed. One example
of this is Saint Agatha.