Argency wrote:Why is it that you believe there is no moral fact of the matter?
in this very thread we have seen appeals to 'objectivity'. but there is nothing objective about any cultural practice. it is just the way things are. it is one contingency heaped upon another over thousands of years. Socrates tried his best to be objective about it all and was killed for his troubles.
there's been plenty of times when i've been in moral disagreement with another person. but the resolution of that was not an agreement on facts but an agreement on each other's viewpoint. we did not learn some new fact about the world. but each of us learned the other's viewpoint and agreed to accept it (or not to accept it).
But that's just begging the question. There being no correct cultural fact of the matter presupposes there being no moral fact of the matter. I disagree with you, I think some parts of culture are objective, just like I think some morals are objective. Humans need cultural drives because they make it easier to survive. Survival makes it easier to be happy, happiness is by definition a good thing. A cultural drive that acts against overall happiness is a bad thing. Bam, cultural morals. This drive to put women in cages made of cloth is therefore a bad thing, whereas I think it's justifiable that the breast thing is a good thing. Or at the very least, so minimally bad as to be irrelevant. Sometimes, if there's a gnat on your foot it's not worth the effort of bending down to swat it. Here's where I think the breast thing is justified:
yoni45 wrote:They're (that is, the breasts are) bigger on a female. I have no clue why this difference would lead early societies to require women to cover them up, but given that that's the major difference, it seems like it did.
Edit: actually, perhaps it wasn't the size, but it's function for feeding babies. Either way...
Feeding babies isn't a sexual activity, though. In fact, breastfeeding is often specifically excluded from Western "indecency" laws. So that can't be it. The breast size thing doesn't look too promising, either - if size alone was the determinant, then male shoulders would surely be indecent if left uncovered. So if size is involved, it's got to be in tandem with some other aspect. Female breast size comes mostly from the mammary glands and from fat, but, again, fat isn't inherently sexual. There still doesn't seem to be any objective basis by which female breasts could be considered sexual to a greater degree than the corresponding male anatomy.
But there totally is an objective basis. Firstly, women's breasts are in general more erogenously active than men's. Not only are they significantly more sensitive on average, stimulating them triggers a tidal wave of hormones and arousal reflexes. Men get a similar (but much less significant) reaction for the same reason we have nipples at all. The zygote is female, so men need to have an analogue of everything women have. There's another, more important difference, though, and it's not about how breasts are put together. It's about how brains are put together. Our brains are hard-wired to link women's breasts to sex - people are hard-wired to recognise that healthy breasts normally make for a good mother, which means healthy babies, which makes sex a good idea. Healthy breasts are inherently sexy because of facts about sexiness, not facts about breasts.
Since sex is important, its good that breasts are sexy. (So you could even argue that it's important to keep them at least a bit mysterious) But since sex is obstructive to a bunch of other cultural imperatives, its important that we find ways to restrict sexual displays to socially appropriate moments. Hence - clothes.