Since I’m still plugging away at Fifty Fifty Me (if all 12 months of the year were like my last three, I might actually be in danger of not fulfilling the reading requirement – that’s not a problem because I have already read a gazillion things this year, but regardless, I still feel like a failure), I watched a documentary on Netflix the other day. It’s called Busting Out, and it’s about boobs, which is one of my favorite topics EVAR. I have tons of thoughts on the topic, based in gender and sex roles, in my self esteem issues as a teenager (it is damaging to weigh about 100 pounds as a teen and hear a dummy Victoria’s Secret employee say that if their bras don’t work for you – since, you know, they’re required to size you incorrectly – you should go to Lane Bryant), and in my general sociological interest of the world. So I was so excited to watch something that purported to be about all these things.
While you can tell very easily that it’s incredibly low budget, the movie’s not horrible. It’s also short – barely an hour – so if you want to view it and consider using it in a classroom or Girl Scout troop or something, it’s probably a great candidate. It’s one of those personal journey documentaries that also deals with some history and interviews, which was a little disappointing, because I was expecting a bit more focus on history/sociology/anthropology/etc. There was a little of everything, under the general umbrella of exploring why Americans think boobs are so fascinating and yet so gross and yet in other parts of the world, they’re not sexualized at all.
But it was boring. No conclusions were made. No real opposing viewpoints were given. When the filmmaker interviewed some Senegalese people to get a perspective on how non-American cultures view breasts, all she got was “We like to respect women because they raise children, and boobs feed babies.” Duh? Not very interesting? Not exactly the revolutionary stuff that docs are made of.
My first thought is that a 57-minute documentary is always going to fail if it tries to cover 1) the history of breast sexualization in America; 2) the counterpoint of non-sexualization in other nations; 3) how breast cancer complicates things; 4) breast self esteem; and 5) first big-girl bra shopping trip in that short amount of time. But then why do it? Why not make a great 57-minute documentary on one of those things? Use it as a way to gain funding for a documentary series, maybe, or to redo it with more funding and to make it feature-length. But to cover all of those things in one documentary is ludicrous, and it made for a boring video on something that is endlessly fascinating and hugely important to anthropology, sociology, and medicine. One of the interviewees was the author of a book that probably does all of this stuff more in depth. I guess I’ll be reading that, because I didn’t get much out of this film except a sad feeling about how there are a lot of well-meaning filmmakers with great ideas who just aren’t getting the funding or exposure they deserve and need to make better products.