How The Project Got Started...
The Breast Archives project came into being in Egypt, on the Nile, where I had spent a fortnight on a slowly moving riverboat, traveling from temple to temple.
The Arab Spring had emptied the country, and the sites were ours and ours alone. So many of the temples I visited were dedicated to the Goddess Isis, who for thousands of years was celebrated as the Mother of Creation.
Often her likeness stood 200 feet high, chiseled onto the walls of massive, sacred structures. As I stood before her towering image again and again, I couldn’t help but notice her uncovered breasts projecting and fully exposed in the desert sun.
Often she was nursing her infant son, Horus. Standing before her, I felt a serene courage and a deeply loving power.
"For me, standing before her likeness: I always felt a serene courage, and a deeply loving power."
Back at home, I began to wonder: What did the earliest cultures know that we aren’t tapped into? Where are the mythic female statues of our culture? Where are the breasts?
I became fascinated and committed to the idea of interviewing women about their breasts.
During interviews designed to be creative, provoking and emotionally driven, nine women were asked a series of questions about the journey they’ve made with their bodies through the lens of the breast.
My aim was to uncover a breast-based wisdom that might be accessed through gentle questioning, but what I found instead was far richer than I could have imagined!
As the subjects shared their truths, they also reflected on their personal journeys of healing and awakening, and their experiences of shame, and of self acceptance.
“This is the time for women to heal themselves, each other, know who they are, stand up with the truth, and move forward in healing the world.”
I was working full time at a television station when I first taped the interviews for The Breast Archives. I knew I had stumbled into something precious, but the scope and potential of the project wasn't clear until I'd had a good, thorough look at all of the footage.
I knew then that I had captured an important conversation that deserved my full attention, so I decided to resign from my job - a wonderful job that I'd had for 12 years - and work on The Breast Archives full time.
When I tell people that I am working on a documentary about women’s breasts, there is either an awkward silence or an immediate fascination; the latter reaction is most common.
Both responses reveal how trapped both women and men feel inside of their learned relationships with breasts. Just mentioning my project uncovers a strong curiosity just beneath the surface, and also a desire to share. Everyone has a breast story!
When I've shared excerpts from the documentary publicly, people will often approach me and confide their concern about breast cancer, which has touched so many women and families.
Often they'll share other trends too, such as studies that show huge increases in the number of teen girls opting for cosmetic breast surgery in the United States.
Clearly, the time has come for a new conversation, and for real change in how we contextualize our breasts and bodies.
The Breast Archives is about sharing stories and being truly seen. It's about blending our courage with vulnerability and opening up honestly.
When we share our breasts stories with one another, we begin to realize new depths of self-compassion. And we can bond, AT LAST, with our inner sensual and feminine self, from which we were taught to disconnect.