Why Do Women Flash Their Breasts At Mardi Gras?

What comes to your mind when you think of Mardi Gras? For some, it’s the traditional fare of extravagant parade floats, exquisite masks, and beautiful beads. For others, the image that comes to mind is that of wild parties, women flashing their breasts and the craziness that is Bourbon Street.

Mardi Gras is a historical celebration that dates back thousands of years, and was intended to be a celebration on the eve of Lent. The hedonism that we see pictured in the media is completely separate from the beautiful parades and celebrations. Breast flashing is not considered to be a “real” tradition of Mardi Gras, but rather a phenomenon that surrounds the spring break mentality of the young people that hang out on Bourbon Street. Fortunately, the two images that we have of Mardi Gras are completely separate phenomena. The festive parades throughout New Orleans and the South remain a more sacred celebration that are frequented more by locals while the wild celebrations occur on Bourbon Street alone with hundreds of tourists. 

The big question is: what leads so many people to engage in the practice of exchanging beads and other trinkets for exposing a body part? Read more…