The Viral Picture Of A Woman’s Breast Structure Is Misleading

Breast Structure

When was the last time you studied about the human body and the figure actually showed a ‘female’ body? Only when you needed to study a female body in particular right? When studying science as a subject chances are that you will be shown a male body. This obsession of science with the male body came to light recently when an image of a woman’s breast structure went viral and people were literally astonished to see how a woman’s milk ducts actually look like. But the image has not one but two problems.

The Image Is Not Actually Correct

Interestingly, the image went viral after it was uploaded by a Twitter user @lemonadead on 21 April. The image also collected around 1, 40,000 likes and some similar number of comments too. But what’s even more surprising is that no one validated if the image is actually correct. This shows how easy it is to spread any sort of inaccurate information through social media.


The image uploaded by the user is not actually correct. Firstly, the milk ducts are not arranged in  such a neat manner in the breast. Secondly, in the iPad app, the screenshot of which is uploaded, these are referred to as mammary glands. This is a bit misleading. As not a certain part of the breast but the entire breast forms the mammary gland. But then, what is the flower like image? Those are actually lobules, according to Live Science. But even these lobules aren’t connected in such a nice and neat way as shown in the figure. Here’s a image which is more realistic:


Breast Structure

Each lobule is connected to some small channels known as lactiferous ducts (or milk ducts) and these are, in turn, connected to the nipple of the woman through which the milk comes out when she nurses a child. Each lobule is made up of alveoli – the hollow cavities that are lined with milk secreting cells. These secrete milk after receiving a hormonal signal from the body. Adding to it, the lobules also keep on increasing or decreasing as per the requirement during pregnancy.

How Male-Dominated Science Leaves People Unaware Of A Woman’s Body

Except the chapters dealing with the reproductive system of humans, I hardly remember any chapter of Science that portrays a woman’s image to explain the information. There might be two reasons behind this. First, no one knows why we are so obsessed with a woman’s particular body part, breasts being one of them. No one cares what a man is wearing. But as soon as it comes to a women, a simple lingerie advertisement is enough to make almost everyone uncomfortable. And, we certainly do not want to study about breasts. Secondly, we are well aware with the fact that the field of science has been male-dominated, mostly due to social stigmas. Maybe, this is why the creators of science and our course curriculum too don’t have a problem giving out negligible information about a woman’s body. This fact is undeniable because if there were no issues with our education and information systems, the ‘incorrect’ image wouldn’t have been wrongly depicted. Surprisingly, many popular media channels have telecast about the picture going viral but it took almost five days to figure out that the caption and the image don’t actually match!

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Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv