Image - Sarah Thornton with Michael Lewis
San Francisco

Sarah Thornton with Michael Lewis: The Myths and Misconceptions About Breasts

In-person TicketsOnline-only Tickets

If you are not a member yet, now is the time to join our community and receive the great benefits of membership. We are a group of people seeking truth, insight and wisdom about the issues we face as individuals and as a society. Please join! You can become a monthly sustaining member for just $10 a month.

An innovative investigation of the five strange worlds that worship women’s chests.

After years of biopsies, sociologist and bestselling author Sarah Thornton made the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy. But, after her reconstructive surgery, she was perplexed: What had she lost? And gained? An experienced sleuth, she resolved to venture behind the scenes to uncover the social and cultural significance of breasts.

Join us in person or online as Thornton talks with Michael Lewis and draws on what she learned from latest book, which excavates the diverse truths of mammary glands from the strip club to the operating room, from the nation’s oldest human milk bank to the fit rooms of bra designers. Thornton has insights from plastic surgeons, lactation consultants, body-positive witches, lingerie models, and “free the nipple” activists to explore the status of breasts as emblems of femininity. She examines how women’s chests have become a billion-dollar business, as well as a stage for debates about race, class, gender and desire.

Blending sociology, reportage, and personal narrative with refreshing optimism and wit, Thornton has one overriding ambition―to liberate breasts from what she says are centuries of patriarchal prejudice.


This program has 2 types of tickets available: in-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

If you have symptoms of illness (coughing, fever, etc.), we ask that you either stay home or wear a mask. Our front desk has complimentary masks for members and guests who would like one.

Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California is a nonprofit public forum; we welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programming.

Copies of Tits Up are available for purchase during checkout (U.S. domestic shipping only).

Thornton photo by Aya Brackett; Lewis photo by Tabitha Soren.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Wed, May 1 / 6:00 PM PDT

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Sarah Thornton

Sarah Thornton

Sociologist; Author, Tits Up: What Sex Workers, Milk Bankers, Plastics Surgeons, Bra Designers, and Witches Tell Us about Breasts; X @EyesThornton

Image - Michael Lewis

In Conversation with Michael Lewis

Author; Columnist, Bloomberg View; Contributing Writer, Audible


5:30 p.m. doors open & check-in
6–7 p.m. program
7 p.m. book signing
(all times Pacific Time)


$15 members
$25 nonmembers
$44 members with a book
$54 nonmembers with a book
Free for Leadership Circle members and students (without a book)
Free for members
$10 nonmembers
$30 members with a book
$40 nonmembers with a book
Free for Leadership Circle members and students (without a book)