Face gawking and bright with curiosity, the stranger approached me. He may have given the impression of confidence, except for the distinct lack of eye contact – his gaze cast significantly lower than my face. He questioned me, unashamedly: “Are those things real? Can I touch them?”
Had this been an isolated incident with someone who has a very limited understanding of personal and social boundaries, I may have simply brushed it aside, classifying it as one of many strange and inappropriate occurrences. However, that was not the first time, nor the last, that someone has made a point of commenting on my busty nature in a way that would allude to me being more circus freak than human being (“Hey! Big Titties!” being a cat call that holds a very special place in my heart equivalent to one of hell’s circles).
Of course, with today’s “size zero is too skinny, but anything above that is fat… you need to have big breasts, but your hips must look like a boy scout’s” type of attitude, it’s no wonder that many women, and men, are disillusioned with their own body types, uncertain about how to view themselves when compared to our celebrity idols. What I fail to understand is why large breasts are so revered in the first place? Try as I might to maintain love, respect, and acceptance of my body, I struggle – every single day – to think anything good about myself. This has been a point of contention with a lot of people: “You have curves, a waistline, and large boobs – what more could you want?”
Well, respect for one thing…
Reasons why being over-endowed is highly overrated…
10. Bras are marked up to ridiculous prices.
I will pay, at the very minimum, $100 for a standard, run of the mill, holster for the girls, and I’m lucky if it’s stylishly appropriate for anyone under 65. While other girls are happily purchasing bras at La Senza or La Vie En Rose for the reasonable price of $30, I, and other busty ladies like myself, pay more than three times that amount in order to keep the girls properly wrangled. Sports bras? Forget about it… just… forget about it.
9. Neck aches, and back aches, and head aches, oh my!
That’s a lot of weight to be carrying around, and if you can’t afford that $100+ price tag for a bra that will appropriately fit your endowments, you’re definitely going to be feeling the physical effects sooner or later. Guys, if you don’t believe me, tie some weights around your neck and walk around with them for a week. Everything from back pain, to neck issues, nerve damage, to migraines – the list goes on. While some women opt to have reductions, I would love to think that there’s a way to accept and love my body as it is, without having to resort to surgery. Although, given the cost for the upkeep (bad joke intended), surgery might be more cost effective in the long run.
Steven Hefferon, PTA, CMT, and Jesse Cannone CFT, CPRS, have brought some of the issues to light:
“Some women, in fact, suffer with severe pain, deteriorating posture, and are at risk for spinal deformity and other repetitive stress injuries to the shoulders and upper extremities due to their proportionately large breasts…Very large breasts not only can cause a reduction in the normal curve of the upper and mid-back region but will potentially also cause severe low back pain. When the upper vertebrae of the spine are altered, the lower vertebrae then assume more stress.”
Still wishing you had those DDDs?
8. Going to the gym or out for a run means that it’s okay for people to stare and laugh
There was a time when our mother’s taught us that staring is rude, and making fun of someone on the playground isn’t very nice. Apparently, these guidelines no longer exist after puberty because it has become apparent that well-endowed women who tend to have a little more bounce to their step are targets. What’s worse, it seems as though the people who target them don’t even register that it’s vastly inappropriate. A male friend of mine would constantly make the same joke, repeatedly as though he’d never remarked on it before: “Oh, you’re going to the gym? Do your boobs give you a black eye?” There’s funny, and then there’s ignorant, and that – ladies and gentleman – is ignorant. I would love to maintain a healthy fitness level, and I refuse to allow comments like that to prevent me from doing so. But in my defense – when I’m doing my best to conquer the stairmaster I don’t want to be thinking about why the guy on the treadmill next to me is ogling at me with a ridiculous smirk on his face, (no sir, I am not here for your viewing pleasure).
7. “Hey big-titted lady – let’s go screw in the bathroom”
Objectification. It’s an awful word, and before I go on to elaborate, I would like to point out that everyone, male or female, at some point, has been, or is being, objectified. It’s what we do as a selfish species. We use each other. It’s upsetting, it’s grotesque, but it happens. I by no means believe that I, as a well-endowed woman, am more of a victim of this than anyone else. What I will say, however, is that there seems to be a rather disproportionately large number of people (in my own experience) who think that just because a woman has big breasts, it’s okay to sexually harass her because she must be “easy” or “asking for it”. Never mind the fact that this is a person you’re speaking to, never mind the fact that breast size has absolutely nothing to do with one’s personal moral conduct, never mind that one’s physical features, which are beyond their control, should have nothing to do with how you judge them from an ethical standpoint; we have failed drastically in our society considering that if women in the porn industry had small breasts, the attitude would change entirely. Word to the wise my friends, big breasts do not = porn star, cleavage does not = “I’m going to shag you because that’s what big breasted women do”.*
*note: even if I WERE a porn star, stripper, or held any other position in the sex industry, that STILL does not give you permission to be a dick. Just thought I’d throw that in there…
6. Clothing doesn’t make any sense.
Small fits the waistline, medium is too small for the bust, large is too big for the waist. Nothing works. Imagine being a 14 year old girl and buying your bras and shirts from a plus-sized store designed for retirees in Florida? Combine that with the obtuse laughter over in the adolecent male corner, and you have the recipe for a self-esteem disaster.
5. Lust at first sight
After a while, it’s very easy to become jaded regarding relationships. I feel very fortunate to be with a man right now who loves my body because it’s my body, as opposed to loving me because of my body. Before him, however, there was no love from any man. Having been engaged a few years ago it’s very strange to admit to this, but upon further reflection I find it to be entirely accurate. There has been no love, no appreciation for my mind or personality, only shallow, unfulfilling, objectifying lust.
4. Like… totally rad!
Every once in a while, if a man of lesser moral reasoning, is attempting to “tap that”, I will bring up my education, my love of philosophy, my theological background, and my power position in the company I currently work for. The reaction? Shock. Never once has this led to an engaging conversation about… well…anything.
Once the shock subsides after I mention that Dostoevsky and Steinbeck are favorite writers of mine, and that I have two university degrees, the quest for getting laid is quickly abandoned. Perhaps it’s in my delivery, perhaps mentioning my affection for the academic makes me boring, or perhaps they were expecting a dimwitted idiot who would succumb to their shallowly deceptive passes and engage them in a one night stand. Whatever the reason might be, I find it disturbing that the moment intelligence enters into the equation, the interest is lost.
Once the conversation comes to an end, the gentleman caller moves on to someone that he might deem to be more appropriate, or less intelligent (I’m assuming that it’s one in the same). Given that I have seen this behavior on multiple occasions I can only assume that this is the result of one of two things. 1. Our Man of Lesser Moral Reasoning knows that any woman with half a brain wouldn’t give him the time of day, and so gives up when he realizes that he is fighting a losing battle; or 2. Our Man of Lesser Moral Reasoning finds the idea of a smart and busty woman so foreign, that he can’t even comprehend that it’s possible. Therefore, he goes into shock, and moves on to someone who is less jarring to his perception of what a woman should be. In other words, in his mind – big breasted dames are dumb bimbos, not powerful women with university degrees and careers.
3. When I’m old I’ll be tucking the girls into my granny nickers
Seriously. I can do as many pectoral toning exercises as I want in my youth, but eventually, gravity will win – and it won’t be a humble win either. It will be that football player who does back flips and dances after a touch down, it will be Halle Berry at the Oscars, it will be the Canadians vs. the Russians back in 1972. Gravity will win, and I will be the epitome of what people never want to see nude.
2. You get your very own dress code, just for you!
I spent four years at a theological university in an attempt to deepen my knowledge about God, philosophy, and spirituality. This university was rather conservative in its values, which I embraced at the time. However, despite my total compliance with the dress code, I was often accused of being inappropriate or causing the men on campus to “think lustful thoughts” because of my appearance. Of course, pointing out that women in other cultures who are forced to cover themselves from head to toe still suffer the brutal effects of men who “think lustful thoughts”, and that it’s natural for men to “think lustful thoughts”, and that men will “think lustful thoughts” regardless of whether or not I’m in a loose-fitting sweatshirt or a nun’s habit, didn’t help my case much… I was labeled, and that was that. I’ll never forget my freshman year when the boy I had a crush on put the moves on me, and then later apologized for it saying he was going through a “spiritual regression”, as though feeling that attraction for me ought to be something to be ashamed of. Admitting that you’re a man and you get horny sometimes would have been the mature thing to do, but hey, blaming God is another way to go too. I’d also like to point out that every single guy that I was involved with over those four years left me on the grounds that it was God who was telling him to leave.
“I think you’re super sexy, which is why I can’t be with you, because I feel lustful feelings. I’m going to go be with this other girl that I’m not attracted to because I know I can wait until marriage to have sex with her.” What…the actual… Fuck?
1. Learning to accept yourself in a thin-obsessed society
Men and women alike struggle with this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us dislike certain aspects of ourselves, no matter how beautiful we all are. The truth is, as much as I try, every day, to love myself as I am, deep down I feel that I will never be thin enough, I will never be pretty enough, and I will never be tall enough, or stylish enough, or confident enough, or…essentially… good enough. But then I have to ask myself… Good enough for whom? My boyfriend? My boss? My friends? God/The Universe/whatever it is you believe in? My parents?
Maybe once I answer that question I’ll be able to come to terms with who I am in this body that has been given to me. This body that I have for a limited amount of time… this body that hopefully, one day, I can love and admire.