I started just now to type, “I have a confession to make…” And then i realized that it isn’t really a confession. It isn’t a sin that i have committed. It isn’t even an accidental mistake. It’s not a bad thing. Well, not usually. Nor is it something i should have to apologize for. It shouldn’t be an issue. But it often is.
I have big boobs.
There. I said it. In all it’s embarrassing glory.
So, as i see it, there are two parts to this, and neither should be an issue in today’s society. Unfortunately, people still have a problem with both parts.
First, the “big” part. I was not given a choice as to the size of my ducks any more than i was given a choice in my height. I am generally a small woman. But i have twice as many chins as i need, and at least twice as much breast. And tho teenage boys may think that sounds like a gold mine, a large set comes with its own problems.
For one thing, it’s hard to find clothes that fit. If i want a button-up shirt, i either have to buy one that is big and flow-y, or i have to buy it in the men’s department. Those pretty blouses the other girls wear strain perilously at the chest buttons. And because bras made in the bigger cup sizes rarely come in the lovely lacy array that the “normal” ones do, it’s not like that gap gives anyone something pretty to look at. And if you give in and unbutton it a bit, you’re a skanky slitch whose momma didn’t teach her to keep ’em covered. So knits it is, and even then, finding one that fits the tits without swimming around the middle (Or worse, fitting at the middle and pulled tight over the top)…. Well, i wish there were a patron saint to invoke while shopping for that!
Oh – exercise clothes? Sports bras? RacerBack tanks? Even YMCA appropriate swimsuits? Fuggeddaboudit. Ain’t gonna happen. No such luck. Not unless you have a fortune to pay some online kevlar broker.
People make assumptions about women with big boobs. That we are daft or “easy”. And because it is hard to hide them, people assume that we are showing them off because we’re proud of them, like they are some crowning achievement akin to moderating Middle Eastern peace talks. News flash to the media: Just like the old adage about men with large shoes, the size of a woman’s chest has no direct OR inverse relationship with the size of her brain. Headline to the rest of the world: Most of us base our fashion choices on what doesn’t make us look dumpy (The scourge of every large-breasted woman), not on the measurement of our cleavage. So please, cut us some slack. And we will try to remember to cut you some on those skin-tight jeggings over your ample bottom.
Issue number two: The “boob” part. When i had my first child, terrifyingly close to three decades ago, for health and financial reasons, i chose to breastfeed. I was lucky enough at that time to be a student at a large university with a student population from all over the world. I learned from some women of other cultures about the miracle of the baby sling. I have no idea if breastfeeding in public was actually illegal at that time, but i knew without a doubt that doing it in the open would get me a lot of unwanted attention. The sling was my answer. I bought one and then fashioned a couple others. I invested in nursing tops. I learned how to nurse in public without showing any of my pink parts to undesiring strangers. It was a pain in the ass, but i felt like it was showing respect. The only time i made a spectacle of it was during a “nurse in” in protest of the Nestle formula-in-Africa scandals, and i admit, i felt awkward doing it.
Nearly 10 years later, when i had my second child, i was living in Central America. And that was where i learned that vilification of public breastfeeding was largely a U.S. issue. Panamanians felt ALL women should breastfeed, and to that end, encouraged it and held it as part of regular life. Tho i still used a sling, i no longer worried if an errant pink part got flashed. The locals never cared. To the contrary, they delighted that she fed so well! I could sit with a group of women, feed my beautiful child, and never fear scorn or disgust. It was wonderful. It helped me realize that it is social indoctrination that makes public boobage wrong. Ok, maybe intent as well, if you’re out flashing your ladies for scandal or advertisement. But as far as breastfeeding goes, it’s the way we were socialized that makes us uncomfortable with it.
By my third child, while i did not flaunt it while i was nursing, i didn’t run for the closet every time either. I tried to keep politely covered, but i never hid. And yes, i got some dirty looks. Surprisingly, mostly from other women. For some, sister solidarity doesn’t cover boobs. Not to be coarse, but i doubt unmated goats look at nursing goats and think “I wish she’d put her teats away or take it to the stall.” Yes, they are animals, but breastfeeding is mammalian thing. It’s how God/Goddess/Universe intended for us to feed our young. So why should we treat it as a private or criminal act. Believe it or not, there is still one state where it is patently illegal to breastfeed in public. (If a woman breastfeeds in public, and no one complains, is it still illegal???) Other states have statutes that exempt it from indecency laws, but a lot of the general public still cries havoc and lets slip the dogs of war over the ill assumption that breastfeeding is somehow porn. Any woman who has breastfed will tell you, it gives you a whole new appreciation for your boobs, and it has nothing to do with porn.
Boobs are mini (Or, for some of us, not so mini) food factories. They are able to make exactly what our babies need. Even in developing countries where food is limited, breasts will take nutrients out of mom to put in the milk for baby. Amazing! Miraculous! And while those perky supermodel tits in the Victoria Secret catalog might corner the market on sexy one night, and may get lots of stares and judging off the runway the next, don’t you dare judge me on mine. I won’t go around baring them to the general masses, but i won’t hide them either. They are part of who i am. I managed to feed three weedlings with these puppies, and that’s no small feat. So, you may think them too big. You may think them too floppy. You may think them unseemly…
But eff you.
My boobs are awesome.