Thursday, March 15, 2012
I Can't Even Title This...(I tried 'Boobs' but it looked awful, and 'Hubba Hubba' looked even worse)
It's stupid, but my whole life I've worn things that made me look, well...bustier. Push-up bras, padded bras, a certain shirt cut, whatever crazy/wired/painful contraption that would give me the appearance of boobs. Now I wear a sports bra, or no bra. Basically I look like a twelve year old boy. (OK, maybe fifteen, and one who's started working out, I'm not a BOARD, after all. And check out the above picture...I took it because I was in awe at how huge they were when was nursing...sadly, they no longer look like that. In fact I believe they became smaller than they originally were.) But it's as if I have no need for curvy breasts anymore. Is that symbolic? Was it about attracting or keeping a mate? Feeling more feminine? I don't know. I've given up faking large breasts, now that I'm stuck in leotards so often. In my mind, I try to picture lithe, graceful gymnasts, and it boosts my confidence enough to walk into a room full of busty women who have DOUBLED-UP on their sports bras just to take my class. It's been a pride swallowing struggle to finally like my body enough to go out and about naturally, looking the actual size I am.
I've got the sneaking suspicion that I've been very uncomfortable and spent a lot of money on wackadoo bras my whole life for NOTHING. (Do NOT buy the water-filled ones, they tend to leak in your underwear drawer and smell bad.)
(FYI, and just because I'm a nerd: I found out recently that the phrase "Bra Burners" didn't come from anyone actually burning a bra during the 1960's Woman's Rights Movement. That was a reporter's misprint, and it somehow caught on. Protesters were going to burn APRONS or something in a trash barrel on a collage campus, but were stopped. Interesting.)
If you thumb through a Victoria's Secret catalog, you'll find that the so-called sexy bras don't usually come in smaller sizes. Almost like they're saying "If your boobs are that teeny, don't even bother TRYING. You fail at Sexy." (Gymnast, Emily. Think gymnast. Think wood nymph. Think lovely, dancing fairy. In the end, I just think: "I FAIL at Sexy".)
Weird that we women are so consumed by our hatred of fat and yet, go out of our way to display something that ultimately is just that. Big gobs of fat stuck to our chests. When did that particular fat placement become so desired, as opposed to the fat on our asses, thighs, tummies, or elsewhere? Is it strictly because it's are somewhat useful fat? Although technically, it's use is NOT for men's inept fumbling, but for nurturing children...therefore it becomes tenfoldly (pretty sure that's not a word) sought out as a forbidden, amorous thing?
I regard my own breasts with something that's almost fear when I'm feeling a particular burst of hypochondria, as you never know when they will betray, or even kill you. They DO have the power to change your life, cancer or no. A girl who develops early will be scarred by her peer's teasing, a girl who develops not at all, the same. They will be the subject of many whispered tween-ager's sleep-over confidences, the reason someone looks twice at you on the street, the topic of your next doctor's visit. They can cause your back to hurt, your breathing to be heavy when you run (so I've been told), your spirit doused when compared to your friend's filled out swimsuits while swimming at the pool. Boys will snap your bra, your mom will take you shopping for your first one, your dad will hide Easter eggs in it, (Well, maybe not YOUR dad, mine would though, and did, much to my dismay at twelve.) you'll agonize over the straps slipping out from under your wedding dress. Your nipples will be too big or too small or too dark. Who makes these rules? Not the newborn babies who could care less, and yet we all know which category we fall into, don't we?
Did you know that hormones can actually be triggered by the power of suggestion? That BECAUSE OF OVER-SEXUALIZED MEDIA, little girls are hitting puberty a year earlier than they did twenty years ago. Fact. And it's more common for 10, 9, 8, even 7 year olds to start menstruating. Studies have shown that constantly being exposed to overt sexuality on TV, movies, among their friends, pop stars, toys, games, books, suggestive lines of children's clothing, all of it pushing them to act older than they are, actually speeds up their hormones. Which starts a whole wave of health concerns since the earlier you start your period, the greater your risk of breast cancer, because high levels of estrogen will have been in your body from far too young an age.
Whew, I'm glad I don't have TV, turn it on and it's cleavage, cleavage, cleavage as far as the eye can see. Anyway, I have boys. All they're interested in are cars and mud. Maybe they'll grow headlights. Filthy ones.
My friend's sister had a mastectomy a year ago, and then when she tried to cross country ski again this winter, never realizing her center of gravity would be off, she fell, hurting herself terribly. Honestly, breasts can dictate our lives. How we feel about ourselves, what we do, how we move, how we behave. After my young aunt's bout with breast cancer, we all stopped drinking out of plastic bottles. We were religious about check-ups. We did many, many things differently.
Look at the fuss over Barbie Dolls. Look at all the fuss over Marilyn Monroe. Mae West. Dolly Pardon. Breasts have been compared to every type of fruit there is. A famed queen's breast holds claim to have fitted perfectly into a wine glass. (Wine glasses were bigger once, in case you were wondering, 'large goblet' might be a better turn of phrase. I haven't tried, but I bet I can stuff mine into a shot glass, does that count?) Fashions have been built upon them since the beginning of time...to either hide or show off what nature gave us. There are more slang words for 'breasts' than practically anything else. What's the deal, Dudes? Where does your interest lie? Why does fat on our chests delight you more than fat on any other place? How come you get to say: "Have perfect breasts or we won't like you"? Do you think we have some choice in the matter?
I'm not saying every man is guilty of this. I know a handful of men (Ha! Handful!) that seem to prefer smaller busted women. (Anyone who dates the Howe girls, for example.) Or they at least pretend to, describing delightful intellect and razor sharp wit (Yes, I'm being sarcastic) as our attractions rather than wobbly bits you can impressively pack into a bikini.
(I should have done some research before I wrote, but that's not my way, unfortunately. I'm just yammering, as always, about nothing, or about how I feel, which amounts to the same thing. And I'd like to say, off-hand: I've got two grandmothers that read my blog. One will find this post hysterically funny, one will not, but neither of them have much in the way of breasts either, so this is really all their fault. Go figure.)
I remember pouring over National Geographic as a child and being fascinated with the native women's exposed chests. Always bare and all very different. What do primitive tribes feel about breasts? If I had Internet while typing this, I could find out in a split second, but since I haven't, I'm going to go right ahead and wildly speculate they don't think about them that much. Breasts are looked at as functional, admittedly somewhat pleasurable, (since one can't deny that whole nerve ending thing) but are they as closely scrutinized as they are here, in THIS culture? Veeeeeery doubtful. What morons we are. We have an entire, zillion dollar (more of my super accurate, non-Internet research here) industry based on making woman's breasts perfect. When nobody really seems to understand is that 'perfect' is what you've already got.
Boobs are boobs are boobs. Whatever size, they do what they're supposed to do. Anyway, you have 'em, or you don't. I think women who have lost them due to illness have every right to feel crappy, because that's certainly no fun, and plenty scary too, but I'll bet my training bra we've made a big deal out of them for naught. Half that crappy feeling is due to our bimbo-obsessed society, not being sick.
To wrap this up, I'm quite curious as to why we fixate on breasts. Myself included. Despite generally being happy with my body, and all my blather proclaiming why I shouldn't care what size/shape/etc I am, when poor people hear that old saying about 'money not buying happiness' they usually reply that they'd like to find out for themselves. And I still sometimes sigh with envy as I privately think: I wouldn't mind trying some giant knockers on for size.
Posted by Emily at 12:48 PM