Sunday, March 6, 2011

b00bies


     Big boobies, small boobies, asymmetrical boobies, saggy boobies, perky boobies, boobies with inverted nipples.. boobies come in every conceivable shape and size and an array of color. I think fat bloggers, and society in general, have discussed fairly well the narrow image of beauty we see in regards to thinness. Sometimes they also touch on.. yes.. boobies (er.. no pun intended). We saw the Lane Bryant commercial that got pulled because the models were too busty. Boobs get a lot of two things: hate and objectification. While our society, as a whole, loves boobies, they don't love boobies. We get a very small range of breasts in the media. They're generally big, but not too big, perky, round,  and with generally smaller nipples. 

     We get this double message that women have to have large breasts to be attractive but also that too large is unattractive (except in a push up bra and only then generally as a fetish). Not to mention this ridiculous idea that you have to have the right breast to body proportion size. You have to be a size 4 with C's. Do you know how common that is? Not very. Bust generally increases when fat increase. This is why a lot of female athletes have smaller breasts (though not all).  Like the rest of the beauty ideal, the breast beauty ideal is almost impossible to achieve (naturally).

     In the fat-o-sphere (fat blog-o-sphere) I see a lot of bloggers talking about the largeness of their breasts- this is a completely valid concern and a big problem.. with a lot of larger bras being matronly and, let's face it, ugly. Full coverage? What if they want their breasts to have uber cleavage?! Breasts that are "too" big are supposed to be hidden. They're considered, in many places, as unprofessional and slutty. This means that a small breasted woman and a large breasted women who wear the exact same top, will be treated entirely differently. Women with larger breasts are taught to be ashamed of them- and no wonder since they're considered almost entirely as sex toys- not like they're attached to actual human beings or anything. In other words, women with large breasts are hypersexualized- one of the many problems that large busted women face. 

     But you know.. I think my sisters in the fat-o-sphere have big boobs pretty well covered. I want to talk about small boobs. I mentioned it once in a former post, but I have small breasts. I don't mean small compared to everyone.. I mean small for a fat girl. They're C's which aren't small, but for my weight they are. One of the most difficult parts of doing my first nude shoots was overcoming my issues with my breasts. The fat I could accept- afterall, I've spent the last four months browsing adipositivity.com and looking at lots of bare fat to accept the fact that it is just as beautiful and acceptable as any other body type. Looking at nude fat art is very empowering. But none of those beautiful ladies had boobs smaller than D's.


     The first time I realized that my boobs weren't "average" was when my mom bought my sister and I silky nightgowns when I was a teenager. Something girly and feminine.. mine was pink and my sister's was purple and when I tried mine on, my mom looked at me and said, "you know Heather.. you have pretty small boobs for a big girl". I became instantly aware that I was different.. and that she was right. My other fat friends were sporting double D's while I, at a size 16/18, was sporting a B cup. Now, at a size 22, I'm up to a C cup.. but barely. And I'm constantly reminded that small boobs are not what's expected of fat models. Or fat women in general.


     But fat people with small boobs aren't the only people who have self confidence issues with small breasts.. plenty of thin people do too. A survey of about 2,500 women found that 1 in 5 women wouldn't even undress in front of their partners, a quarter were depressed about their breasts, and 40% said they wouldn't wear a bikini because of their breasts. The worst part though? A quarter of those women said their concerns over their breasts prevented them from going to the gym or jogging. That means a very serious health  impact on women's health just because of their breasts.


     On one women's health forum a woman writes, "I hate this obsession with big breasts. Every time I turn on the TV I see a huge pair of breasts. Every magazine. And all men seem to ogle are big breasts.....it's everywhere and I'm becoming really self critical and depressed. Even though I know I'm not ugly I just feel unattractive because of this."


     And she's right.. obsession with large breasts is everywhere. And just like the societal obsession with thinness, it's damaging and it's damaging for all women, not just thin ones, not just fat ones, all women. Body acceptance and fat acceptance aren't mutually exclusive, but they aren't mutually inclusive either. Fat acceptance and body acceptance usually go hand in hand, but there are plenty of people who accept their fat but not other parts of their bodies- it doesn't mean they failed at fat acceptance, it just means that they haven't conquered body acceptance yet. And thin people certainly can benefit from body acceptance even if they have no fat to accept (although fat acceptance also means accepting the fat on other people which I encourage all thin people to do). 


     I went to a burlesque show several weeks back, and was surprised and pleased to see that the performers had such a huge amount of body diversity- including their breasts. While one performer there had what society would deem "ideal" breasts, the rest ranged from larger (in various forms) to the almost non existent. And each and every performer, with confidence and pride, showed us their oh-so-sexy tassels and pasties. I know it's odd, but up until that point I had seen very few diversity in bare breasts. The only exposure I had were the larger breasts of fat women that I saw once getting into the fat acceptance movement and seeking out fat art. And none of those women reflected me in terms of breast shape or size. It was at this show that I realized the truly huge range of bodies even outside of weight. 


     What we see every day, every place, all of the time-  it's such a tiny narrow look at beauty. Let me tell you- no one fits it. Push up bras, photoshopping, pads.. like everything else in the media, most of what you see is fake. And many women resort to dangerous cosmetic surgery (with possible side effects including infection, skin necrosis, chronic breast pain, and even a possible link with autoimmune diseases. Implants may also interfere with breast cancer screening.) just to reach a completely arbitrary and made up ideal. Breast acceptance is just as much a feminist issue as body acceptance and fat acceptance. So come on ladies.. accept those boobies! Love those boobies! Get past the objectification and misogynistic boob hating messages around you. Expand your boobie horizons and know that yours are fantastic exactly how they are. 

5 comments:

  1. Love this entry! \m/

    My mum has small breasts vs. big body, too. Which makes me wonder why do I have these unusually huge breasts. And why do I have to get stares and different treatment from other people, especially from men.

    I have friends who ask me to donate a portion of my breasts to them. Funny, yeah, but it's sad that they don't realize how hard, expensive and back-breaking it can get to have double Ds.

    And why do busty women get portrayed to have tiny nipples? That's sooo unrealistic!!!

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  2. Have you heard the women on Two Whole Fatcakes podcast? One has huge boobs and another small boobs and they joke about having to communicate to each other what activities are like being large-breasted vs small breasted. I thought it was very endearing!

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  3. No I haven't heard it- though I do subscribe to it so I'll have to go back and listen :-)

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  4. Thank God I stumbled on this post by accident. It really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing this.

    You are a very gorgeous woman. Keep doing what you do :)

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  5. Now add in the the medias strange standards when it comes to boobs, and who is wearing them and things get really weird.

    Women topless, with or without boobs, bad.
    Flat chested men topless, good, men with man boobs topless, bad.

    And of course, transgendered women or men totally confuse them!

    Thanks for a great post.

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