Since the rapid sprouting of puberty I have always had big boobs, and as much as I am body positive and refuse to hate any part of my body they can be a bit of nuisance, namely when it comes to finding clothes that fit them and the rest of me at the same time as well all the cultural, sexist patriarchal shit you get saddled with when you dare to go outside with boobs.
I seldom wear anything that buttons up and those items I do have I end up buying about 2 sizes bigger than my ‘regular’ size so as to avoid button bulge. I once had a button up shirt dress pop open in Euston station. Zip up things often result in a bizarre squished square boob effect. Wrap dresses can be downright dangerous and anything that has a ‘boob compartment’ type thing or inbuilt cups leads to multiple boobage overspill nightmares. A re-enaction of that Carry On scene is a real worry with certain outfits.
There is the psychological baggage too, having a bigger than average distribution of fat cells in your mammaries apparently defines your personality, you are seen as more sexual than someone with smaller breasts and society does not let you forget your boobs are there to be sexy. Men stare at them, women sometimes internalise patriarchal bullshit and insult you, you have to make an extra effort in what you wear to be seen as ‘decent’, if you flash a bit of cleavage you’re just ‘slutty’ or ‘showing off’. Everywhere you go you are told big boobs are good and they are a fantasy for men. That is if your boobs are youthful, full and pert. The rise in popularity of the bob job and photoshop means we rarely see a natural boob in the media; certainly not ones that are saggy, wonky or just not perfectly primed, pushed up and enhanced.
Developing boobs at an early age, I was wearing a bra by 11, meant I suddenly had these things on my chest that I felt very awkward about. Boobs have baggage and I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I used to wear baggy tops, feel awkward and cross my arms in front of my boobs.
Boobs are these things men love, everyone jokes about them, gives them silly names like ‘fun bags’, ‘puppies’ and well even ‘boobs’ is a silly name. They never quite feel like they’re YOURS, they feel like public property that just happen to be stuck on your ribcage. The endless cultural memes on the variation of ‘get your tits out for the lads’ and ‘tits or get the fuck out’ seem to be everywhere, if you show visible nipples through your clothing you’ll face many a ‘oo are you cold?’ comments and giggles and/or be branded ‘obscene’ for daring to have nipples, a worry which has lead to the creation of some bizarre products I shamelessly take the piss out of here, to hide your shame at not having perfectly smooth, nippleless barbie style mounds.
I have now embraced my boobage and love them, though still feel very self conscious at times if I show cleavage or a tight top. I once went to the supermarket wearing a t shirt and got asked if I knew I was ‘wobbling’. I get asked my bra size by men (I tell them to guess and have deduced many men have a comically bad grasp of how bra sizes work). I suppose boobs, being an obvious, visible ’female’ body part act as a sort of focal point for all the patriarchal shit about men feeling entitled to comment on women’s bodies, though I have noticed bums and questions about the size of my bum are close behind (oh come on, I could not resist that pun).
The straight male fascination with boobs does amuse me, I suppose because after all these years having them they’re just y’know there like my elbows or toes are, but apparently they hold some magical sexual power of magnetic boobiness. Yes they are sexy, yes they look nice, yes boobs are fun to squish and play with but the obsession we seem to have with them is bizarre, especially when you consider our attitudes towards breast feeding. It’s fine for adverts to show cleavage everywhere but not fine for breastfeeding to be done in public without stares or facebook banning pictures as ‘obscene’. I’ve seen women breastfeed, the baby’s head usually obscures most of the boob, I’ve shown more boob in pictures of me on nights out that facebook hasn’t blocked than is shown in most breastfeeding pics. Plus what’s so offensive about a nipple anyway? I suppose it all ties into patriarchy and boobs, and women’s bodies, being deemed as for the sexual pleasure of adult men, patriarchy rejects women choosing to prioritise feeding their babies over getting them out ‘for the lads’. Breasts, the mammary glands that exist to produce milk for babies, have become sexualised that they are seen as pretty much entirely sexual, so in our prudish society a glimpse of a woman’s nipple is seen as ‘obscene’ top shelf stuff whilst men’s nipples are whipped out on sunny days, at the pool, at the beach etc.
In short, I love my boobs but I hate the baggage patriarchy puts on them and it’d be nice to buy tops that fit me better.