Recently, Diahann Reyes wrote a beautifully eloquent and poignant post on her blog (Stories from the Belly) about how, as a woman with large breasts, she has spent a lifetime having her body objectified by others. She has experienced everything from a doctor pruriently gazing at her bare chest during an examination to flat-out idiotic comments from boorish men about her “Playboy”-like breasts. She brilliantly conveys the vulnerability she has felt in having the world generally seem to notice her breasts before ever seeing her, as a complete person.
So I feel doubly horrible as a person, and as a woman who happens to have small breasts, for after having read about her terribly negative experiences still thinking, “Yeah, but at least people notice that you have breasts and are a woman.” God forgive me for even mentally, however minutely, belittling the appalling treatment she’s received. That’s not my intention at all, and it is impossible to put myself in her shoes (or should I say her bra?) and appreciate what she’s endured.
The flip side of the boob coin is being a woman with small breasts. Breasts that, even when young and perky and supple, were never luscious and sumptuous and…..womanly. Ms. Reyes relates the experience of having a stranger in a video arcade accidentally-on-purpose brush his hand across her breast. As a teenager, I had the experience (more than once) of having a boy earnestly try to find my breast during a make-out session and honing in on my ribcage instead. Quite thrilling. Or more recently, having a lover remove my underwire, slightly-padded, give-the-girls-a-little-help bra, and dismayingly ask: “Where’d they go?”
One of my favorite posts on the subject was from Amy Longworth on The Huffington Post. Her very funny article included incredibly astute insights that only the tiny-boobed can fully appreciate. She says that despite her well-endowed friends telling her that she’s lucky, she doesn’t feel lucky because “All the men who’ve had, shall we say, interactions with my boobs have hardly been thrilled by them, and any attention directed their way is more out of politeness than genuine desire.” A spot-on observation, and over the course of 40 years of intimate experiences, one I’ve found to be true not with “all” men, but with at least 90 percent of them. And it’s disappointing not to be genuinely desired.
Ms. Longworth concludes with a priceless and amazingly accurate list of “Top Ten Small Boob Problems.” My favorites are “#8: Certain sexual endeavors are automatically ruled out; #7: You know your boyfriend loves you just as you are…but also that he wouldn’t be averse to you miraculously waking up with C-cup pups tomorrow morning; and #5: When you lie down, your boobs disappear altogether.” Ah yes, very sexy and oh-so-enticing, the disappearing boob.
And yes, I know my breasts are not, and should never be, just for the enjoyment of men. But the fact is that I would find them more enjoyable—sexually and aesthetically—if they were larger, too. If that’s weird and vain and caving in to the evil male-hegemonistic culture, so be it.
I am likely past the mid-point of my life now, and my breasts long ago went through three cycles of pregnancy and breastfeeding, not to mention a substantial weight loss. And let me tell you: small, deflated breasts are not attractive by current, or for that matter, any cultural standards of which I’m aware. I imagine that large, deflated breasts are probably equally disenchanting. But the irony is that breasts, after all, are put there for one purpose: to provide nourishment and life to babies. And mine did that job quite astoundingly well. All three of my babies were healthy, thriving, bouncing little darlings, fed only with breast milk until they were five or six months old.
Which kind of gives me a new admiration for the old girls. They’ve served nobly. They’ve sacrificed themselves for a higher purpose. They’re healthy and uncomplaining. If they need a little ongoing wardrobe assistance via underwires and padding, what’s to squawk about? Which brings us to the moral of this story: accept your boobs (or your too-big butt, or your weak chin, or whatever body part is troubling you). Guaranteed, you notice your defect far more than anyone else does. Improve what you can, and accept what you can’t improve. Stop worrying, and learn to love your less-than-perfect body—it’s a miraculous, warm, desirable, love-giving, hard-working masterpiece.