They Came With My Body


I was saddened to read Hannah Whittaker’s article on The F Word
about her eating disorder a while back. I did, however, want to share
the experiences of someone from the other side of the fence. I have
what, for many women, is an extremely enviable figure. If I open a copy
of FHM, the models don’t look like unattainable visions of
tiny-waisted pneumatic perfection. They look like me. With my size 6,
30E frame I could easily be a glamour model if I wanted – although of
course I am probably over the hill at 25. And if I had a pound for
every time I’ve heard a female acquaintance tell me I have "the perfect
figure," whatever that is, I’d probably have enough money for a breast
reduction.

I must say straight away that I am happy with the way I look. There are
things that I would change if it were easy to do so. I would like to
have longer limbs and yes, smaller breasts. But I quite like my body.
It’s mine and it’s familiar. It’s good at martial arts and playing the
cello and giving hugs. This happiness and acceptance however has been
hard-won.

I liked my breasts when they first appeared. I was a 28A for a long
time and, while I felt a little self-conscious about these new
additions to my physique simply by virtue of the fact that most other
12-year-olds didn’t yet have any at all, I liked them. They were small
and perky, in proportion with the rest of me and didn’t get me any
unwanted attention. All of this changed virtually overnight when I was
14. In the space of about three months, I went from an A to an E cup.
The way I was treated by both people I knew and by strangers completely
changed. My peers began to see me as "slutty," despite the fact that I
had never even kissed a boy. The bitchy, popular clique of girls at
school tried to recruit me, not seeming to understand why I had little
interest in wearing a truly hideous amount of make-up to school and
making other girls’ lives hell. Teachers began to see me as
troublesome, giving me detention for minor things. And overnight, I
went from being able to walk down the street without even being looked
at, to having strangers lean out of car windows to inform me that they
would like to fuck my brains out.

Groping my breasts became almost a sport among the boys at school. It
would happen in class, during break times, while I passed them in the
corridor – any time that I was within groping distance. Typically, a
boy would grab my breasts while his friends whooped and hollered.
Occasionally the friends would be holding me down. I would scream and
hit them, but this seemed only to increase their enjoyment. Nobody ever
came to my rescue: not the girls, not the other boys whose opinions
these male chauvinist piglets probably would have respected the most,
and not the teachers whose job it was to intervene. It simply was not
regarded as important. It was seen as an inevitability of my figure,
and if I had the temerity to walk down the corridors looking like I
did, what did I expect? A boy once told me about a specific sexual
fantasy he had, involving tying me up, beating me and raping me. He
apparently used to crack one out while imagining this every night.
Another boy once asked me, “Hasn’t anybody ever told you a handful is
enough?” as if I’d deliberately inflated them myself.

It wasn’t just the boys. A campaign of complete lechery from one of my
teachers distressed me sufficiently for me to bunk off lessons. He
stared at my tits in class, made lewd comments about me in front of
everybody and, when I lost weight as a result of being so anxious and
upset, chided me because he “liked his women with curves.” When I
finally plucked up the courage to complain to my (female) head of year
I was simply told: “Don’t worry dear, I’m sure he didn’t mean it.”

As I spent many break times hiding in the toilets, the girls would try
to say helpful, supportive things. The general consensus was that I
should be glad of having big breasts, that I should be happy with them
because boys liked them, that perhaps I ought to chill out and enjoy
the attention, and that putting up with groping was just the price I
had to pay for being hot. I don’t lack respect for these girls (they
were after all only between 14 and 16 at the time), but it’s hugely
worrying that their kind words didn’t consist instead of: “You
shouldn’t have to put up with this,” “It’s not your fault” or, “Let’s
talk to the headmaster and make sure the governors hear about this
because that teacher ought to be fired immediately.” My male friends
trivialized the situation, possibly simply fearing the scorn of their
classmates, but, for whatever reason, they were disinterested in
sticking up for me and generally adopted the same “chill out and enjoy
the attention” attitude as the girls. As for the teachers, they turned
a blind eye whenever possible, pretended they hadn’t noticed when I was
assaulted in their classes and did as little as possible when I
specifically asked for their support.

Of course, it wasn’t just at school that my mammary tissue provoked so
much humiliation. As soon as my large breasts appeared, I had to deal
with grown men leering at me, propositioning me and telling me what
they wanted to do to me. I don’t honestly know if I looked much older
than I really was, but as a general rule, I’d say that inviting a girl
in school uniform to provide you with a “tit wank” isn’t really
appropriate. And no, this was not an isolated incident.

My youth orchestra held an annual awards ceremony, one of the awards
being the “Mammoth Melons Award,” for which the girl with the biggest
breasts would be presented with two enormous watermelons and everybody
would have a good laugh about it. Every year I would spend the morning
of the awards ceremony hiding in the bathroom hyperventilating at the
prospect of being so humiliated (I never got the award – either I
wasn’t popular enough or one of my friends tipped off the organizers
about how upset I’d be). When I look back on this now, I’m completely
appalled that it was allowed to happen. Making fun of a teenage girl’s
breasts in an official awards ceremony approved by the teachers is just
not cool.

Something else that made me feel very uncomfortable about my new assets
was the extent to which I was stared at, not just by sleazy men, but by
other women. My breasts were given disparaging stares, envious stares,
and stares whose motivation I couldn’t work out at all. I was also
given some very unpleasant verbal abuse by other women. I very rarely
received compliments about my breasts from anyone other than close
friends – whenever anyone made a comment, it was nasty. Unsolicited
comments I’ve received from other women include “That’s SO not
attractive,” “You do realize they’ll be down to your ankles by the time
you’re 30,” and, “You think you’re something really special, don’t
you?” And, of course, apart from the unpleasant comments themselves, a
lengthy disparaging stare speaks a thousand vitriolic words.

I believe that the reason that so many women feel that it’s acceptable
to mock large breasts is that there is an underlying assumption that
all women want larger breasts. Women’s magazines are full of tips on
how to “make the most of your assets.” In trashy chick-lit novels, the
protagonist with whom we are supposed to identify always has small
ones. Because there is an assumption that all women want bigger
breasts, women who actually do have big breasts are assumed to be in a
state of extreme smugness. And because it’s entirely unacceptable for a
woman to be happy with her appearance, anyone with big tits needs
taking down a peg or two, the conceited bitch.

Therein lies the sting in the tail. As the girl with the oh-so-envious
figure, you will receive no sympathy. If you ever, ever express any
discontent with the unwanted attention and discrimination you receive
as a result of looking like the “ideal woman,” or if you ever express a
dislike of the aesthetic appearance of that part of your anatomy, you
will be shot down with cries of, “You BITCH” (this is a compliment –
confusing, I know). You will be cheerfully informed that you ought to
be glad of the attention. And people will say charming things like:
“It’s a good thing you’ve got big boobs, because otherwise nobody would
like you.”

It’s as if women’s breasts are public property – the bigger they are,
the less they belong to the person to whom they are attached, and the
more it is seen as acceptable to stare, make comments and to
de-humanise their owner. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I finally
started coming round to the idea that my breasts were my own, not just
unwanted appendages attached to my body. Until then I hadn’t seen them
as a part of me at all. I had thought of them almost as a deformity.
They didn’t seem like mine. I fantasised that one day I would wake up
and they would be gone, and I’d go back to being treated as a human
being.

Nowadays things are much better. I’ve got better at dressing to make my
breasts look smaller (not that I should have to, although I would
choose to anyway), and looking older means that I get less unwanted
attention (not that I should have received unwanted attention when I
was younger either, and not that I am exactly geriatric at 25). I no
longer feel like a sex object every waking moment. I no longer hate my
breasts and I no longer feel that they’re unwanted appendages. I would
definitely like them to be smaller and I won’t pretend otherwise, but
they feel like part of me, rather than the disembodied udders that they
used to feel like. I’m still not happy though. Why should I ever have
felt that way? Why should I have had to have struggled so hard to be
respected and taken seriously?

It’s incredible to me that any woman would want large breasts when they
examine what the media at large seems to think of women so afflicted.
Just take a look at FHM.
They’re all “hot and ready” bimbos presented as receptacles existing
solely for male entertainment. Even women in high-powered positions
aren’t immune – witness the treatment of Harriet Harman after being
photographed a few months ago from an angle that grossly exaggerated
the amount of cleavage she was showing. Poor Harman. I know from bitter
personal experience just how difficult it is to dress "modestly" when
you have large breasts. Dressing "modestly" means wearing something
that conceals the size of your large breasts – the actual size of them,
not just the amount of flesh on show, otherwise you risk looking as if
you’re actually dressing to make them look bigger. It’s a Catch-22
situation that reaches whole new dimensions if, like me, you are only
5’2” and have to consider that most people will be able to see down
your top.

Because there are such limited representations of women in the media,
and so many stereotypes associated with particular looks, this creates
unfortunate associations for women who happen to resemble any one of
these particular looks. Tall, slim, young women for example are
stereotyped as bitchy fashionistas. Women above a size 10 who – gasp! –
don’t hate themselves are "confident, real women." Overweight,
middle-aged women are regarded as barely deserving of existence until
they give up carbs and get Botox. And young, petite women with big
breasts are regarded as "easy."

My classmate’s “a handful is enough” comment succinctly demonstrates
the phenomenon of people thinking that women choose the size of their
breasts, or at least treating them as if they do. Sometimes I feel as
if I have the words ARROGANT SLUT tattooed across my forehead. Given
what men seem to think about my sexual availability and the judgements
that women seem to make about my "morals" and self-image, it really
does seem that having big breasts is equivalent to this.

I think that the crux of all of my breast-related problems was very
well summarized by a perceptive comment made by a friend of mine when I
was sixteen: “The problem is, your breasts just don’t suit your
personality.” She was right: people had gone from seeing me as I really
was – just another shy, geeky teenager who spent entirely too much time
in the library – to seeing me as a bimbo who would definitely want to
suck their dick. My breasts were a mask that seemed to prevent people
from actually bothering to get to know me.

It seems that often women have the biggest problems with their breasts
when this happens, and when the treatment that they receive from other
people is related to their tits rather than to who they actually are as
a person. All people are to some extent judged on their looks; this is
unfair. Women are judged on their looks much more than men; this is
even more unfair and makes looks-based discrimination very much a
feminist issue. Women with big breasts are in my opinion subjected to
many more negative snap judgements than most, perhaps even on a par
with fat women and women who explicitly fail to comply with society’s
standards of beauty by doing horrific things like failing to remove
their armpit hair. This is horrendously unfair, not to mention bloody
stupid.

I’m not saying: “Boo hoo, look how difficult life is for gorgeous
women, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful!” Being regarded as
attractive generally makes life much easier and puts one in a position
of privilege, an unfair and wholly undeserved privilege that I am aware
of having. But being seen as extremely sexually
attractive is massively problematic for the individual in question. In
such a deeply sexist and heteronormative culture, looking like the
personification of “sluttiness” is seen as an invitation for sexual
harassment. It’s bad enough when people think you are inviting sexual
harassment because of how you happen to be dressed that day, but at
least mini skirts and high heels come off. Breasts do not. The size of
a woman’s breasts, surgery notwithstanding, is not a personal choice.
Forget “This is what a feminist looks like” – I think I need a t-shirt
that says, “These came with my body."

For any girls or women who think that they would like to look like a
glamour model, I would like to say that you are fortunate not to. Not
because there is anything at all wrong with being petite with big
breasts in itself, but because a woman who looks like a Nuts
pin-up is constantly assumed by most people to be an airhead. Your life
will be much easier if you have a more average figure. Consider how
healthy your self image would be by now if you had endured being
groped, being automatically regarded as unintelligent, being seen by
other women as the enemy, being regarded as nothing more than your
body, every day of your life. You can’t take the breasts off. They’re
not like accessories that you can choose to put on when you feel like
having lots of attention and take off when you feel like being
respected or just simply able to run around without having to wear a
sports bra made of reinforced concrete. For the love of God, why would
you wish that upon yourself?

I have always thought, even as a child, that small and medium-sized
breasts were more attractive than large ones. But were it not for the
judgements, the harassment, the objectification and the pure hatred
that my breasts have caused me, they’d be no different from my short
legs or my frizzy hair – something that I’d change if it were easy to
do so, but which doesn’t really bother me. Things are much better for
me now because I have a good academic career behind me and a
high-status job that explicitly requires intelligence. I have proved
myself as not an airhead. But why should I have to do so? Why should
the underlying assumption be that I am? It’s stupid and unfair and I am
angry about it.

It’s not my problem that my breasts “don’t suit my personality." The
problem is that there is a personality type associated with having big
breasts in the first place. We don’t need implants and breast
reductions. What we need is to cure our society’s complete obsession
with breasts. We need somehow to do away with the idea that breast size
is directly proportional to sexual attractiveness, and that a sexually
attractive woman is somehow deserving of harassment and contempt.
Surely breasts aren’t the only beautiful thing about an attractive
woman? As a heterosexual female I appreciate that it’s difficult for me
to comment meaningfully on what makes a woman sexually attractive, but
really, it’s the equivalent of a man’s attractiveness being judged
solely by the size of the bulge in his pants, which is surely not an
attitude that anybody with any aesthetic taste or basic respect for
their fellow humans would take.

I do still have some residual shame about my body. I know this because
I cringed when writing the opening paragraph of this piece, describing
my appearance. I was shocked at just how much I cringed. After all, I
happily walk down the street every day looking like I do. But
nevertheless, admitting that I have a 23-inch waist and E-cup breasts
(look, I just wrote it again, how brazen!) gave me visions of lots of
angry women scowling at their monitors and fuming, “The stuck-up bitch!
Who does she think she is? I mean, it’s as if she’s actually PROUD of
her goddamn ‘perfect figure.’ Who’d have thought it, Barbie writing for
The F-Word…” I know that this is irrational, but I share my paranoia to
illustrate that, despite the fact that I don’t usually think about my
body much and never diet, I do still have quite a complicated
relationship with my figure and what I think people’s reactions to it
might be. I have cringed at every point at which I have stated or
implied that I am generally regarded as attractive from the neck down.
It feels like an extraordinarily arrogant thing to admit. I feel as if
I ought to be simultaneously raving about having an ugly face or bad
hair just to balance things out. It’s stupid and irrational, but it’s
the way I feel. It’s the way that mainstream, female, male and even
feminist culture seems to conspire to make me feel.

We cannot win. Whatever size our breasts are, there is something wrong
with them. Whatever body type we have, even the most
conventionally-attractive kind, we are encouraged to be unhappy with it
somehow. So quit worrying. Stick two fingers up at society rather than
down your throat. And if you think I’m an airhead, please let it be
simply because you think I’ve been talking complete bollocks for the
last 3,000 words.
"Private Sphere" by Heather Cushman-Dowdee"Private Sphere" by Heather Cushman-Dowdee

This post originally appeared at The F Word, Contemporary UK Feminism.

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  • invalid-0

    Thank you! As someone who is fat and with big boobs, ive got a double whammy here. Ive felt exactly the same way – that my breasts do not fit my personality.

    Its clear that people respond to you differently than to me, but i was thin once, and my boobs were big then, too. I remember how ashamed i was of them, and how hard i tried to cover them up, hide them. Now at a bigger size, my boobs are even bigger! Only now im made to feel invisible due to my weight.

    You can’t win!

  • invalid-0

    I have always been thin- with “smaller” breasts. I believe we all suffer from these kinds of prejudices no matter how we look. There is no “right” way for a woman to look in our society. If a man wants to put me down he can say I am “too skinny” -which basically means to me “Your breasts aren’t big enough” being the fact that Victoria’s Secret models are much thinner than I am but that’s o.k. because they have large brests. Also, the most angry comments have come from women who are jealous of my thin figure. The most ready demeaning comments such as “you may be thin but my tits are bigger than yours and that’s what guys like” and “you think you are so great but you don’t have any tits” – An extremely overweight 55 year old coworker just said that to me out of nowhere the other day…

  • invalid-0

    I also have large breasts. I have also always been “one of the guys” and was one of the brainy kids in my class. At age 10 I HAD to wear a bra. By 5th grade I was in a B cup and by 8th I was in a D cup. At the time I was built solid. Not thin, but not real heavy either. Like I said, I had always been one of the guys. I was a tomboy, and most of my friends were male.

    I remember in gym class in 6th and 7th grade, I used to have to keep extra bras in my gym bag because more than once while doing jumping jacks, I broke a bra strap. It was humiliating. Fortunately it only happened in girls only gym and not in mixed gym classes, but it was still not fun at all.

    In 8th grade, I started getting all this unwanted attention like you describe. I hated it. I was used to my classmates wanting me on their team in science class (we had a quiz game before tests) because they knew I was smart. I was ok with being sought out for my brain because that was something I actually did, not something I was. Suddenly guys wanted to be around me because they saw me sexually, and I was totally not prepared to deal with it.

    I ended up gaining weight so they would see my brain again. It sounds weird, but it worked. But every time I would try to get more healthy, or exercise, even take a walk, I would get cat calls and harassment. It made me so self conscious that I would stop because I hated that kind of attention. And I didn’t feel safe when I was thinner.

    A few years ago, I lost some weight and started getting the extra attention again, because I was still a DDD cup, and it made me self conscious. Fortunately, I found a martial arts class that is helping me to get healthier and feel safe. I am still a large woman, and even if I get lean, I will still not look like a cover model, but it is helping me to be comfortable in my own body and to take back ownership of my body.

    Again thank you for writing this. There are lots of women out there who have had similar experiences.

  • invalid-0

    Thank you! As terrible as it is, I would rather be fat like I am now, then have my great figure back. I went through everything this poor woman has been through and more: and I cried just reading what she wrote. I have been pinched, bitten, etc. by men, treated like non-human,(denigrated) or super human (worshipped). I have been stalked, called stuck up, etc. I still suffer the effects, I used to be outgoing but after being sexually harassed to the point of being suicidal when I was younger, my personality changed. I became so jaded and guarded. It is horrible that your peers hate you and are jealous. The absolute worst was being raped and being told that I was so beautiful, he couldn’t resist. Knowing what I know now, I would have much rather have had small breasts and have had to depend on my personality rather than having had an exceptional figure and good looks. I would have rather not have stood out so much. I worry about my nieces, because they look like they are going to be knockouts too.

  • invalid-0

    Two very different things happened in this story, and it seems to me we need to separate them.

    First, men ogle and stare and shout things at the author, women resent her, and people in general assume she is dumb.

    Second, adults responsible for children neglected their duty and even acted in an outright inappropriate and illegal way. This created an atmosphere where clear and constant sexual harassment took place.

    The second needs to be responded to with quick legal action and no remorse. ESPECIALLY to our children, we need to put them in a safe and protective environment where we teach them the norms and morals of society. I could go on but I am on a feminist blog (not a word that is often self-applied in my native America) and you all agree with me anyway.

    I believe the first, however, will never change. I am a man and I will admit, I stare. I stare all the time. I don’t know why I do it, I’m a nice guy. I treat my mother with a lot of respect and I call my grandmother every weekend.

    I stare because it is a rare sight and it provides me with a lot of enjoyment. I even know its wrong, but if people were to convince me still more that it is totally objectionable, I still don’t know that I would stop.

    As a guy, you survey the scene, all the time. You are always looking at different people, especially women. One of the reasons is that you have to remember where the beautiful women hang out so that you can remember to go back there. Some women, at a glance, look like they have small waists and big breasts, but when you look at them more closely, it was just a trick of the light. When an actual woman of these proportions comes along, by the time you have verified to yourself that she is actually what she appears to be, you are already too struck to turn away. It’s kind of like the angels come down from the sky and there’s a quiet hallelujah in your head.

    Besides, for most places I go, THAT’S WHY I WENT THERE. I went there to find a woman who looks like that and to hit on her. If I look straight ahead and don’t avert my eyes to judge anyone’s figure, I’d never have hit on a woman in my life. How would I know?

    Another point is that I think if you were to take attractive and unattractive women and place them in separate groups, the unattractive ones probably are more successful on average. Why? Because being successful takes work and people hate work. I hate work. If I didn’t have to work, I wouldn’t. And a lot of attractive women discover early on that their older brethren don’t work, and they probably don’t need to either. I have NO facts to back me up on this except that I meet a lot of attractive and unattractive women in my personal and professional life, and this is what I have found.

    Anyway, I really feel bad for the author because she’s clearly a kind sensitive person that experienced harassment, much of it of an illegal and predatory manner, but we need to focus on the right priorities. Prosecuting teachers that molest children is at the top of the list. Getting mad at me for staring — probably not right up there.

    God, I’m glad they don’t make you post your address on here. Let the avalanche of venom begin!

  • invalid-0

    Wow! Thank you for being so courageous and writing this though I am not sure what is going on with the first commentator. Being a size 6 is NOT FAT!

  • harry834

     

    it probably depends on how and at whom you stare….

     

    staring at a known minor at all is wrong. Of course, you (might) not be able to help that first glance. A visual sight which is out of the ordinary (to the viewer) will usually if not always trigger that visual/neural sense.

    BUT this doesn’t mean that the ugly comments, EXTENDED stares, and harassment are as instinstintual. These are behavioral choices, and we must demand that all who might do them (teen boys, girls, teachers, street guys, etc) do NOT do them. But this should likely be backed up with policy, not just "honor code". (though extended stares might be hard to punish, but do what we can.).

     

    Of course, its not enough to refrain from doing them. We must intervene when others do them. And we should do this even if a policy is not in place. We can’t let the negligence of adults be an excuse for kids to act (or inact) just because "teacher’s didn’t mind". Of course, this may be a harder lesson for kids to learn, especially when such harassment is alowed in a school ceremony, with no teachers protesting.

     

    Policy MUSt be in place, but we MUST intervene, AND expect others to do so even if there is no policy.

     

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Hi Samara, I appreciate your article (They came with my body).I am a trainer and I work with adolescents in matters related to their sexual and reproductive health.Some of them have actually testified how they have undergone painful experiences of ‘breast-ironing’inflicted on them by their mothers,grandmothers and aunties so that their breasts should not grow too big and also that they are coming out earlier than they should.Itis believed that the the breast will attract the attention of boys which will subsequently lead the girl into early sexual activity.Varied hot objects have therefore been used to ‘iron’ the breasts of young girls attaining puberty.This practice has neither stopped the breast from growing nor reduced the size as testified by the victims.Rather, they have been traumatised by the pain and other consequences such as abceses,cancer etc in their later lives.Indeed,I agree with you that we don’t need implants and breasts reductions(which are even better than a harmful traditional practice like ‘breast ironing’)What we need is a cure of our society’s complete obsession with breasts through education.Breasts are a gift from God and should be allowed to grow naturally.’They come with our bodies’thus should not be an object of scorn or shame.

  • invalid-0

    Oh, teh poor menz, they can’t heeeeeeeelllllp it. They even have to come into feminist blog discussions to tell us this, as if this is a big revelation, instead of something we’ve heard a thousand times before from being immersed in a patriarchal culture that ignores and excuses all sorts of male behavior.

    We don’t care. And, guess what? If your staring makes women uncomfortable, but you choose to justify it with “I can’t help it”, you’re privileging your libido over women’s right not to have to deal with creeps. You’re NOT a “nice guy.” Far from it. And how you treat your mother or grandmother has no bearing on this subject.

    Thanks also for your sexist characterizations of “attractive” vs. “unattractive” women.

  • invalid-0

    How can a characterization of “attractive” vs. “unattractive” not be sexist? It is based on sex.

  • invalid-0

    The way to wean our society from its addiction to female pulchritude (including buxom breasts) is to cultivate respect for women by cultivating equality of responsibility for all, regardless of gender. We can start by demanding that young women register for the selective service on their eighteenth birthday, just as young men do. We should also, should we ever have to reinstitute a draft, conscript women in numbers equally proportionate to the number of men conscripted, make sure that women and men serve in the armed forces for equal amounts of time, and make sure that proportionately equal numbers of women fight on the front lines along with proportionately equal numbers of men in combat. Beauty standards will be sure to change when women start assuming the same risks of death and disfigurement that men have always assumed for the sake of protecting women and children.

  • harry834

    First I want to thank the male anonymous for telling his story.

    My own take is that both men and women will stare at the opposite sex. Now there are social/natural factors that might predispose men to stare more than women. However, right vs wrong, is unrelated to social vs natural.

    In the game of staring, the one receiving the stare may feel uncomfortable. This does not necessarilly signify that they are a victim. We’re supposed to feel self-conscious when we are being stared at. Part of the social game.

    BUT…

    After a point, THEN the staring is abusive. Where this point is can’t be pinpointed exactly, but here are a few rules I’ve perceived:

    1.) It is wrong to stare at a known minor. Obviously this has to account for that first moment when one individual may cath the eye. After we know, "this is a teen". STOP staring

     

    2.) Staring at an "unknown" minor can be as wrong as a known. This can be a shaky judgment and maybe should be excused to some extent. ON THE OTHER HAND, I’m afraid to excuse it because one can say that those men on the street "didn’t know" the author’s age or teen age. How can we excuse them? Even if they could truly claim to not know, they could have seen her obvious discomfort, and maybe there were other clues (school friends around her, etc.). We can’t let men like that off the hook, even if they provide reasons to "not know" or "not be sure".

     

    3.) Staring at adult women is acceptable in a way staring at teens is just not. This should be obvious. EVEN SO, staring at a woman who’s obviously uncomfortable with it is crossing the line. BUT my caveat is to take into account the discomfort that naturally goes along with being the subject of another’s eyes. The dividing line here can be ambiguous too. But I’d hope we’d be conscious to stop staring at the sign of such obvious signs. The author in the story could not be anymore obvious in her discomfort. This does not mean that men should require THAT level of discomfort in order to stop. Often the stopping point is much earlier.

     

    It’s a situation that has to be felt out. But my nutshell point is: Don’t ban staring, but demand that starers not cross a line.

    Sometimes the line is obvious. Sometimes not. Sometimes men should take a chance (because a life without risk is not a life. feminists should know this). Sometimes men should not take the chance, and err on the side of caution. 

     

     

     

  • harry834

    A. staring < B. extended staring < C. comments/shouts

     

    Everything below point B may be acceptable with 92% confidence. Of course, the lines shift when dealing with teen women, women who’ve been traumatized, etc.

    Of course, my above analysis explains things with more nuance than this diagram.

     

     

  • invalid-0

    The way to wean our society from its addiction to female pulchritude (including buxom breasts) is to cultivate respect for women by cultivating equality of responsibility for all, regardless of gender.

    You think that the treatment the article’s author had to endure is the fault of women not doing their part?

    We can start by demanding that young women register for the selective service on their eighteenth birthday, just as young men do.

    I’ve got an even better idea. How about we start by demanding that the armed services put an end to endemic sexual assault in their ranks? More women will be sure to enlist if they don’t feel like they’re walking into a den of wolves!

  • invalid-0

    I think one major point the author left out is that women with big breasts are thought to be slutty is that many of them have had plastic surgery in order to make them big. That’s certainly the case in the FHM magazines she speaks of. So if one sees someone with large breasts, they may assume that the breasts are fake, and that therefore the woman chose to have large breasts and that therefore she is ‘slutty’. Sure, its likely that this was not the case at school when she was 14, but it is definitely a major factor as to why women with big breasts are considered slutty.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t see how this explains a single example the author provided…

    I also still don’t see the connection between big breasts (even implants) and slutty. Do implants give women a bigger sex drive? Make them more promiscuous??

  • invalid-0

    “Sometimes men should take a chance (because a life without risk is not a life. feminists should know this).”

    Er, women can take a chance too, can they not? Or do you assume that men are always supposed to be the approachers, and women the approached?

    Also, nobody has advocated banning staring.

  • invalid-0

    Leaving aside that you chose to hijack this post to blather on about an unrelated pet peeve of yours…

    Brendan, honey, it’s not women who are trying to keep women off the front lines. It’s sexist men in the military who feel that their precious masculinity is threatened when women are able to kill just like men are.

    Women have ALWAYS been at risk for “death and disfigurement” in war zones — from invading armies, from their own countrymen, and even, as the other commenter points out, from their fellow soldiers. “Protecting women and children”… what a joke.

  • invalid-0

    Who cares if a woman has had implants or not? That somehow gives men the “right” to treat her like a sex toy? But hey, thanks for coming in and finding some justification for what happened to Samara that blames women, not men.

  • invalid-0

    Haha these are some of the most hilarious two replies I have ever read. I feel like people on youtube or imdb message boards have more logical arguments (and politeness) than you two. 1st person, I assumed it was obvious enough to most people of this world why someone with implants would be considered slutty to not have to spell it out but here goes: Large breasts, for some unknown, most likely natural reason (although it could just be the evil media that somehow deemed it so), seriously turn men on. Everyone in the world is aware of this phenomenon, including the women who choose to buy large breasts. While it is very likely that any given female may have any number of reasons for getting breast implants, many people in this world (in my humble opinion) do so for the very reason because they know it turns men on. Just walk into any strip club in case you are still scratching your head. While the number of women who get breast implants for this reason may only make up a ‘small’ proportion of the women who get implants, many people (in)correctly assume that if a women has breast implants, she got them in order to look more sexually attractive to men.

    Now 2nd person, when did I ever say that implants give men the ‘right’ to treat a women like a sex toy? Also, when did I say that this justifies what happened to Samara? I was merely adding to Samara’s opinions on why large breasts are considered slutty which she wrote in the paragraph that started “I believe that the reason that so many women feel that it’s acceptable to mock large breasts is that there is an underlying assumption that all women want larger breasts.” I was simply adding to her argument that women may mock large breasts because some of these large breasts are “deliberately inflated” and may therefore be considered slutty (because of the reasoning I described above).

    Yes I am aware this may not specifically apply to why Samara herself was mocked, because she was 14 and it was obvious her breasts were not fake (which I even wrote in my previous post, yet you still somehow decided to reply “I don’t see how this explains a single example the author provided…” )

    Now 2nd person, in response to your final sentence, how are the mean stares and comments made by other women (eg. “You do realize they’ll be down to your ankles by the time you’re 30”) the fault of men? I was also never laying blame on women or men in my original post, I was merely stating that implants are considered slutty by society (that’s men and women). Does that mean I implied it was a woman’s own fault if she got implants and was subsequently considered slutty by society? That’s like saying, because traditional Chinese/Japanese/Korean parents thought it was terrible to marry an African American woman, and then I subsequently married an African American woman (I am Asian), it would be my fault if my family considered me a disgrace. But thank you for taking my words, completely distorting their meaning, throwing them back at me, and insulting me at the same time. Even people on imdb don’t randomly flame others when they are merely trying to add honest input into a discussion.

  • http://sandrimeda.blogspot.com invalid-0

    very nice post, tnx

  • amanda-marcotte

    Then perhaps you have a major psychological issue you should get some therapy for.   Most human beings have the social skills not to stare.  If we see someone in a wheelchair, for instance, we know better than to gawk and make them feel like a freak show for no good reason.  If you really, truly have trouble with this basic social skill, maybe you need help.

  • invalid-0

    you article was also published on alternet.org and i can’t believe some of the comments you got there. i can’t believe i read the same news source as those idiots. the comments just prove your case even more.

    i have big breasts since i was 10, and i’ve been ashamed of them until about 17/18. i didn’t feel that people judged my intelligence because of it, but what made me ashamed was the way men looked at me and on occasions harassed me. i’ve gotten and still get mean comments from a few women, including my mom, who thinks big breasts are something to be ashamed of. but mean comments i can take, the harassment and invasion of privacy i won’t take.

    as interesting and insightful as your article was, i don’t think it hit the nail on the head. it seems that the worst part of your experience with big boobs, as was mine, was the men’s sense of entitlement to it – and that to me is the biggest problem in a patriarchal society. even if it were just men staring at me i wouldn’t care, but why do we condone men/boys who feel entitled to yell slurs, verbal rape, and worse still, molest? all the comments on alternet about “getting over yourself,” and “men will be men” made me so angry, not just because these are ignorant and hurtful, but also because they totally normalized the sexual assault you faced.

    i’m angry not only because big breasted women are viewed as receptacles for men as the FHM women are, but why are the FHM women viewed that way in the first place? why is any woman treated as a toilet for men?

    finally, i disagree that you or any other big breasted petite woman could be a supermodel today (sorry to say!). glamour requires a certain amount of respect and big breasted women don’t get that. you or i could be a pornstar if we wanted to, but do you know any supermodel/actress with big breasts? i think they’re usually boyish looking to imply “innocence,” and therefore respect. and again, i could live with not fitting the beauty ideal if men stopped feeling entitled to insult big-breasted or fat women who didn’t fit the ideal.

  • invalid-0

    Um, I’m still not seeing how big breasts, implants or not, are related to sluttiness. So, ppl who get breast implants want men to be attracted to them… um, I would say that the majority of straight women want to be attractive to straight men, even the ones that don’t get breast implants! What planet do you live on?

    I know I like to be attractive to men, especially my boyfriend. The women I know who have implants are all married.

    Please explain again how breast implants means sluttiness and how this is an excuse to treat ppl with big breasts (whether they are real or not) like they are objects for you to grab.

    I have had large breasts since I was 14, and experienced all the same things in this article. People do act like big breasts are public property, it’s amazing.

  • harry834

    between a first "eye-catching" moment vs keeping on doing it? Perhaps the former is semi-automatic while the latter is entirely chosen, and thus culpable. Also it would seem that the latter, rather than the former, applies to the act of "gawking" and "making them feel like a freak show", which I believe most of us would condemn.

    I guess its always possible that the former should be prevented as well, but I see that less the case than for the extended stare, which is the real definition of gawking.

    And also, I never stated or implied that men should always be the approachers and women the approached. I never even suggested that as a general rule.

     

  • harry834

    we found some things to agree on. Of course, I’m always listening to where you disagree, even strongly.

    I’ll keep checking in here, and hope others will add their thoughts.

  • harry834

    maybe we should each define "staring", as we use this word.

    I suppose the way I used it, I seem to think that "staring" can be a momentary thing that can be stopped after that first eye-cayching glance. I guess this is where I draw the line.

    Of course, "staring" implies a continued viewing process. So maybe "staring" and "extended staring" are really the same thing. That’s not how I used it in my prior comments, but maybe that’s a limitation in my word choice.

    I will say that while I’ve implied that the first momentry look is unavoidable, it really may not be, so I wouldn’t consider that completely off-limits of criticism. But definitelty we all agree the continued   looking can and most likly does easily classify as the gawking, as the bad staring that is NOT condonable (unless the "staree" seems fine being the subject of the continued stare)

  • harry834

    my words:

    "Of course, ‘staring’ implies a continued viewing process. So maybe ‘staring’ and ‘extended staring’ are really the same thing."

    This seems to be the definition Amanda is using, which depending on your angle, seems like an OK definition.

    Maybe instead of "staring vs extended staring" it should be "first glance vs staring"? 

    More thoughts…

  • invalid-0

    After reading this thread, how can anyone deny there’s something about our culture (or species?) that encourages men to cast aside common courtesy and rational thought when breasts are involved?

    It’s like the local asylum is taking a field trip to rhrealitycheck.org. We have one guy debating with himself over what the definition of staring is, another blaming sexism in the military on women, and yet another equating naturally busty women to women with implants to promiscuous women with thread so thin it’s visible only to the insane.

    Truly, I am dumbfounded.

  • invalid-0

    “. . .thread so thin it’s visible only to the insane.”

    I CANNOT stop laughing, that was the best line ever! (H/T)

  • http://sweetlikemaple.blogspot.com invalid-0

    I really enjoyed reading this. Especially these lines: “We don’t need implants and breast reductions. What we need is to cure our society’s complete obsession with breasts. ”
    Thank you for putting in words the exact problem here, and how all women are actually encouraged to be unhappy with their figure as a reflection of their personality, intelligence, and overall worth.

  • invalid-0

    who crap all over any post related to feminism.

  • invalid-0

    So sorry. Sucks to have a body disorder. I agree, if you aren’t comfortable in your own self, it’s not fair.

    But…please…don’t compare yourself with us chunky gals. As a woman who used to be a size 4 and modeled…that has since transformed into a size 14, I have no sympathy.

    In this society, attractive people get treated better and fat people are invisible. Call me a extrovert, but I’d rather be stuck with the massive tits instead of a flabby cellulite ridden fat chick with mommy tummy.

  • harry834

    we start suggesting concrete ways to prepare boys, girls, teachers, surrounding adults to do good and stop doing bad. This includes intervening when situations turn bad.

  • invalid-0

    I think that getting a quick stare is perfectly natural and not sexist at all. I like breast. Breast are part of what makes a woman attractive to me. I don’t think it is something that can be avoided, it’s probably genetic. And don’t get me wrong, there is a meme that has definitely strengthened the value of large breast way beyond a healthy level, but I don’t think that nice breast will ever stop being part of what defines an attractive women. Even if we did shift the paradigm it would be just that, the only difference would be what kind of breast are thought of as desirable by culture.(I know culture does not necessarily dictate an individuals behavior) Breast are awesome, end of story. And I totally sympathize with what you have been through, any one who yells “I want to fuck you’re brains out” at a total stranger who does not want that attention should get there ass kicked. Good luck with the fight against sexism, I am fighting too.

  • harry834

    we do what we can…then we reevaluate and try to do more.

    I’m looking forward to the ideas that come forth in this discussion. We need to stop the mindsets that allowed the kids AND teachers to allow this.

  • harry834

    YOU are the nasty women described in the the story. Your bitterness, your cruelty.

    Don’t you DARE call it "tough love". It’s garbage, it’s a spit on the face. It’s rotten.

    I can show sympathy for the pain inflicted on you for your appearence. No one should have to suffer that injustice. This does NOT give you the right to inflict the same pain on others!

    Learn from this,

  • invalid-0

    Actually she could definitely be a glamour model. The kind of supermodel/high fashion modeling you are speaking of with stick figures instead of real women isn’t glamour modeling. Glamour modeling is the euphemism used to refer to nude/semi-nude modeling that appears on Page 3, Maxim, FHM, all over the web (basically where the women are treated as receptacles for men).

  • invalid-0

    I just wanted to say to the author, I am so sorry you had to put up with that kind of harassment. That you went to people who should have helped you, and they didn’t. I’m sorry the other people in your school didn’t try to help you, didn’t stand up with you to say what was happening was wrong. I’m sorry a teacher did that to you, and publicly, making it seem OK to act like that to all the other students. I’m sorry you have to change the way you dress so you are harassed less. You should not be treated that way. It isn’t OK for anyone to do that to you.

  • invalid-0

    Is it not too late to sue your school? I would consult with an attorney. I hate to say it but until it starts hurting financially this kind of abuse will continue. It sounds like you went to a private school which makes it even more scary-at least in my daughters public schools it seems there was more over sight as to how teachers behaved. Though there were problems with other students they never had any problems from their teachers! I have to say though it is not just a big breast problem–our culture sadly encourages harassment of women/girls just because they are female. One of my daughters told me of an incident where as she walked home from the bus stop (all of 3 blocks from our house) she had 2 different cars of creepy guys calling out obscenitys and cat calls to her–on this particular day it was cold out and she did not feel good so she was wearing her most unattractive clothing: sweat pants with a sweat shirt hoodie(pulled up over her head even), it was simply the fact that she was a female alone not how big her breasts are or how “slutty” she was dressed or anything else stereotypical. I don’t know what the answer is but we certainly need to stop abusive behavior with legal action even if it does not stop their thoughts! And then maybe we need more education in our schools to teach basic respect for others!

  • invalid-0

    < ...You think that the treatment the article's author had to endure is the fault of women not doing their part?...>

    Let’s start teaching _all_ girls martial arts as a required subject from the age of kindergarten through 12th grade, and encourage them to beat the living _snot_ out of men who “just can’t help it”!

    Hurt’em enough, they will eventually get the point and quit doing it. Some will take more discipline than others.

  • invalid-0

    you must really hate yourself.
    Thanks for calling women who aren’t size 4s (including me- a size 12) “flabby” and “cellulite ridden”.
    I workout 5 days a week and have muscles. I run marathons and hike miles over mountains.
    I have always been and will probably always be a size 10-12.
    Does this bother me? Nope. I am healthy. I eat and take pleasure in what I eat. I’ve never even considered throwing up food- oh yeah I’m a chef too.

    And the “mommy tummy”? You did that one to yourself lady.

    Take your hatred of yourself elsewhere and stop projecting it onto every other woman you meet.
    Oh I feel sorry for your child (or children) if it/they are girls. Noone needs to grow up with a passive-agressive who hates themselves.

  • invalid-0

    That this is one of the more poular articles. It seems a lot of men are commenting here.Sex perverts maybe?
    Anyway I disagree with the statement that women who are not attractive(whatever that means)have to work harder and are more successful. Women who are more attractive get everything handed to them, I think the so called plain Janes would not be to happy to know they were busting butt getting paid less for more work in relation to their sisters getting paid more for doing nothing except distracting men into doing anything. Pathetic world we have to live in.

  • invalid-0

    Women who are more attractive get everything handed to them

    Do you have any evidence for this??

  • invalid-0

    But you would not believe it anyway! Jump down my throat will you !!!

  • invalid-0

    An eye-opening read, this is probably something I never would have even thought about had stumbleupon not brought me here
    I particularly like the way you ended with “Stick two fingers up at society rather than down your throat” and “talking complete bollocks for the last 3,000 words”, both are gems
    It’s funny how long it can take to learn something as simple as standing up for yourself when there’s no-one in your life to show you how

  • harry834

    what do you teach?

  • harry834

    what things do you teach them in order to act respectfully, and intervene when others act disrespectfully?

     

  • invalid-0

    In my circle of friends in school, there was one of us who was built just like the author, and she took a lot of crap for it. I was the skinny one with no chest at all; i got teased about having “indents” instead of boobs. Believe me, I took way more crap than she did; at least people were nice to her. Not every girl with big breasts is treated the way the author was. In my experience, the girls with big breasts did fine; I did much better after mine grew in high school. But really, that’s all irrelevant.

    Here’s the thing: until we stop focusing on girls’ and women’s bodies instead of their personalities, this type of behavior will continue. Whether it’s assumptions that the large-breasted girl is slutty or that the small-breasted girl is desperate, it will continue until we have a culture that values women for their minds, not their physical characteristics. And we as women need to stop buying into it. A woman’s weight, cup size, skin color, etc have nothing to do with a woman’s personality. Give the chick with big boobs a chance instead of yelling at her; maybe she’s smart and funny. Give the skinny girl a chance; maybe that’s just her build, and she’s not some crazy anorexic. Get over the stupid stereotypes that have developed around women’s looks and just treat people with respect.

  • invalid-0

    What a great article, thank you. I’ve always said that it’s the prettiest girls with the best bodies who suffer the most out in public…the street harassment alone is horrific enough to restrict their sense of freedom just about anywhere. Thanks for sharing your story, I hope we see more like it.

  • invalid-0

    I used to refer to my E-cup friend as “the one with the boobs” when attempting to physically describe her to people who’d seen her previously but didn’t know who I was referring to. I’ve made an effort to stop that, the more I learn about the trials and tribulations of big-boobed women. My friend is an amazing person, and there is no reason that I should be defining her based on a body part. Or if I have to, maybe I’d describe her as “the redhead with glasses.”

  • invalid-0

    When you stare at a woman’s breasts unrepentantly, and make them uncomfortable, even if you know it makes them uncomfortable, that is not a “nice” thing to do. You are not a “nice guy.” You don’t get to be a “nice guy” and do “not nice” things at the same time. All the genuinely “nice guys” I know also would never refer to themselves as such. It’s called modesty.
    My boyfriend, one of these genuinely nice guys, enjoys breasts, and he freely admits that when cleavage is present, his eyes are often drawn to it. This is because he is attracted to breasts. However, he makes a concerted effort to pull his eyes away, because he doesn’t feel that his appreciation of breasts
    (aka staring) should be held above another’s discomfort. Maybe you should look into this idea before calling yourself a “nice guy.”

  • invalid-0

    You may THINK you’re a nice guy, but after reading your comment, I can assure you, you are NOT.
    You think women were placed on the earth for your viewing (and sexual) pleasure.
    Apparently, your standards for women revolve around the size of their mammary glands. You obviously do not value intelligence, kindness, sense of humor or any other quality that make a human being (male or female) worth knowing. Your sole criteria is that she’s HAWT.
    I feel sorry for you and for any woman unfortunate enough to come within your viewing arc.
    You disgust me.

  • invalid-0

    Well-put, Rebecca_J. I think some of the defensiveness on the part of males commenting here is due to misreading the point of the article as “it’s wrong to like (large) breasts.” That not only is it wrong to stare, but even to have a desire to stare in the first place.

    I think it bears saying that simply liking these bits of a woman’s anatomy is perfectly fine and healthy. Liking them to the point of being an a**hole to the attached woman, whether by staring, harassing, groping, or otherwise failing to show basic human decency—not so good. After all, many women have enjoyed their mates licking and sucking and lavishing other such attentions on this area of the body… but their mates would hardly have been in a position to do so if said area of the body were all they cared about!

    (Alternately: Guys, be like Rebecca’s boyfriend, and you’ll be OK.)

  • invalid-0

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I identified with everything that you wrote about. I had very similar experiences, and it shaped who I am today. I’ve seriously contemplated having breast reduction surgery because of all the issues that go along with having large breasts. The only thing that’s stopping me, is the risk of losing functionality for both breastfeeding and sex.

    I worry whether my 6 month old daughter will inherit this breast size, and can’t imagine having her go through an adolescence as hard as mine was. Hopefully articles like yours will help people see things from our perspective.

  • invalid-0

    Not only is your post completely off topic, but your logic has enough fallacy in it that it could fill the entire Sears building if it were made manifest.

    It’s apparent that you know nothing, for throughout history in multiple times and places, women have dressed as men to fight in wars because they weren’t allowed to join as they were. There has been a concerted effort on the part of basic public education to portray ancient women as subservient and incapable of doing anything other than popping out babies and keeping house. Archaeology and a deeper study of ancient documents has proven this notion to be false. There are a ton of near east burials of females, buried with all the accouterments of a warrior, including bows, arrowheads swords and in a few cases even chariots. These women bear the scars of battles, with the bones showing wear and injury consistent with having been wounded in battle and of riding horses.

    Nadezhda Durova
    Women in the Civil War
    Women in Ancient Warfare

    Female Warrior Burials

    In the present day plenty of women have voluntarily joined the armed forces in the United States. They have fought, not only against our “enemies”, but have also had to fight, as it were, within said armed forces as there are allegations that they have had to endure terrible treatment at the hands of our oh-so “honorable” male soldiers. I use the word “honor” very loosely in this context. I’ve read of multiple instances of rape perpetrated not by our “enemies”, but by fellow soldiers. And our military has done little to stop it or punish those responsible. They have attempted to sweep it under the rug and merely treat it as bad PR.

    As an aside, what we can use in this world is less war, not more. Oh, and you can take your patriarchy and shove it. Thanks.

  • invalid-0

    A large number of my female friends have been raped o sexually harassed, and every one of them went through my mind while reading this. It took me a long time to actually get what it can be like to be a woman (I have a patient and persistent girlfriend). As far as I can tell, the attitudes described in this piece contribute a great deal to the high incidence of sexual harassment and rape in the world.

    Do I enjoy looking at women who I find attractive? Of course I do. I also enjoy it when women look at me like they think I’m attractive. I, however, don’t have to worry that they might follow me and rape me. I like looking but hey, self control is part of being human, so at the very least, I try to keep it brief and as non-threatening as possible.

    As a big, scary looking guy, I have my own bones to pick with society, but while my appearance is not my fault, it’s not anyone else’s fault that people who look like me can be dangerous. These aren’t problems that can be solved easily or soon, but they can be worked on. Part of men’s problem is that we just don’t realize that the world can be a scary place for other people. So teach us, and we’ll try to teach others.

    I’m not saying that all men will listen, I’ve heard my fair share of “they should get over it and move on”, but don’t give up. There are men out there who are willing to learn, and honestly, I don’t want to leave it to the mainstream media to tell people how to look at each other.

  • invalid-0

    It is not okay to star at adult women just because they are over the age of 18. It isn’t okay for a professor to stare at their student. It isn’t okay to stare at your co-worker while you are on the job.

  • invalid-0

    It seems to me you’ve been victim to some pretty sick people over your early life. I’ve dated girls with really large breasts and not made an ass of myself over the issue, I’ve known girls even since 6th grade who were too large to be true and seen just what you mean, the way they are treated, but actually, in my view it’s a gift perhaps that jealous or sick people just never appreciate. What can you do? Outside of home-tutoring or some good private tutoring, sadly it’s just something society makes some females have to put up with. Sounds like you have a handle on the situation though today. Best to you.

  • invalid-0

    As a male I love and am fascinated by breasts – large and small, but prefer larger ones. I am a nice guy, married, respects women and is faithful. Our maleness (testerone) is responsible for our fondness for breasts. We are not bad persons because we look at, think about and enjoy attractive breasts. Considering that breasts are so highly promoted in our society, it is puzzling why so many men and yes women act badly and say derogatory things about a womans’ breasts.
    Guess that’s why so many women have such a low breast self esteem. I would tell a woman with beautiful (large breasts) to enjoy her assets and take whatever advantages they offer her.
    If she is hetero, then find a male who will love her for herself and enjoy her breasts as a bonus.

  • invalid-0

    Your “maleness” and testosterone is not the reason you love breasts. You love breasts because our culture fetishizes them. This love/hate relationship is 100% cultural. In many cultures in the world breasts are not seen as something sexual at all (they may have other fetishes, though, such as earlobes and thighs) but as something necessary and utilitarian (since they feed the young).

    You seem like a nice person, Tony, and I don’t necessarily mean this to be directed toward you, but this concept that the attraction to breasts is hormonal and therefore uncontrollable is on the list of the many, many excuses for men behaving badly that translates to “Boys will be boys,” and “Men just can’t help it.”

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying how breasts look in general but we need to step away from this idea that breasts are there solely for the enjoyment of men.

  • harry834

    I think sexism and misogyny is wrong whether its cultural, biological, or both. I do feel that its a combination of both, though particular acts of sexism might be more or less cultural than others.

    And it doesn’t matter, because it’s just as wrong. Though I feel the dilemma. By "natural" we often mean "justified", even though natural is a morally neutral thing. Check out books Challenging Nature by Lee Silver and Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. Both authors give critical arguments against religious right folk, but they don’t have to use the "culture" argument to do it.

    And to Tony, you are right that a man’s enjoyment of breasts is OK. I feel the same. BUT, we should also know how to control our behaviors to conform to moral standards. Such moral standards include:

    "we need to step away from this idea that breasts are there solely for the enjoyment of men."

    I think the key thing is that men must learn self-control. I believe Tony and I have it, BUT sometimes even "nice guys" need to watch themselves. 

    I will agree with feminists who say that, more than we realize, it is the "nice guys" that lose control…than they tell themselves it wasn’t rape, and their friends don’t question them.

    I’m not saying that’s you Tony, but it may be another guy – maybe a close friend – who seems just as nice as we are.

    I think men need to learn self-control, and I do think that when rape happens, it’s the man’s fault, NOT at ALL the woman’s.

    I do believe we men can control ourselves BUT we need to stay aware, and I think reading feminist concerns can help us stay aware of where to stop ourselves. I’m not saying I agree with every feminist claim, but I believe feminist thinking in general gives men an insight to know where they need to restrain themselves.

    Stay nice Tony, and make sure you, me, and our buddles live up to that.

  • invalid-0

    I can definitely identify with the author. I’m sorry she/we went through that. Clearly, so many things went wrong for her.

    First, I’m happily married to a wonderful man and have a beautiful, sweet 5 year old son. That being said…

    Males are a few steps lower on the evolutionary scale than females. Period.

    When I announced we were expecting a boy, my mom told me with a smile and a twinkle in her eye, that I’d often wonder what is wrong with him. She was right. But yet I love that sweet, weird little guy. My husband and I often ask each other “Why is he doing that?”

    Being a boy is no excuse for bad behavior, ladies, we just have to keep working on them. As adult women, we have more control than we realize.

    Additionally, at age 40 something, I firmly believe all men have deviant thoughts in their brain. The more civilized men have learned to suppress deviancy–such as staring at breasts.

    Early sexual experiences shape us for life.

    Men need healthy expression of their sexual energy (I’m thinking more along the lines of masturbation and healthy dating versus holding a woman down to touch breasts) or they become pervs–case in point are Catholic priests. Being denied something makes you want it even more.

    Ask yourself why a large portion of heterosexual men are threatened by gay men? Ask why do hetero men, regardless of their own attractivenees, assume that all gay men want to “do them?”

    Media does send bad messages. But guess what, if we continue to consume media, we are fueling the machine. We as consumers vote with our dollars.

    As a parent, it is up to me to have a healthy relationship with my child to understand how they are doing. Additionally to protect my child from predators and ensure my children are taught early about their safety, sexuality and changes in their bodies. Where were the author’s parents in all this? Didn’t they notice that she was going through changes? Surely she was not the first in her family to go through this since breast size is based on genetics? Where was the adult guidance for her? Did they recognize she was so stressed she was losing weight and frequently upset?

    Our society is growing continually more shallow. Money and image have displaced loftier values. A good thing about our bad economy is that we are getting back to the basics. At Christmas, I was pleased to see magazine headlines offering “low-cost gifts to bring the family together and focus on people versus things.”

    The most honorable men I’ve met in my life are in the military (Army). Not all Soldiers are honorable men, but the ones I’ve met stand out above civilian men. When you have to face your own mortality, it makes you think about what is important in life. Growing up in a progressive city, I never envisioned marrying a Soldier, but I did and wish my young sister would find a nice young Soldier too. The military lifestyle is not great all the time, but there are many benefits and Soldiers get the best leadership training and life lessons out there!

  • invalid-0

    Samara: I feel badly that you had to endure such abuse, not only from boys/men and even your teachers (who as adults should have known better), but also from your fellow girls/women. I am surprised at the degree of harassment you received, but not that it still occurs. I am a yank male who has studied women’s body image over the past 2-3 years (especially society’s obsession with women’s breasts, and women’s and men’s attitudes towards them), and this is unfortunately a big problem for girls and women not only in the US and UK, but also in places such as Singapore and Australia. The media have a big role in perpetuating the hurtful stereotypes you mention, but societal attitudes, held by both men and women (toward women with big breasts and also those who have small breasts) are long overdue for change. Women need to feel more empowered and good about themselves (no matter what they look like), but men need to have much more respect and empathy toward girls and women on not only breasts but also on the other impossible physical standards that women are held to. You have a good writing style and bring up a lot of good points for both men and women to consider in how they judge someone on their appearance, instead of more appropriately on trying to learn what kind of person they are inside. I would like to dialogue with you on this, if you are willing.

  • invalid-0

    I just want to say thank you to the author for at getting her story out there. I’m 20 years old and currently havening a lot of self image issues. Like you I have D size breasts and size 0 waist. I know men find me attractive and I feel like as soon as I start feeling good about myself girls somehow find a way to make me feel ashamed of it. I find myself constantly being humiliated. It was so bad in Highschool that I would actually duck tape them down and wear my brothers baggy clothes. Last week in class the teacher was asking whose paper it was that had no name and some girl says “that slut that wears no clothes” in front of everyone. I was wearing a tank top and jeans in 80 degree weather. Is that so bad? girls call me slut all the time. To the point where I’m actually asking myself if i am or not.
    Thats what led me to google “women with large breast harassment stories” which brought me your story. I don’t have sex or go on dates, because girls already make my life hell. If i were to be the least bit flirty with a guy I would be considered even a bigger slut than i already am. None of my close friends can relate. I feel like I’m the only girl going through this and I wish i had someone else to talk to about it.

  • http://www.draemoon.com invalid-0

    As a personal trainer I know this factor about womens. They always are focusing on body shape, But I suggest for any women, control your mind. Then your figure size is come back to normal.

  • http://www.DietrichLasa.com invalid-0

    To which extent will I sacrifice my happiness for the sake of being right?
    Perhaps there is the assumption that by being right one gains in satisfaction. Perhaps we feel it is good for our self-image to be right, rather than wrong. However, isn’t it a beautiful feeling when we allow ourselves to be wrong? Why on earth do we make ourselves dependent on the idea that we have to be right? The most successful way to sort ourselves out needs a bit more courage than just taking revenge or upgrading our level of physical protection: We have to face ourselves more than the enemy ‘out there.’ The enemy out there is usually not as big and insistent as the internal enemy, the part of our mind that tells us so often that we have to be unhappy, and then it lists all the terrible things that were done to us victims. What a terrible world to live in, indeed, the world of our dark minds. The intellect will find innumerable reasons why we are not only entitled to unhappiness but even forced to live unhappily.
    This is our own intellect’s conclusion, our own assumption, our belief! How limiting this is! How about turning the content of our minds and hearts around without denying the past? How about allowing us to sense love and peace and forgiveness, in spite of it all! It is our choice. Peace is not blindness in the face of reality. Peace is the waking up to a more profound reality within ourselves that will become stronger and stronger if we give it our attention. Equipped with the power of peace, we’ll see a change in the way the environment treats us. Check it out for yourself before you try to dismiss this opportunity to wake up to your innate beauty, the beauty of recognizing your free and loving spirit.