Boob-Splaining: Telling women how they should act/feel/understand or deal with their own boobs.
Boob-Shaming: Making a woman feel like her breasts, are unacceptable in some way or that she's accentuating them improperly.
Welcome to 2 of the biggest pet-peeves in my life. The abundance of shaming and 'splaining women's boobs.
Women have enough going on without having to deal with body judgement from others. We’re still pushing for equal rights (re: feminism) and the ability to be believed on issues of sexual harassment (re: #metoo.) Huge issues that affect all women.
So it’s wildly annoying that we haven’t moved past this whole body-shaming thing.
I’ve been boob-shamed and boob-splained for my entire life and it’s still happening to this day. You would think that with all that's going on in the world, people wouldn't have the headspace to be so concerned about women's bodies.
I'm sure that body-shaming for me started much sooner in life, as it does for most of us, but I remember the boob-shaming particularly when I was in my teens.
Soccer was my favorite sport to play and I still love it to this day. After my breasts developed late in high school though it became a bit of a situation.
At the time, there really weren’t options for bigger-busted women, much less bigger-busted, smaller-waited ladies when it came to sports bras.
So I wore 3 stretchy sports bras to games. One over another, over another.
And I remember other girls suddenly developing a bit of envy that I had that much “material” to work with. When you’re young, you always want what you don’t have.
That want can manifest itself into jealousy and body-shaming.
Sarcastic comments like “Ooooh yea. That must totally suck for you having to wear 3 sports bras.” or plain mean comments like “Why don’t you tape those down more so you can run faster?”
And I would hear it from the parents too. Talking about other girls on opposing teams who had filled out in their teens saying things like “She CANNOT be only 16” and “That’s why she can’t run fast, she’s lugging those around!”
Those kinds of comments have an affect on still-developing self-confidences.
They certainly did on me.
My mother wasn’t a naturally busty woman and couldn’t really provide much guidance to me on how to navigate support garments well as she had never had a big need for them.
So I did what many women still do today. I just contained them as tightly as possible so I could at least run around without a ton of pain.
But the seeds of body-shame were planted already.
They lingered into my mid-twenties and professional life.
I was hyper-aware of what I wore to work. Tighter tops were off-limits and I ended up just going for cardigans and blousy tanks.
It was hard to look “put-together” and polished instead of looking like I was wearing a potato sack.
I managed it more or less, always afraid that my body had to be minimized so that people would take me more seriously.
I’m all for owning the assets that you’ve been born with, but in professional environments, I had found early on that it was much easier to be heard if my breasts were not the first thing that you noticed about me.
There were quite a few occasions outside of work where I was interacting with friends and colleagues where my breasts were mentioned inappropriately over cocktails. I prefer not to discuss my experiences with #metoo but let’s just say that I was made to feel objectified more times than I prefer to recall.
Once I got professionally sized however, life became a bit better.
I finally found real bras that fit me in the cup AND the band. My posture got a bit crisper, my shape got a bit more evened out and I was more confident in clothing not having to worry about having the 4-boob cup-spilleth-over look in tops.
But the boob-shaming never really went away.
I was super uncomfortable in summer clothing, which is much less fabric and where cardigans are not really doable.
In social situations, my breasts would be more apparent and the comments I would get from males and females alike were brutal.
Friends of my boyfriend felt that they could “compliment” my shape and ogle my chest whenever they wanted. He thought it was all so very flattering. To him.
Alas, that relationship was never going the distance.
Females of all persuasions felt like my chest was a fair topic of “friendly envy” convos and when I wouldn’t agree that huge boobs were always a blessing from God, they’d boob-splain me and say “So get a reduction if you don’t like them.”
Through all of these insidious comments I finally developed a little wisdom when it comes to commenting on people’s bodies.
Don’t. Just stop.
There is literally no need to share your opinion on how they should be dealing with their own bodies. Even more so if you have a different kind of body then them.
That means that men need to STFU and stop “complimenting” women on their chests.
I did absolutely nothing to grow these boobs. I deserve no shame nor do I want any sort of credit.
These globules of tissue naturally came with the package that is me. Your compliments are actually thinly veiled sexual harassment that I quite frankly have had enough of to last a lifetime.
Send a thank you note to my gene pool and then get going back to the hole you came from please and thank you.
For women. Just take a second and think about all of the body-confidence issues that you personally have first. Then think before you speak at another woman and throw out “envy compliments” to your big-busted friends.
I speak for all big-busted women when I say that we are tired of hearing how you want something that you do not have.
Oh you’d kill to have big boobs like mine? Then stop wishing and go get augmentation. I’m not going to judge. You do whatever makes your life better. More power to you.
But let’s all agree to stop it when it comes to boobs.
I would never comment on how a smaller-busted woman should handle her breasts. I’ve seen other women say “Why are YOU complaining? You don’t even need to wear a bra!” and it makes my blood boil. Who are you to tell another woman what she should and shouldn’t be wearing? Do you like it when others have done the same to you?
“To each their own” is a pretty easy statement to get behind because its only requirement is to be hands off and accepting.
It does require however, an understanding and empathy to make it work.
I do not comment or tell other women what to do with their bodies because I do not have their bodies.
I do not live their lives or know their experiences. But I do not have to share their body-types to have empathy for our shared experiences as females and our differing opinions.
A better bet is to share our experiences without prejudice so that maybe other like-bodied or like-minded women can relate and feel a little less alone.
So let’s share and educate and collectively agree that no pair of boobs is alike and leave the rest of our energy to lift them, and each other, up.
No boob-splaining allowed. No boob-shaming allowed. You have been put on notice.