Wednesday, February 22, 2012
We Have to Stop Hating Our Boobs
One of my wonderful 'followers' included me in a thread about a blog post entitled, 'Stupid Boobs'. I read about boobs every day so it takes a lot for me to be taken aback. However, the author of the post, Alexandria, is living a daily hatred of her breasts and on top of that she's angry at them for making her vulnerable to breast cancer (a disease she doesn't have and hasn't had).
There is so much in this blog that makes me sad and the reason for my response is that we can change this today, right now. Alexandria's story is littered with the things most of us have experienced. Whilst girls get boobs boys are sustaining a 2 year-long erection which drains the blood from their head so all they can muster in the sight of something they don't understand (but crave with every fiber of their being) is stupid rhymes and point or giggle inanely. We can't change teenage boys. However, as women, we can change the way our daughters feel about their boobs.
The moment Alexandria's Mom lifted her shirt (uninvited) to look at the 'Problem' of her uneven breasts (btw, fewer women have even breasts than don't), the die was cast that boobs needed to be a certain shape/size/perkiness etc etc. The teenage boys and the long haired, blue-eyed girl (who was probably stuffing her bra because her mother said something equally undermining) are childish comments that you can put into perspective as you move into adulthood. But the comments of an adult, a mother or father, they will set you back years.
Boobs are bizarre when they show up and if they arrive as quickly as mine did (no bra to a 32C in 6 weeks) then you worry you have the plague. This is the crucial time that we need to make BOOBS BELONG TO THE OWNER NOT THE SPECTATORS. So many women I speak to have stories of other people making them feel bad about their boobs. They would all feel differently if they'd had one person saying, you are beautiful and blessed (to be healthy and developed for a start) and reassuring that no one in the world looks like you and that's what makes you so utterly unique. Feeling a sense of pride about our bodies (from the tender age of 11, 12, 13) rather than shame, is the strongest self-esteem building block you can create. Now I'm not suggesting that you can make teens with impenetrable force-fields. When the kid at the back of the bust makes a 'missile smuggling' joke, it's going to hurt, but that girl goes home and has a safe place to land, talk about it and reclaim her breasts.
I would love to ask Alexandria, what did you expect your boobs to be? What could they have done that would keep you from this 'Hatred'?
The fact that after successfully breast-feeding two children (a feat that many of my friends would have loved the chance to do) Alexandria still 'hates' her breasts is so sad. She states that it's the daily fear of breast cancer that leaves her detached and resentful of her breasts. This is going to sound blunt, but you'd be better off loathing your heart and brain because you're far more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. If that sounds ludicrous, good, it should. Fearing and loathing our body parts is not the answer. Nurturing them, looking after them and getting educated is the best thing you can do.
There are tonnes of things you can do to get educated and keep on top of your own breast-health. And indeed not settling with one answer if you feel you need to take it further is great. No one knows your body like you do. But is hating your boobs because they have the potential to become cancerous really the best defense or the message you want to give you daughter?
I really believe that we need to reclaim our bodies - they have belonged to the media, men and other people's opinions for so long we've forgotten to just chill-out and celebrate the life we have in the one unique body we have. Your body might not think that much of you, but you never hear it complain! I very much hope that Alexandria can find the peace and confidence to put her boob-hate behind her and be thankful to the 'lumps of flesh' that have done their best (despite enduring daily hatred from the one person they've been trying to impress). xx