Monday, October 22, 2012

Breast Bullying

October is anti-bullying month and this is a subject close to my heart (my post back in February on Pink Shirt Day struck a chord with many of you). Many of my customers have experienced bullying over their breast size at some point during their life. You may think that this is mostly kids teasing each other during puberty (which of course is rife) however, breast bullying happens in many more places, most dangerously, and sadly, within the family.

Bullying is an invidious weapon that hurts the victim from within. The effects can be experienced for years and affect how you feel about yourself long into adulthood. I think we have an opportunity to change decades of ignorance and bullying so that future generations of girls can grow up without the weight of breast-shame to deal with.

Bullying within the Family
You may be surprised to know that this is the most common form of bullying my clients tell me about. Many are singled out for being the most busty sister or daughter and made to feel that they are somehow 'wrong' in their physique. Perhaps much of this taunting stems from jealousy or insecurity with their own shape (it's much easier to bring other people down than to raise them and yourself up).

Perpetual breast taunting and shaming establishes doubt about the validity of your body and makes young women question if they have done something wrong. This can lead to seeking validation about your body and worth for a long time. A supportive and enlightened family can save a busty teen from years of searching for self-esteem and body acceptance.

Ignoring developing breasts and covering daughters in layers of baggy clothing to hide their figures also contributes to a sense of breast-shame. This passive bullying is to try and force girls into a certain 'mold' that women ought to be. Breasts are still incorrectly linked to morality so many parents think that by making their daughters look as though they don't have breasts it will somehow 'save' them from moral peril. This simply doesn't work. You can teach body-confidence and morality at the same time.

Bullying from the Media
It's well disguised but there is no doubt that women are bullied into feeling they 'should' be something in order to be acceptable. We are bombarded with images and words that narrow the size, shape, colour, height and weight we should be. From the tiny selection of magazine covers below you can see the imbued guilt and shame woven into mass media.
"How Smart Women Lose Weight" because we all know that most of us are just too stupid to be thin. "Fight Flab & Win" because only losers are fat. "My Body After Baby" because let's face it, creating the miracle of life is nothing compared to looking great in a bikini.

Having a great internal compass that says "this is just one way that women can look, there are millions of other ways" allows us to see these women as beautiful but not the only valuable women in our world.

New strategies are coming into effect to stop the runaway train of media weight-dogma. The UK seems to be leading the way with groups like the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image who were part of the first Body Confidence Awards recognizing advertisers, authors, websites, individuals and organizations promoting confidence in children and adults. I don't think that governments ought to be left to determine confidence, but we certainly need some consequences for companies who blatantly prey on our insecurities to keep us in a fear-based-buying-cycle.

Internet Bullying
A couple of weeks ago our community here in Greater Vancouver was rocked by the suicide of a young girl after years of relentless bullying via the Internet, phone and in person. A tragic litany of events included a barrage of abuse about the girl's breasts. The complexities of digital communication, young women, breasts and society is a topic for a whole other blog, but this journalist's piece is thought-provoking. We need to start arming our young girls and adults with the education and language to understand their own bodies and to be supportive and accepting of other women's bodies before they start looking for validation and acceptance in a faceless place.

As you've probably figured out by now I think words are powerful and even though they can inflict such dreadful wounds they are also a busty girl's best defense and liberation to live happily and confidently in her beautiful body. By giving the women and girls in your life words of encouragement as well as arming them with the vocabulary to love their own bodies, we can change how future generations of women treat themselves and other women. xx

Self Confidence Sites

Body Confidence Sites

Anti-Bullying Sites


  1. My daughter wore big clothes mainly because of her breast size, thats the only tops that fit her. The choice was either the womens section with prints that she didn't like and too big for the rest of her torso or the boys section with prints she did like. I also saw others girls about her size shopping in the boys section as well.
    Busty Comics has a comic about that. The girl is telling her mother she wants to go to the teen section and her mom is telling her, the tops won't fit her.

    I know in alot of ways the junior section and even the little girls section has to change their mind set on preteen (9-12) and early teen clthing and undergarments. There are alot of little girls that go through puberty from 9- to 12 yrs old. There are alot of girls that go straight to a D cup and still growing in grade school, some jr high.

    Jenette Goldtein the actress(Jen's Bras- The Alphabet Starts At D), who owns a several undergarment stores in LA California- She said" We skipped the training bras and went straight to the major leagues."

    As for bullying,any bullying came mainly from other girls(catty, cruel behavior). Some boys though, have seen the girls body as an "open" invitation for sexual harassment.
    Both needs to stop.

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  3. It seems like this blog is dedicated to busty women.however I was surprised and a bit disappointed that the bullying of smaller busted women was not mentioned. coming from a family of full figured women with large breasts, I too have been bullied for my LACK of " real women curves". I am tall, curvy, and slim and wear a 32d which is NOT busty if it is your correct size. My experience is that overweight women like to bring up their "big" chest size and you lack of in order to feel like they have a one up on you. Women need to embrace there own bodies and not put other people down in order to feel better.

    1. Hi, this blog is entirely for D-K cup women (NB, busty does not necessary mean overweight) which is why the article focuses on this aspect. I'm saddened you use the word disappointed because we never put down another woman in order to raise the spirits and knowledge of busty women. The spirit of this article was exactly what you said 'don't put other women down to embrace your own body' so there's no need to be disappointed.

  4. As I'm sure you are aware of not all d cup women are busty. especially when wearing the correct size. big, small , perky or not so perky my point is that women should embrace what is theirs and not contribute to the same bullying that they loath by making fun of women with different bust sizes than themselves

  5. So what happens if your Mom bullies you? My Mom and I went to get measured at Nordstrom's and when the lady measured me, she said I was a 30I (american size). My Mom, to my horror, laughed and said, "That size doesn't exist and it certainly isn't hers!" The fitter tried to explain, which only led to my mother telling me "you must've gotten fat" and "that she wonders where I came from." She attempted to joke with the fitter about her "weird kid." I know I shouldn't be upset at her, but now I'm ridiculously embarrassed and I don't ever want to go shopping with her.
    What does one do about that then??

    1. Dear Laurie, I'm afraid your situation is all too common. A great deal of breast bullying happens within the family and it stems from a lack of knowledge. It is a very big thing to ask you but if you can you must try to ignore your Mom's reaction and begin a new cycle of breast and bra knowledge in your family so that should you have a daughter or a niece then she will never have to experience the shaming and barriers you have encountered. You have the power to make a difference to female confidence in your family. A 30I (or a 30GG in UK sizes as we use in our online store) is a very common and perfectly normal size that comes in an array of designs. You must persevere with your own breast health and bra choices and wear your correct size. It's perfectly rational to be upset with your Mom. The best thing to do is to lead by example and wear your best fitting bras and demonstrate how improved your support, confidence and sihouette is by wearing that size. If the opportunity presents itself you can tell you Mom that her reaction at the beginning of your bra journey was really hurtful but you understand that she didn't know better. If she would like help finding the kind of support and fit you have, you'll be happy to help. Best of luck to you Laurie and if we can help you in any way to get into your best bras we're VERY happy to help xx

    2. Hi Laurie! I'm really sorry to hear about that... I've had a lot of breast/weight/body bullying from my mother, so I understand. My solution has been to not talk about bras with her (she hasn't been willing to help me buy clothing since high school, anyway), but it's still really hurtful. If money is a concern (it's certainly one of mine), I can give you some suggestions for how to find cheap bras/extend their wearability. And if you'd like to talk, you're more than welcome to message me!

    3. This is the kind of understanding, kindness and help you can experience in the bra community. Thank you for reaching out QLyla xxx