A few days ago I was out shopping with a friend, and we ended up in a well-known lingerie store. Now, I am not (ahem) endowed, so I generally just stick with sports bras, and frankly, I like my own figure just fine. But I was quite struck by the rather heavy padding I found in every single line of bras in the store, save one. It is as if the manufacturers are screaming, “You gotta have titties! Hooters! Jugs!” Practically every bra was “push-up” or so padded as to add at least one cup size, maybe two. No wonder I can’t find a decent, fitted bra in a modest size. I apparently don’t even qualify for a “real” bra.
This was not always the case. About 25 years ago, I could actually find normal, feminine, fairly plain bras in a small cup size that fit me just fine. Not anymore. I actually made the mistake, a year or so ago, of looking in the juniors’ lingerie department for a smaller sized bra. A stroke of genius, I thought, and why didn’t I think of this before? Oh, the horror; I wish I had not thought of it at all, because the junior-sized bras were indeed smaller, but even… how to put this… no, there is no polite way… they were even sluttier than the bras in the adult section. And they were padded, to boot, because apparently we must be taught two key things at a young age: first, never be satisfied with your natural bustline. It must be bigger, rounder, more protuberant, perkier. Second, you are a female, and therefore, you are all about sex, so for your first bra, we have designed the come-hither Slutty Schoolgirl Bra with strategically placed lace and garish bordello colors meant to impress a young man’s nether regions. Whatever happened to the normal, small-cup-sized, white or beige, plain, non-padded bra which was not meant to be publicly displayed? It seems to be an endangered species!
And what’s worse, women are apparently buying into this whole boob-identity culture. Witness the spike in boob jobs in recent years. They are no longer limited to the entertainment industry or the super-wealthy trophy wife; they are no longer discreetly obtained, with plausible deniability. Now they are so common, we even see parents buying boob jobs as graduation gifts for their teen daughters. When ABC’s John Stossel delved into the why behind these decisions, it was all about confidence, happiness, feeling good about oneself. But that does not answer why it takes big boobs for these girls to feel confident, happy, and good about themselves. Aren’t those feelings supposed to come from within? Who is telling girls they are unworthy unless they have a D-cup? And why don’t they derive sufficient self-esteem from real accomplishments, like good grades, sports excellence, hobbies or part-time jobs?
I think the answer lies in our society’s increasing sexualization, largely through marketing, of women and girls. Young girls. Consider that Primark in 2010, and Abercrombie and Fitch last year, caused outrage with their padded bikini tops for seven-year-olds. Thank God there is still some shred of outrage to be had, but everything from Bratz dolls, to Toddlers and Tiaras, to hip-hop video “hos,” to the clothing marketed to females, communicates a message that their value lies in looking sexy, putting out, and keeping men happy. You are not a doer of great deeds, you are arm candy for some man. You are not valued for your thoughts, you are valued for your ability to gyrate while scantily clad. No wonder little girls rush to look 20 years old, and then women spend much of their adult lives trying to maintain that 20-year-old, youthful look: they think they have no value otherwise.
Well, screw that! My physique is apparently completely unsatisfactory by today’s standards, except to the person whose opinion matters most: me. I like my little boobs, dammit, and I like being a real, multidimensional person, not a sex object (I have a very rude term for sex objects, but I will refrain from inflicting it on you). I do not care what anyone thinks of my figure. I do not care who finds me sexy, or not. I am the one in control. My happiness and self-actualization depend on my satisfaction with my own character. Rest assured, if someone judges me by my bustline, I judge them in return, and find them wanting.