Category Archives: boobs

[feminist] confession, why I started CFF

Question: Why are you so passionate about women’s rights, sexual victim’s rights, and reproductive rights? You’ve never been raped or assaulted, you’ve never had an abortion, you’ve never been abused.

I have three best girlfriends from grade school. Among the three there have been (pre-marriage) two abortions, and two miscarriages. Today, two are married, one has four children and the other has two cutie pies. Both, after marriage, have had a miscarriage of a much-wanted child. The third is now happily single. I was the secret-keeper, the advice-giver, the voice and body of control and compassion. I’ve waited impatiently for pregnancy test results to show up in the tiny ambiguous window, I’ve seen how heart-wrenching the choice to have an abortion can be, I’ve seen how painful, sad, and confusing a miscarriage is.

My little sister was fourteen (I was nearly seventeen) when she was suddenly delivered home one Sunday afternoon by her then-best friend and her mother– they pulled up in front of our house after calling to say she was sick, they opened the sliding side door of the mini-van, and my father and I pulled out a limp, wet, stinking child in a bikini. My father and I carried her up the stairs into the front yard as my mother called doctors to see why she was foaming at the mouth. I held my sister as she half-consciously rested against a tree, making sure she vomited to the side and not on herself, as my father went back down to the van to find out what had happened. The only answer they could give was that the bff and my sister had been at a guy’s house, my sister had been drinking, and all of a sudden when they left she began puking. We live in a corner house, so we moved my sister around to the backyard, trying not to be seen as her breasts hung out of the bikini and she slipped in and out of consciousness. Eventually we laid her in a reclining pool chair that we had found a few weeks before on the side of the road, and hosed her down. She rambled on and on incoherently while smelling like a distillery.

Sometimes its really hard for me to forgive her stupidity, her choice of friends, her bad decisions. But she never in a million years deserved to have her drink spiked, her best friend turn her back on her, and to be drug up a flight of stairs and locked in a boy’s bedroom while she was in and out of consciousness, and then to be slid back down the stairs and drug down the street to another house where my parents were called. What a sick power play, that this same boy has done many times over in our city since then– his family has a great lawyer, and he has never even been brought into the courthouse for questioning, much less prosecution.

The evening after, my parents sat my sister down in the living room for a talk, and I was sent into the backyard. A bit later one of them came out and announced they were going to the ER and I couldn’t come. They were gone about six hours, during which my sister had an incredibly painful and invasive rape kit that was never analyzed. She was questioned by several police officers who talked down to her. The doctors said that she definitely had something fucked up in her drink (how else could you foam at the mouth like a rabid dog?), but that it had already left her system and there was nothing they could do.

 

 

 

 

 

Since there was no stray hair, no sperm, no sexual evidence, there was no “proof” that she had been raped.

Since we didn’t realize she had been raped when she arrived home that afternoon, and she was incapable of telling us, we didn’t get her tested for drugs in time for there to be “proof” of that either.

When my father was five his father died of a heart attack. His older brother began sexually abusing him as a form of power… by the age of ten my father was able to fight back, and he turned on their little sister. When my sister was raped, my father nearly lost his mind.

Who gets to dictate what is rape, who gets to dictate when and why women have abortions? Why is this a political topic of discussion? These are lifelong traumas, lifelong decisions– these are personal traumas, personal decisions. I chose to run away from the south to go to school in the mid-west. But you can’t run away from your past. So I am fighting for my future– to keep my personal decisions, my personal traumas, personal. So that it can be my decision to press charges, my decision to have an abortion, and not someone else’s. You should be able to make your own choices, and include whomever you want in those decisions. No one should be forced into including politicians or bullshit laws into their personal decisions. Ever.

[feminist] breastfeeding in public: it’s normal

 

 

Lately on facebook we’ve been talking a lot about breastfeeding in public. Many people in American society find it to be “disgusting” “gross” “nudity” or “insensitive”–


Kim: Not going to lie, even as a female I seriously don’t want to see anyone nursing. Can’t they just put in a nice little room in the malls, with some carpet and a few sofas for moms?

Yvette: One of the biggest complainers about women publicly feeding a child are young women who have never chosen to breast feed or don’t have children. What kind of society do we have when we teach young women to hate one of their own natural abilities? Only in America.


Dana: Yes, nursing is natural. You need to be tasteful though. I wouldn’t want my ten year old son gawking at it. 


Wendy: Honestly, I don’t want to see either one in front of my face when I am trying to eat. I’m sorry, but as a non-child bearing woman with absolutely NO DESIRE to have children, I am tired of self righteous mother throwing their breasts in my face everywhere I turn.

These were just a few of the many comments on the images above, but what I’m wondering is how our society got to this point. Why did boobs become so sexualized in America that women can’t feed their children in public without risk of being harassed, chastised, or even told to go feed their child in the bathroom. It’s not just men saying no to public breastfeeding, it’s also a lot of women.

African
Arab, 1925
East Indian, 1950
painting by Mary Cassatt
Moroccan, 1909

Why do you think American women’s breasts are so sexualized? When did this happen? Why do you think we have become a society in which this is even a topic of debate, instead of a socially accepted norm for all people? 

[feminist] Miss Representation Film

I just got back from watching “Miss Representation” which was absolutely incredible. Sometimes it takes being slapped in the face before we realize what we’re absorbing into our minds, both consciously and subconsciously. I’ve attached the Trailer.

“Miss Representation brings together some of America’s most influential women in politics, news and entertainment, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem to give audiences an inside look at the media’s message and depiction of women. The film explores women’s under-representation in positions of power by challenging their limited and often disparaging portrayals in the media. Miss Representation takes the stand that the media is portraying women’s primary values as their youth, beauty and sexuality – rather than their capacity as leaders.”

When was the last time you watched a movie where the star was a woman?
And she wasn’t hunting down a man to marry?
Or Laura Croft, taking charge of the world as a badass go-get-um woman wearing not enough clothes?
You’re not sure, are you?

Watch the commercials during the next TV show you have on. What are women wearing? How are they acting? What are men wearing? Why are the vast majority of women on our televisions sexualized? Even if you’re monitoring what your kids watch on TV, how can you escape commercials? And what subconscious messages are your kids receiving through the shows they watch– are men smarter? funnier? more attractive? make more money?

Can you think of a show on TV where the woman is smarter, funnier, more attractive, or makes more money? AND, they aren’t stereotyping her or making fun of her in some other way?

Open a magazine, and how many ads are there featuring stick-skinny women who are un-godly beautiful? These ads don’t come with a disclaimer “after five hours of makeup and hair, we did some professional photo-shopping!” We’re telling girls and women that they should be this pretty and this anorexicly skinny. We’re also telling men that this is what they should look for in women. Don’t forget, the anorexic girl has great boobs, thanks to photo-shop, of course.

And lets think back to the 2008 election. Compare Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton– the obsession with her clothes, size, and appearance far outweighed what she said. Sarah Palin is a raving lunatic. But many people were so obsessed with her appearance as well that they couldn’t get to the part where she opened her mouth and said dumb things. Our culture is obsessed with a woman’s image and appearance to the point where she can only be taken as an object and not even considered as an equal person with men.

How could we ever elect a female president when we can’t look beyond her makeup and clothes? How can we elect women into positions of power on any level? We must learn to look beyond appearances and appreciate women for their intelligence and inner beauty or we will never be taken seriously by anyone in our lives. If we can’t look beyond what the media has helped put into our heads, politics will remain a realm dominated by old white men, and the hard work of the previous feminist generations will regress. Personally, I’d like to have Title IX stick around, equal pay for equal work, no regression on maternity leave policies, and the right to make decisions about my uterus that aren’t controlled by the government.

Watch the trailer, watch the film, reassess your life priorities and what makes you attractive, and tell your family and friends. The women of America cannot regress, we must move forward, and we cannot let others dictate what is important to us. Toddlers and Tiaras, Jersey Shore, go to hell.

[feminist] mass produced bras and my breast reduction surgery

In response to:
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. “Breast Buds and the ‘Training’ Bra.” 1977. Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 4th edition. 249-254.
Before reading this I had no idea that the first bra was created in 1913, “designed simply to flatten,” and that the more current/modern bra came about in the 1930’s (Brumberg 250). The concept of the bra is so new yet so universal now. Mass production and mass media are so influential in society, and the bra is a prime example. With mass production came sizing—A, B, C, D, the infamous DD, and the realm of un-tamed breasts even larger. (As a person who once wore the “more than a DD,” I know firsthand the impossibility of buying a bra in a department store that will be the correct size.) I was still in middle school when I made the transition to “larger than my mother” and up to DD, and had to face the realization that I wasn’t just larger than normal, larger than my peers, but I was freakishly, abnormally larger than society as a whole. For years I wore two minimizer bras at a time in an effort to “tame” my breasts even more, as they continued to grow. I was known as “jugs” for years in high school before I had breast reduction surgery, after which I spent my final year in baggy shirts so that no one would I know that I had “gotten my tits cut off.”  (which to this day people perceive as a “tragedy” despite the fact that it was practically a medical necessity)
The physical pain I had from wearing underwire bras aimed at “taming” my breasts has always led me to wonder why anyone would wear a AAA or AA (or even an A) bra when to me they so obviously don’t need one. But with stores and brands like Victoria’s Secret a AAA girl can wear a bra that makes her look like she has real B-size breasts. (I’ve always wondered how disappointed the boyfriend is once the bra comes off?) 

The concept of “teenage breast management” developed in the 1950’s by male doctors (I would also like to call them pedophiles) is absolutely sick and totally bullshit (Brumberg 251). The medical world has been cutting people open and examining them for hundreds of years, and obviously know that breasts are held up by more than skin, and are going to sag no matter how great your bra is, and how often you wear it. These doctors were either funded by the bra-industry or had lots of sons looking for perky-breasted women to marry. And the “boob check” sounds horrifying. No one’s breasts are perfectly symmetrical , proportional, with mirror-image nipples. No one should chart your “breast development” to promote the idea that you need huge boobs to breast feed the children you make with your perfect husband. (Were they doing “penis development checkups”? NOPE. I’d personally be a bit more concerned with whether or not my son was becoming a man than if my daughter had the perfectly-growing boobs to go with her period.)
Junior figure control? (Brumberg 251) Great, if you want to wear spanx at the age of 40, I’m all for it. If you want your 14 year old daughter to wear some spanx to make her look slimmer, you’ve clearly not questioned your daughter’s pediatrician properly. Through the mass-marketing of spanx (and knock off spanx) I’ve managed to buy a few pairs myself in my efforts to look slimmer and “fit in” better. (PS- fail.)Through the media and my own lovely mother I managed to spend middle and high school larger than most of my peers and desperate to find solutions to fit in to the stereotypical  image of the ideal high schooler. In the 1950’s junior figure control companies provided “free purse-size booklets on calorie counting”—way to go making the world feel fat by the age of twelve (253). 
In the back of magazines there are always sketchy ads for dating sites, making your long hair more beautiful (you know, the white girl hair that you can flip), and making your tiny boobs bigger. There were never any creams or exercising for making your breasts smaller. The song “I must, I must, I must develop my bust” (Brumberg 253) I learned in 5th grade, as the song “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” Way to make the mosquito-bite girls feel like crap about themselves. 
I did not wear a B bra until after my surgery—my mother refused to let me wear more than a tank top until I was clearly, desperately in need of something more to cover my breasts in order to fit in at school… she waited until I was a full C. This was how she grew up (a conservative Southern Baptist). This also meant that I was not allowed to have colored, polka dotted, or lacy bras. Not that they made those in 36DD, 36DDD, 38DDD, 38-“hm. Big…” The very first bra that I bought for myself was light blue with a tiny peephole between my breasts. It cost me $20, and had no underwire and held my breasts perfectly. It didn’t cost me $50, squish me until I couldn’t breathe, and come in an ugly nude grandma style. (I know, I’m perpetuating age-ism, but that’s the only way I can put it…) FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE AGE OF NINE I FELT LIKE I FIT IN; I WORE A BRA THAT DIDN’T RESTRICT MY BREATHING; AND I WORE A BRA THAT I FELT BEAUTIFUL IN.