Category Archives: breasts

[cranky] periods and porta potties, and bullshit at work, oh, and cleavage

A month ago, four hours from home, I arrive at this new work site, 6:45am, bleary-eyed and desperately clutching my nearly empty coffee cup. Turns out we were called in early just for the sake of being early and sorting paperwork, which really only took 20 minutes. By 7:45 my bladder is full of coffee and I have to ask where the restrooms are… only to find out that we had access to porta potties. Perhaps if I walked half a mile up the road to this fancy arena people would be there and let me in to use a real restroom. But that was perhaps. After tucking a just in case tampon into the shorts I’m wearing (which are really my new boyfriend’s extra pair of work shorts) I hand my helmet to one of my female coworkers and head to the row of porta potties. My hands have already touched the gross “community box” of hard hats, borrowed someone’s pen to sign paperwork, and had just touched the door of the porta potty. While trying to keep the bottoms of my shorts from touching the pool of water around my boots, I discover that I have indeed started my period. And I have no where to wash my hands before I use the tampon. Surely comical if anyone had been watching, I managed to keep the shorts out of the puddle and put in the tampon. About to walk out I remember, I still have no where to wash my hands. I clean my hands to the best of my ability with the one-ply, but have no choice but to walk out, grab my hard hat, and get ready to work.
dont dumb yourself down

It’s a male-dominated field and we’re in the south. Essentially, if you aren’t a badass feminist with a point to prove you won’t last more than a few months. As a general trend around here, the women have a larger skill set and a better work ethic. The men can get by as long as they’re very muscular or tall, or if they’re funny and love to kiss boss-ass. A large number of the guys will flat out tell you that they would rather have only guys working with them. More and more are getting smart enough to keep their mouths shut and just look down on you. As long as they don’t grope and don’t name call, they can’t be called out for being sexist, so they can’t get in any trouble.

If the work community doesn’t want women around, all they have to do is keep providing porta potties– no one wants to feel dehumanized, which is exactly how I felt using dirty hands to put in a tampon while making sure my shorts didn’t get wet. Maybe if cargo shorts were made for women and not nearly-exclusively for men I wouldn’t have had to worry about the bottom two inches of fabric getting pee on them. Maybe if there was just a jug of water nearby for hand washing I would have felt much cleaner.

Besides the panties and bra, my clothes were asexual. No, actually, that’s not true. Asexual would be fine. I was wearing men’s shorts, and men’s steel toed boots (what? women wear steel toes? never. hope they made a small enough men’s pair for you). I was wearing a t-shirt that I got after a show, which meant that others there had the same shirt too. And because of my big boobs, I can’t get away with a tank top or a cut-neck t-shirt to provide the twin heaters with some ventilation. The fastest way to be sent home is to have any sort of cleavage. (The fastest way to be sent home SHOULD be not wearing steel toes, or not wearing your hard hat.)

cleavage-12

Indecent and distracting, boobs are definitely evil and always dangerous for men. Before and after every show the lights are on. During the show, the lights are off. When the lights are off the men can stare at anything and anyone without being caught– they can watch dancers change backstage, they can watch singers strip down and redress with so few seconds that modesty has no time. We are all human, and the understanding is that no one is watching because no one cares, because we are all people, with variations on the same parts. But the problem is that some of these guys are watching. And their bosses know, and don’t care. Some of these guys are watching the private dance studio 14 year olds change clothes, they’re staring at the bouncing boobs of a 19 year old college dance major. But it’s dark, and no one can see where they stare. Until the lights come on, and then suddenly they’re in deep shit for staring at the tiny bit of a coworker’s cleavage. So in an effort to save the good old boys from any embarrassment, cleavage goes home immediately so that guys don’t have to be reprimanded.

 

[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.

[cranky] why is twiggy the ultimate (midwest) american beauty?

My midwest university is obsessed with the double zero, zero, and size 2. It seems as if the only way to be attractive to men and even other women is to be skin-and-bone skinny to the point where we might be afraid you’ll pass out at any moment. Entering campus freshman year as a solid size 8 (Marilyn’s size, right?) I already felt out of place, and too large to fit in.

Since when did men find it so appealing to fantasize and sleep with twiggy? Why are plump breasts and real hips going out of style faster than disposable water bottles? I feel like if I were a man I would be afraid to sleep with a woman as skinny as Nicole or Kirsten, I might accidentally break them in half. But I guess if you can watch a seemingly anorexic girl in a porno, then why can’t you have that in your own life, right?

And I bet that seemingly anorexic girl in the porno doesn’t have just a neatly trimmed bikini, she’s got it completely shaven bald. So she already looks like she has the body of a pre-pubescent middle schooler, but now she has the vagina to match. Secretly, unbeknownst to men, are they all carrying around pedophile tendencies if they’re only attracted to women with bodies of ten year old girls?

[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.