Big Breast Compliments and “That Girl”

A comment on Corporette in the past week has lingered in my mind enough for me to want to share it with you. I haven’t been able to locate the actual comment again (did I imagine it? was it moderated out?), but it went something like this:

At a law school reception recently, one of my male classmates told me, “You have beautiful breasts.” I was mortified and told him that I didn’t think his comment was appropriate. He said, “But I thought you were proud of them, the way you’re always showing them off.” I’m so embarrassed. My tee shirts are tight because that’s all I can find to fit. I don’t want the men I work with to be thinking that I’m that kind of girl.

How would you react to a compliment like this? Since writing this blog,  I’m much less sensitive about my large breasts than I used to be. I’m on a forum where women compliment each others’ boobs all the time. I myself have observed so many breasts since beginning this blog that I have developed a sort of breast aesthetic, and if I know a woman well enough, or if she seems open to the subject, I will give her the exact same compliment as the male classmate.

However, if I had been on the receiving end of the compliment back in law school, I would have been just as mortified (which explains the baggy shirts I always wore).  I now comprehend how much men appreciate breasts, but even so, I’m not sure how I would respond to such a compliment today. I like to think that I would laugh and say, “Why thank you!”, but it’s just as possible that my face would freeze before I mumbled something unintelligible and walked away.

Who knows this man’s intentions? Perhaps he was engaging in a power play by purposely putting the woman off balance with his compliment. Perhaps he was suggesting something sexual. Or perhaps he simply appreciated her breasts and thought she should know how great he thought they were. Whatever his intentions, she could not control them or his actions. The only thing she–and we–can control is our own attitude towards our breasts and our response to the attention they receive.

As women with large breasts, I believe we face a constant challenge to view our breasts as valuable gifts and to act accordingly. This is more difficult when we feel that an observer has reduced us to sexual objects because of them, but the fact that someone else has this perception does not make it true. It is our own special test to refuse to adopt such a perception or to allow ourselves to be shamed by it.

The commenter, like each of us, has some work ahead of her. I felt that she was allowing herself to be victimized by other peoples’ perception of her large breasts when she wrote that she does not want to be thought of as “that kind of girl.” Big breasts under a tight tee shirt do not mean a woman is easy. Big breasts under a tight tee shirt plus a lot of other social cues may indicate this, but large breasts alone mean nothing. They are simply a physical feature.

Recently, I watched a fascinating martial arts demonstration. In each scenario, the demonstrator walked us through the steps he would take to counter an attacker and bring him under his control. At the very end, he made a surprising claim: “Once you have the power to protect yourself, you don’t need to fight anymore.” I think there’s a corollary for us: once we view our bodies with acceptance, we don’t need to run away in shame or to attack others. We have the power to set boundaries on inappropriate behavior without allowing it to define us.

 

Off The Rack ~ Ranting About Boobs in Comics

With the New York Comic Con a mere month away and Halloween a couple weeks after that, I’ve been working on my costume lately. I wanted it to be equal parts geeky for the Con and recognizable for Halloween. I eventually settled on Cheetara from the ’80s cartoon show Thundercats.

Cheetara’s costume in the old show was pretty tame, especially compared to the male characters. She’s fully covered by clothing except for one arm, has reasonably small breasts, and no visible cleavage. The males, meanwhile, wear little more than briefs and big muscles. The new Thundercats TV show (currently airing on Cartoon Network), however, has the male characters all wearing pants and serious armor while Cheetara is stuck in shorts and a “shirt” that’s basically a glorified sports bra. She’s also sporting way too much cleavage for a kids’ show, her boobs appear to have grown about two cup sizes from the original show, she barely speaks, and she’s a love interest for the protagonist even though she was not characterized as such in the original show. Way to dumb down and sex up what used to be a great, strong character! But sadly, it’s par for the course.

I’ve been a consumer of comics and anime (Japanese animation) since I was a kid. I’ve worn the monikers “geek” and “nerd” proudly since I was a teen. But there’s one part of nerd culture that has driven me crazy for as long as I can remember: Female characters are almost universally portrayed as sex objects for men to enjoy—even the supposedly “strong” characters. It makes me seethe with rage to see female superheroes fighting crime in thongs and thigh-high boots. Or a catsuit unzipped to the navel. Corset and miniskirt. Stiletto high heels… well, you get the idea.

But the one little aspect that I’ve zoomed in on the most, and that drives me bonkers, not only as someone with an art background but also as a naturally well-endowed woman, is the way boobs are drawn. Boobs in the vast majority of American (mainstream) comics and an excessive amount of anime and manga (Japanese comics) are drawn just plain incorrectly. Here are the most frequent misconceptions: [Read more…]

The Rack– "I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way."

The inspiration for today’s installment of The Rack comes from the 1988 Warner Bros. film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.


© 1988 Warner Bros.

Breasts certainly attract attention–attention which gets me a lot of free drinks when I’m out at a bar. Every time my sexy vixen bar persona makes some guy stumble over his words, the awkward, brace-faced four-eyes inside me sticks her tongue out at all the boys who ignored me in middle school. It’s a great confidence booster that lots of guys think I’m hot, and I’m certainly not complaining about that . . .

BUT

Nothing in life is free. For every desirable guy that hits on me, there are fifteen thousand catcalls in the street. There are creeps watching me run on the treadmill at the gym. Worst of all, there are assumptions. I chose at a young age to embrace my breast size–to dress “normally” rather than try to constantly cover up and “blend in”–to be myself. In a society of fetishized breasts, however, “not hiding” and “displaying” are one and the same. They are perceived as overtly sexual, inviting attention and commentary, and somehow suggesting more “experience” than other women.

Choosing not to cover them up is choosing to fight against the rampant media stereotypes propagated by well known big-breasted women. If you’re at a loss for examples of big breasts in the media, flip to the E! Network and find the Girls Next Door, playboy models who live in Hugh Hefner’s mansion in scantily clad, polyamorous bliss, or AMC’s Mad Men, a 60’s throwback in which the voluptuous Christina Hendricks plays a savvy secretary who, at 35, ends her affair with the boss to marry the first dope that comes along before she hits official old-maid status. There is nothing original about my arguments about the objectification of women on television and in society, but this: the bigger the breasts, the bigger the problem. If I had a dollar for every time a guy has assumed I’m some kind of nymphomaniac based on looks alone . . . I’d have a lot of dollars.

There is something inherently taboo about big breasts, about daring to have cleavage, about “showing off” one’s body. It violates the puritanical ideals our country was built upon. As my grandfather would say, it isn’t “modest.” And what isn’t modest isn’t corporate. It isn’t professional. It isn’t serious. Raise your hand if you think that’s bullsh*t!!!