But is 34F?

I was raised by a single mom- she worked 2+ jobs all my life to support my sisters and me. Without going into too much of an estrogen-fest, I will say this: We grew up in a house that she bought on her own unimpressive salary, in a town with great schools. We each attended some combination of dance/piano/art/singing lessons and played multiple sports. We rarely ate meals that weren’t home cooked. We were taught to be kind and honest and brave. We all did (or are still doing, in the case of the younger two) well in school. My mother is, in short, a powerhouse of a human being.

I mention her because I think it’s important to preface what I’m about to say with a bit about my core values. I grew up with very little male influence, and while I will be the first to admit a fatherless existence has its shortcomings, I will also be the first to celebrate the strength and beauty of women. I was raised to stand on my own two feet, to create my own destiny, to be whatever I wanted to be. I was taught that confidence and beauty come from within, to embrace imperfection.

For all of these reasons, I want to be against plastic surgery. I want to say that we have to fight back against the oppression of social and cultural ideals by owning our bodies, loving them the way they are, letting it all hang out! (Or not.) I want to burn my bra, and then I want to get naked and sing about it on Broadway!

Despite all that, I have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about a reduction. I have looked at hundreds of before and after pictures, read dozens of testimonials from women who have undergone the surgery. I have found doctors who claim they can perform a reduction which will not interfere with breastfeeding later on. I have spoken to someone my age who had one. I have called for a consultation.

This is how I feel: I will never wear a bra because it is the norm. I will never change my body for someone else.

I will wear a bra so that I can move around comfortably, work out, and live my life. I will know my options. And I will consider a reduction- not because I’m ashamed, not because I care about what other women think, or what men might think, or because I don’t love myself, but because I believe that strength and feminism mean more than just celebrating ourselves— they also mean power. The power to be whatever we want to be, and the power to choose. If I choose to get a reduction, it won’t be for anyone else. It will be for me.