You know today’s guest writer as Fairy Bra Mother #6, and today’s post is a perfect follow-on to yesterday’s links about cleavage and boob boundaries.Â If you can relate to Megan’s story (or even just empathize with it), we want to hear from you in the comments.
As a young girl, I wanted nothing more than to sing and dance, play dress up, do my hair, and revel in the warm glow of the spotlight. I loved being the center of attention â€“ and honestly, I thought it was pretty cool that my breasts started to fill in pretty early. I relished the opportunity to wear a training bra! In fact, once I started, I pretty much wore a bra every day â€“ regardless of whether I had much to hold up.
Fast forward a few years, and I make it to college â€“ and by now, I do have something to hold up. It became a point of contention with my mom, actually, who seemed mildly resentful of my more ample cuppage. I knew that there was no way I could be wearing the right size â€“ 34C-D (these days, a 28F/30E), but I made do. I didnâ€™t really like having my breasts being the center of attention, so I figured, no big deal if the bra fits right or not. Plus, going to a mostly-male engineering school meant that pretty much no matter the bra size, my breasts still set me apart from the crowd.
I took a job at a research facility on campus, and spent the entire 3 weeks before I started stressing out about what to wear. Since it was a research facility, and there was a considerable amount of manual labor involved, I figured that I could wear clothes that were neat â€“ but easily cleaned. Nice polo shirts, button downs, clean pants, whatever. Clearly, though, I underestimated the real issues that I would face, far beyond stain removal or durability: how do you dress to impress, but not flirtatiously suggest?
I wanted to be taken seriously, but still feel like a girl. I constantly had to prove that I wasnâ€™t just an equal opportunity hire â€“ I could really do as well as, if not better than, the boys at my position. The cracks about girls were horrifying â€“ that we didnâ€™t belong, that we were no good at anything mechanical, that we were only good for making the office â€œlook niceâ€. It all hurt, especially since I applied for the job because I thought that my skills would be a great fit â€“ I could already do much of what the job required, and have a proven record of being a quick learner. Unfortunately, it was made clear relatively quickly that, skills or not, I was just there for show.
I started out dressing way too nice compared to pretty much everyone else â€“ and tight polo shirts (actually, tight anything) just made me uncomfortable. I constantly felt watched. Iâ€™m sure that putting on a suit of armor would have made me feel better, but the thought of the chaffing horrifies me. Since I at this point was still not really wearing the right size bra, I ended up covering up as much as I could, and downplaying my â€œassetsâ€ with sports bras. I know that Iâ€™ve got nothing to be ashamed of now â€“ but as the new girl, trying to fit in, the stares were overwhelming.
If I could go back and do it again, or tell my younger self something, itâ€™s that I have nothing to hide or apologize for. I like the way I look â€“ and Iâ€™m proud of the fact that I can not only look fabulous in a skin-tight, curve-emphasizing dress, but I can also change my own oil, shoot trap, cook a gourmet meal, and most importantly, be a good, kind, intelligent person. I have to wonder if wearing the right size bra wouldâ€™ve really helped â€“ since I know now that I stand much taller when I wear a great bra. I only stayed at that job for about 8 months â€“ and I was so happy to leave. I traded getting dirty and being put down for a great gig in an office setting where looking good was something to be proud of.
While I doubt that the right size bra would have completely solved my problems with that particular job, I actually do think that it wouldâ€™ve helped me feel better enough about myself to not be so unhappy. The environment was such a boys club â€“ but Iâ€™m not a boy, and Iâ€™m proud of who I am. If I need a good bra to help me stand tall and muster up the confidence to be respected at work, then I think itâ€™s worth every penny. If this sounds like your job, all I can say is that youâ€™ve got to love yourself, and wear what makes you feel like a million bucks, because that confidence is everything in helping you deal with a difficult work environment. Get a professional fitting, and donâ€™t ever apologize for what youâ€™ve got, brains, boobs, and all.
I also work in a very male-dominated field so I can certainly relate! Thankfully, my bad experience have been minimal. However, that might at least be in part because for a LONG time there I just let myself go (didn’t bother much with clothes, make-up etc). Mostly I get treated as one of the guys, which has it’s good and bad aspects too.
I’m glad you were able to find a job that was a better fit, enjoy yourself there!
I’m an engineer too and I work with mostly men and have for several years and I have never had that kind of experience at work. Sorry to hear you went through that.
Jen and June, I’m relieved to read your comments–they restore my faith in boy-kind a little bit.
Thanks for your comments ladies! I’m really glad to hear that my experience seems to be an isolated one, and that it was likely a product of a bunch of really young guys forgetting that locker room type behaviors belong in the locker room, and not at work.