Insecurity Knows No Cup Size

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Illustration for article titled Insecurity Knows No Cup Size

In a society that objectifies women, women learn that, to many others, they are their bodies. In particular, they're often judged by their breasts, which is problematic no matter what size they are.

Because our bodies are the means by which others judge us, we place our bodies under deep and critical scrutiny. In such a world, all bodies are always potentially problematic. Women are too much of this or not enough of that. Even when women like their bodies overall, there is always some part that some person would judge unacceptable. And, in any case, our bodies will inevitably (continue to) disappoint us if we lose the ability to invest time and money on them or, of course, dare to age.

Two postcards recently presented at Post Secret illustrate this idea. In one a woman expresses her discomfort with her small breasts:

Illustration for article titled Insecurity Knows No Cup Size
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In the other, a woman explains that her breasts make her feel insecure:

Illustration for article titled Insecurity Knows No Cup Size

Large breasts are desirable? Right? At least that's what the first woman believes. But large breasts can also be intimidating. Carrying around large breasts can bring attention one doesn't want ("hey baby") and judgments that are unfair ("she is flaunting her body"). Small breasts, however, may be de-sexualizing or, conversely, they may attract the attention of men who like to pretend that the women they sleep with are girls.

No matter what size and shape a woman's breasts, the focus on her body that an objectifying culture makes others feel entitled to make them meaningful in ways that women can't control. And that will be a problem for all women sometimes, no matter what her body looks like.

Title inspired by Susan Bordo's Unbearable Weight.

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This post originally appeared at Sociological Images.

Illustration for article titled Insecurity Knows No Cup Size
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Republished with permission.

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I'm cool with my unreasonably large breasts. They balance out my ass. People who try to surreptitiously gawk at my chest get a matter-of-fact, "They're called breasts." Or, "Yeah, I know, they're kind of there." Acknowledge and move on. Just about anyone who's known me for more than five minutes gets that, yes, I know I have a couple of protrusions the size of small watermelons; I'm comfortable with them; and that there's really nothing to discuss about them.

Then there's my brother's wife. Here is her suggestion: Since my mother is a breast cancer survivor, this means I'm at a greater risk. (Um... not really.) So what I should do is have a pre-emptive double mastectomy and get perky little implants so I can walk around braless like she does.

The first time she suggested this, I politely said that that wouldn't be necessary; and, anyway, I'm pretty attached to them.

The second time she suggested this, I sweetly asked her when she was going to be having major surgery for no medical reason.

The third time, I forbade her from ever again mentioning my breasts.