Friday, January 25, 2013

My Boobs Have Nothing to Do with You

According to twitter, clearly the world’s authority on everything ever, today is Cleavage Appreciation Day. Obviously some women have gotten really into it, tweeting shots of their cleavage (or even just their bra-clad boobs), with the hashtag #CleavageAppreciationDay. Other women are pretty against it, and they’re calling out basically all women who show cleavage ever as 1) lacking self-respect 2) being desperate for attention and/or 3) acting slutty. Some men are all “Woo, boobs!” and some men are all, “How darest these harlots cause me to have sinful thoughts?”

This is a pretty clear example of a larger debate in American society. Hell, to an extent, it’s an example of a lifelong issue within Christianity. Women are either the Virgin or the Whore, and we are criticized heavily regardless of our choice.

But I’ve already discussed the prude/slut dichotomy. This post is about boobs, a companion piece of sorts to my previous rant on boob-shaming. If I write this correctly, I will somehow tie together my problem with the Church’s view on modesty, my support of female sexuality, rape culture, and body autonomy. All with pictures of my cleavage and pissed off indignation that some people have the audacity to think they know anything about me based on my aforementioned cleavage. 

Age 19, Delta Nu* Initiation Banquet. An outfit heavily criticized for showing "too much" cleavage.

I am not the first person to criticize “Modest is Hottest” and how the Church objectifies women under the guise of keeping men from sinful temptation. Nor will I be the last. Other people have said everything I feel already, with more eloquence. So for now, I’m just going to summarize my personal experiences and feelings on it.

The first time I ever really felt like an object… The first time I ever felt like my body was more important than my personality… The first second time I ever felt ashamed of my breasts… The first time I ever felt like maybe sin was completely impossible to stop…

Was when I hit puberty later than most teenage girls, and developed large breasts that kept growing & growing…

And some “well-meaning” individuals… Some hypocritical individuals… My controlling twin brother…

All thought it was their place to criticize my dress for its lack of modesty and to point out how distracting my newly-large breasts were to teenage boys.

Just for the record, my personal style didn’t change all that much from when I was 14 to when I was 18. I started wearing ribbed tank tops when I was 15, a staple I still wear all summer long. I wore the same kinds of clothes with an A-cup as I did with a B-cup, and a C-cup, and a D-cup, and later on, a DD-cup, just in bigger sizes. My activities didn’t change—I still danced, and starred in community theatre, and outperformed most of my classmates academically, and attended church every week, and refused to drink or smoke, and read books all the time, and crushed on the same guy I’d liked since the 8th grade.

I don’t know which teenage boys “stumbled in their walk” because I developed large breasts, but I can assure you, I received the same lack of attention from guys that I had always received. I continued to be everyone’s friend and no one’s romantic interest.

But thanks to all these so-called Christians, I felt objectified. Guess what. I felt that way because they were objectifying me.

But hey, at least the Church has its reasons for controlling anything sexual. The Church believes that premarital sex is a sin (I don’t), and obviously, many Christians are thus going to advocate against all things sexy.

What I don’t understand are the men and women who are happily engaging in premarital sexual activity but lambasting women as sluts. 

Age 21, at a bar during spring break. I had kissed a grand total of four men at this point, but... My boobs are bigger than yours. Does that make me a slut?

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

Haven’t we been over this? A woman who reveals more skin than you arbitrarily find appropriate is NOT A SLUT. In fact, a slut is not a real thing. A slut is a word we throw at women who have made choices we don’t like.

Age 22, at the debutante ball, in a floor-length gown. This would have been totally modest during some time periods--my ankles were covered! Hello, arbitrary standard of skin.

Hey, twitter, how would y’all feel if I started calling any and all of you who have had more than one sexual partner a bunch of SLUTS?

You’d be pissed off. I just arbitrarily decided on a standard that deviates from my choices, and I decided that standard equals SLUT.

By calling a woman a slut based on her clothes, you are doing two things. 1) You are equating clothing with sexual choices 2) You are saying women don’t have sexual choices.

So stop that.


Do I really need to spell out how this all contributes to rape culture? Yes? Fine, then. By holding women to a certain standard of dress and/or sexual freedom, you are saying that any woman who deviates from that standard is thus culpable for her rape.

Age 22, pre-gaming a night out in Paris. Guess what. I wore short-shorts, and sexy red heels, and a low-cut top, and make-up, and no one sexually assaulted me!

My last point is perhaps the most difficult to articulate, mainly because I see both sides of the issue.

On the one hand, the media constantly objectifies women and treats them as sexual beings just ready for a man to enjoy at his leisure. On this hand, girls and women constantly receive the message that to matter, they must be sexy. On this same hand, some women will dress in an intentionally provocative way because they equate self-worth with attention from men.

ON THE OTHER HAND. Not all women have been completely brainwashed by our culture’s obsession with sex. Some of us (MOI) love our bodies. Some of us (MOI) love our boobs. Some of us have enough self-confidence to spare, and our self-confidence stems from our personalities, NOT our bodies. (Again, that would be MOI).

I love my body (when it’s healthy), at all sizes. I love my brains. I love my sense of humor. I love my passion for gender equality. I love my legs. I love my French-inspired fashion (I wear a lot of black, white, and gray). I love my boobs. I love my friends. I love how I’m (slowly) decorating my apartment. I love my job. I love my boyfriend.

When I’m getting dressed in the morning, I don’t have the single thought “How can I be sexually attractive to men?” but rather “How can this outfit reflect everything I love about my life?”

So I take offense at the implication that just because I’m rocking some hot cleavage, I lack self-respect.

I know this is hard to believe, but my boobs have nothing to do with you. My cleavage is not on display for you. Your opinion of my boobs is irrelevant. 

All right, readers. I want to hear from y'all. How do you feel about boobs and cleavage?

*Totally my fake sorority.


  1. I am "well-endowed" as well and I feel like people are so judgmental about "my girls" hanging out. I can't wear tank tops or v-necks or even crew necks without my cleavage showing. Outfits that would look good on smaller chested women make me look scandalous and I'm getting judged for it. Ugh!

    1. And so often, the smaller-chested women are the ones doing the judging! Women with small boobs (which are still awesome, yay boobs of all sizes) should NOT have any say in what is "appropriate" for women with big boobs.

      This is especially offensive from Christians. God gave me this body. I have not had it surgically altered to look "hotter" (although I'm not opposed to that post-kids). God gave me big boobs, which, btw, are designed to feed my future baby. Secular society, on the other hand, decided boobs are sexy. Sorry, world, I'm going with God on this one, and dressing in comfortable clothes that make me feel happy.

  2. Just to clarify, I think we have to make sure to point out that the reason behind many Christians' propensity to encourage modest dress has nothing to do with tempting boys but with safeguarding a woman's self-respect. As you say, "[G]irls and women constantly receive the message that to matter, they must be sexy. On this same hand, some women will dress in an intentionally provocative way because they equate self-worth with attention from men." In my own personal experience, I think encouraging women away from this path is the more usual intention behind promoting more modest dress, though I don't actually hear about this topic a lot at church. (As an aside, if girls shouldn't wear tight or low-cut shirts because they're too sexy, boys shouldn't wear tight pants. It's only fair.)

    Also, I was just at a large, contemporary church service where the majority of people in attendance were college students. There were all kinds of different outfits going on as well as accessories, both permanent and not. It was great! Then out in the parking lot this one lovely girl walked by me, and all she had on were a pair of short shorts, a tiny bandeau (she had smaller boobs) and a completely see-through shirt. Completely. Personally, I felt this was rather disrespectful to wear to church, not because it was too "enticing" to guys but because she was there to worship God her Father. Yes, God gave her beautiful body to her, but I don't think church is the place he meant her to show it off like that. What's your opinion, B.V.?

    A Christian (with Big Boobs Too!) Who Is Neither Prude nor Slut

    P.S. The sermon at the service was titled "The Gospel & Sex," and I really loved it. If you are interested in listening to it, it should be posted at this web address really soon: Happy listening!

    1. Hi, Anon, thank you so much for your perspective on this!

      I'm glad to hear that in your experience, the encouragement of modest dress has come from good intentions. However, I'm not alone in receiving sexist, objectifying comments. Like I said, it all started when I was about 17 and suddenly had boobs. I was a fairly innocent teenager and honestly naive about how to be "sexy," although I knew how to be pretty. But I received a lot of judgment for wearing the same kinds of clothes I wore pre-boobs.

      I included three links within the post that indicate I'm not alone in this experience. I completely support teaching young women to find their self-worth in themselves, and not how other people judge their appearance. However, in many Christian communities, it is very much phrased as "Don't tempt men with your sinful bodies."

      And the aside you gave is another reason why it's so bothersome. I can't help but notice the, um, bulge when guys wear tight pants, even when that's really something I don't want on my mind! But guys aren't receiving this lecture because our culture still largely believes that *only* men are visual creatures, and women are *only* sexually intrigued within a loving, emotional intimacy.

      I actually recently edited my previous "boob post" to address the point in your second paragraph. I'm copying & pasting the edit below. In sum, there are some clothes that are (in)appropriate for EVERYONE, depending on the environment, regardless of body type. Wearing a see-through shirt, if not over a camisole/tank that provides decent coverage, to church, or to work, is inappropriate, for As to GGs. In church, we should be focused on God's love, not on men's lust (or women's jealousy, let's be honest...).

      "Edit 01/26/2013: One of my many best friends pointed out that she understands what I mean by this, but someone who hasn't known me since freshman year might be confused and/or insulted.

      Let me clarify. Wearing a sexy, attention-getting top is perfect for Friday night. Not for Monday morning, or any time at work. Someone without big boobs is capable of understanding this distinction of when this top is (in)appropriate. Wearing a tube top to work is inappropriate because it's inappropriate, not because I show more cleavage in a tube top than the average woman.

      However, this has NEVER been my problem, or the issue people take with me, and thus I didn't even realize clarification was needed. If you can wear my cleavage-baring button-up blouse, but in your size, to our job, then I can too. Hence my inclusion of the Busty Girl comic. And that is the kind of judgment I receive. For wearing the same styles that my beautiful, but small-busted best friend might wear."

      Thanks for the link. I'll check it out!

  3. Damn you have a great body. I mean, don't post pics of your incredible rack if you didn't want comments like this. Those things are made for sin! Mmm.

    1. Did you even read her article? Your kind of BS is exactly what's wrong with our society. =/

    2. I think he was joking. His comment seemed rather satirical and seemed to me to be too closely along the lines of what this article was about to be mere coincidence.

  4. I used to have big boobs too thanks to the pill I took very early (around 14 because I had skin problems), but I lost weight after I stopped taking it. It was something I was quite uncomfortable about, because my parents and family used to joke about that a lot, and with me low self confidence it wasn't helping me when knew I looked different from others in addition to other things(but that's another story^^). So reading this article was kind of reminding me of that, and now I realise that if I still had them I would love my DDs^^

    Even though my boobs still rock now, thanks for remindgin me that all kind of breast are cool because they are ours! Anyway, you are right, no one should tell us how to dress or if we should show our boobs are not!!! They are ours and ours alone, no one has a say in it!

    Voilà! Merci beaucoup de m'avoir rappelé à quel point il est important de s'aimer telle que l'on est, et de faire ce que l'on veut avec ce qui est à nous!!!!!


    1. Unfortunately, family members don't always realize the need to respect our bodies. My twin brother sexually harassed me for years after I suddenly developed boobs when I was 16. Even though I liked my body, he was very successful at making me feel ashamed and uncomfortable in public.

      Nos corps sont notre propre, et personne n'a le droit de contrôler notre corps.

      Merci pour ton commentaire!

  5. First I want to say that its not the 'church' that believes that pre marital sex is a sin. People who are Born Again Christian's that live their life by what the Bible says abstain from sex before marriage, and there are many scriptures that I could write but I won't. That said, there are Born Again Christians that don't live like the above, and they do have sex out side of marriage.
    Born Again Christian women have big boobs too, and we wear tanks and halters and swimsuits, form fitting clothes, etc. Today I'm wearing a tube top and I'm a K cup.

    If anyone ever acted toward me, or called me anything it was not a Christian who did so.

    It sounds like you've had more problems with your family, mainly your brother than anyone else.

    Your pink top above is cute, I'd wear it if I had one like it, and I like the black halter.

    A Born Again Christian :)

    1. When I refer to the Church, I mean the teachings and beliefs that dominate Christian teachings. There are approximately 2.1 billion people worldwide who identify as Christian. About 1.2 billion of those people are Catholic. The Catholic Church definitely believes premarital sex is a sin. Protestants number 600 to 800 million, and of course, each denomination might teach something different in regards to premarital sex. The majority still teach it's a sin, however. So while I agree that not everyone believes it's a sin (I'm a Christian who thinks it isn't!), enough major Christian traditions teach that premarital sex is a sin, so I'm comfortable generalizing the Church in this situation.

      If you've had a chance to read my first two "bikini" posts, you'll see that I quote heavily from other Christians who are speaking out against modesty rules. We are becoming a more vocal group! It's very encouraging. :)

      I definitely agree that my twin brother has been the most problematic in my life, but he was hardly alone in his treatment of me. He was probably just more callous and cruel than the "well-meaning" Christians who just wanted to "help."

      I wish I still had the pink top! As I gained weight, I cleaned out a bunch of my clothes, but now I'm thin again and could wear so much of my older stuff. I'm hanging on to my "curvy collection" for any larger days ahead. I learned my lesson!

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. I'm 5'3 and am a 34DD, I'm not going to wear a turtleneck to make everyone else around me feel better about themselves! I love my curves and like to show them off in a classy manner. Whenever people would hint at my cleavage, I would just say that if a girl who was a B-cup was wearing the same exact outfit, not one person would make a peep!


    1. I love my curves too! We shouldn't have to wear clothes that are too big and unflattering just so other people aren't "distracted" by our God-given bodies. Thanks for commenting!

  7. AWESOME post! First time reading your blog, but now you've got a new reader :) Strangely we have a lot in common, which really, isn't so strange after all.


  8. Breast are beautiful, but showing too much breasts is not good.


Thanks for reading and commenting!

Anonymous commenting disabled while my mom is sick.

Comments are moderated because I receive a lot of spam, and I think CAPTCHA is annoying. I reply to most of your comments within the comment section because it inspires discussion between readers. For first-time commenters, I try to reply by email.

Yes, you can comment anonymously. Yes, you can disagree with me. However, as of 05/31/2013, if you are commenting anonymously, and your words are hateful or abusive, I will publish these at my discretion. I like that my blog can be a forum for discussion, but anything that blames or mocks survivors of sexual assault will NOT be tolerated.


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