Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Day I Showed My Boobs: A Guest Post

I think we all know I write about boobs a lot. Ellie Ava contacted me after some boob tweets and offered to write a guest post for me! She grew up on the more moderate fringes of American evangelicalism – and then moved to Europe for 5 years. All the cool people live in Europe for awhile. Now back in the US, Ellie Ava writes, speaks, and blogs about her experiences living in-between two very different cultures. She loves birds, beauty, and cheesy sci-fi, and you can find a collection of her writings at

Yes, this basically counts as boobs for me. Image via

A few weeks ago, at a theme park in Florida, I wore a tank top/bra combination that intentionally revealed a bit of my boobs. And you know what? The world didn’t end.

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you if you were raised outside the confines of purity culture. But if you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Every clothing choice had to be evaluated rigorously. We had to predict every possible negative or sexual response our clothing might evoke and do everything in our power to prevent it. Cleavage and midriff were explicitly prohibited. Skin below the collarbone was sketchy at best, and well-defined rump or boob shapes under your clothes were questionable.

But I’m learning and growing and recovering from my stint with the modesty police. I’ve read and written in-depth analyses of modesty issues, our bodies, and sexuality. And on that vacation, it was finally time to put my new beliefs into practice.

It was plenty appropriate for the situation. We were in Florida, where clothes are mostly optional in the first place. It was hot and sunny, and my outfit was in no way provocative (which is probably sensible around young kids). But it was something I never would have worn before. It was a risk I never would have taken, showing so much of my skin in public.

I had to resist the urge to pull the shirt up a few times. I was a little scandalized every time I looked down and saw them there, out in front of God and everybody. I was honestly a little shocked that I had visible cleavage at all, as I’m small-chested and didn’t even realize that I could do that with the right combination of clothing.

So why did this conservative-raised girl risk the dangers of exposed boobage, the potential to “cause boys to stumble” or receive inappropriate and uncomfortable attention?

Because my shape is a part of my humanity and doesn’t need to be hidden.

Because a woman’s skin and body are more than sex objects.

Because I need to be able to look down and see my own form and not fear it or feel shame over it.

Because I want my younger sisters to see a woman who chooses her clothes based on appropriateness and beauty and expression and joy instead of fear of what other people will think.

Because I want my little brother to see that people who have boobs are still people.

Because I am smart enough to determine what clothes are appropriate to a situation even if they don’t conform to the “rules” set by someone else.

Because language like “not revealing secret things” and “valuing hidden virtue” makes a woman valuable for NOT doing something and installs her virtue in her body parts.

Because wisdom brings life, but rules about inches and hemlines and collarbones bring suffocation and stifling.

Because even if sex is something valuable and private, our bodies are not the same thing as sex.

Will I make it a habit? Well, it is winter, so maybe not for a while. Appropriateness, after all. But I know I won't look at myself in the mirror the same way again. I will be proud and grateful that I have boobs, and I won't let them make me feel like a lesser person anymore.


  1. Good for you for living your truth and approaching your life in a way that feels right for you.

  2. I love this! So many people need to hear these words. You have a great talent for saying it like it is. You seem like a bridge builder, and the world needs so much more of that. Keep it coming!

    1. I appreciate the encouragement, Grace :) Thanks for reading!

  3. Ellie,

    This is beautifully expressed, how you are living the truth you have been carefully relearning. To me, it seems like you've simply become more childlike, for the way you describe choosing clothes these days sounds just like a child. Children naturally aren't concerned about all the nuances of women's clothing choices as the purity culture has indoctrinated us with. Very well written. Cheers!!!!

    1. Oh Susan, that's a really neat way to think about it actually. To go back to that simplicity and joy. I definitely see that in my younger sisters as they develop their own styles, and I hope to better emulate what I see!

  4. "Because my shape is a part of my humanity and doesn’t need to be hidden.... Because I want my little brother to see that people who have boobs are still people."

    This is one of the things that scares me about purity culture (from what I've read about it). It's totally objectifying and dehumanizing, more so than showing a little cleavage! I'm glad you're taking responsibility for and comfort in your own body - I can't imagine how hard it must be after having been raised conservatively, but good for you :)


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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2013 Finding My Virginity | Design By 2317studio | Powered By Blogger