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Kate Orman
News From the House of Sticks
Living with The Girls 
5th-Oct-2006 08:13 pm
I've been chatting to a young friend online who, like me, is blessed with a large bosom. For her, like me, this isn't a problem. But for the people around my friend (I'm going to call her "Mary" here), it's been a big problem. Ever since "the girls" arrived just before Mary's eleventh birthday, she's had to put up with remarks, stares, being treated like a "bimbo", and pressure to have breast reduction surgery.

Mary was one of only two girls in her year four class to need a bra. There were a few "meanies" at her primary school, she says, but the real harassment didn't start until high school: in PE classes, on swimming and athletics days, at the lockers, during assemblies. "Whenever people saw an opportunity, basically."

Large breasts can cause pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. Mary has experienced some minor problems because of this, but back exercises helped, and she has no trouble now. In fact, as far as I can figure out, her bust is only at the large end of normal - she was a 16DD, and is now a 14DD. (The average Australian woman is about a 14C. I myself am a 24DD and have no problems.)

Despite this, friends, family, and her doctor have all pressured Mary to have breast reduction surgery. She's had comments such as "You're out of proportion!" and even "Do you want to be a human Barbie?" Any kind of operation is a very serious step, not the sort of thing you want to do just for cosmetic reasons. Breast reduction can help women who are really suffering from back pain and other discomfort, but it carries a risk of scarring, loss of sensitivity in the nipples, and of not being able to breastfeed later on.

Not surprisingly, all this has affected Mary's self-esteem, making her feel self-conscious. The skimpy sports uniforms she's obliged to wear at school don't help. It's also difficult for Mary to find clothes, including swimwear and underwear, that fit her without being "sexy". "I'm worried about finding a dress for the formal that will go with my figure without giving a 'free sex at the party afterwards!' message."

The efforts of doltish Romeos don't help, either. "At McDonald's one time, I was getting this guy his Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, and he said they weren't the only hamburgers he liked, while looking at my chest. I wanted to slap him, but didn't." But boys are not the only culprits: "I don't like to be treated like an airhead, but even some girls and women do it. At the shops, the counter people seem to like explaining things over and over, as if I didn't get it the first time."

Mary wants young women to know that they should not let themselves be pressured into surgery they don't need or want. When it comes to minor discomfort, back exercises, weight loss, and a better-fitting bra can all help (most of us wear the wrong size bra, a problem I had myself for many years). Mary suspects doctors avoid telling their patients about these less dramatic alternatives because there's "big money involved". She also points out that the pressure to conform means girls and young women might be well-advised to leave it until they're older to decide about surgery.

For many girls and women, finding a way to accept our own bodies, and to convince others to accept them, is the real answer. Mary says: "No one should feel ashamed to have big boobs and this figure - but it's not easy living with it."

Your comments are very welcome!
5th-Oct-2006 10:38 am (UTC)
I need a few new good bras. I have a real fear of having one fitted though, because I am a tard. But I haven't actually been measured up for a new bra since breastfeeding, and I've kind of just been winging it sizewise. I tell myself every morning that this is really unwise of me, and still I haven't been to get myself sized up. I am so lame.

I spent the last two years being really self conscious about my weight. Recently I've lost 7 kilos, and suddenly I'm fine with it. I'm still grossly large, but for some reason those 7 kilos have kind of made me turn a corner and say yeah, fine, whatever. The only single regret I have about losing 7 kilos is that two of them seem to have come off my arse, and I was always really proud of my strangely J-Lo-ish arse. Even overweight it was still perky and drew admiring glances from passers-by. Still, 7 kilos is 7 kilos, only 15 to go until I am my normal prebaby self again. Which is a pipe dream, obviously, but still, a girl can fantasise.

Surgery is a big step for anyone, I would possibly consider getting my breasts done about ten years from now, depending on how much they suffer, which is also dependent on whether or not I may have another child. Apart from that, I can live with myself. Mostly.
5th-Oct-2006 10:42 am (UTC)
I'm a 24/6DD and I've gotten (mostly unwelcome) comments about my boobs most of my life too. I too was the girl in year 4 to get a bra and every single GIRL in my year snapped my bra strap that week... and between that and the shit I've gotten about my weight... there are a lot of people out there that should be slapped...

*rereads your posts* hang on, when did breasts = burgers? What the? *brain breaks*

While I haven't had people tell *me* to get breast reduction, my sister has had people tell her to do so. I've only had a doctor (not my regular one), when I went to see them about something totally unrealted, tell me I was a perfect candidate for stomach banding surgery... never had met him before, never went back...
5th-Oct-2006 12:26 pm (UTC)
*growls hearing about this locum doctor for the first time*
5th-Oct-2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
What about Torrid? they do great online sales don't they, Desiree?
8th-Oct-2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
They do. Good sexy bras, but you have to get your size just right, as it's a bit harder to return stock (it's a US store)
5th-Oct-2006 11:21 am (UTC)
When it comes to bras, I have kind of the opposite problem - that is, I'm a large woman with a small chest, a B at most. The assumption by bra (and clothes) manufacturers is always that if you're a size 22 or 24, you're going to be DD.

There is basically one 22B bra I've consistently been able to get in black, and I refuse to wear flesh coloured ones, just cos. :)

But then when I had my baby - do you think there were *any* 22B nursing bras? I managed to get a C, which is only a little too large (given my slightly enlarged boobie size) but almost all maternity bras over size 18 were either D or DD.

And apparently, women often lose a cup size when they stop breastfeeding. !! Mind you, if I lose another cup size I probably won't need a bra...

Sorry. But that's my boobie rant.

And - the idea that people should be advised surgery for anything other than medical reasons is just horrible. How would someone with a big nose or a mole on their face like it if people kept telling them to get it chopped off?
6th-Oct-2006 05:42 am (UTC) - Bra sizes
If you can't find a 22B - get yourself a 20C. Much easier to find!

It's the same thing!! Just with different tags!

The rule is that you go up one cup size and down one clothing size.

5th-Oct-2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
Bra manufacturers and retailers seem to be in on a conspiracy to make endowed women miserable.

I'm in the States, and it's nearly impossible for me to find a bra that fits even at speciality shops. I get almost all my bras from Bravissimo, which means waiting for mail from the UK and having to pay high prices if I have to ship anything back. It's incredibly frustrating.

The other problem is any fluctuation in weight means that I'm likely to get more on top. My weight will go up and down, depending on how much exercise I'm getting (I walk everywhere in summer, but it's too cold to do so in winter), and yet any fat that goes to my breast, stays there. I'm currently a 36J, and I'm really running out of options as where to get bras.
5th-Oct-2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
All I can say is that as a woman who's on the smaller side of endowed (lol) the bitchy girls are probably just jealous. They'd kill for her cleavage and aren't mature enough to look at her and see a gorgeous young woman ... all they see is what they don't have.

I remember being envious of one of my friend's 14DD cup in year 10 ... but I soon enough realised that there are disadvantages as well as advantages that go with having a striking decolletage. I think the biggest thing I realised is that it is a lot harder for big-breasted women to feel comfortable dressing in a sexy manner, whereas small-breasted women like myself can get away with a lot more risque clothing before people assume they're "easy."

What I'm getting at is this - it's society's problem ... well, it's mostly just stupid, hormonal, teen-society's problem but there are a few adults that haven't grown out of it.

I'd tell them to shove their breast reduction surgery, because "Mary" doesn't sound like she wants or needs it. Her doctor sounds like he's capitalising on her insecurity and I'd like to give him a good slapping. I hope she discovers a sense of confidence to go with her gorgeous figure, because she sounds like she has the best of both worlds - brains as well as looks.
5th-Oct-2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Her priority should be surviving school without having her self-esteem completely destroyed. (Nearly impossible, I know.) Will breast reduction help her do that? Will people stop criticizing her, telling her what she should do with her body, if she has surgery? Or would surgery be a short-term fix that stops the hive mind from picking on her, but that ultimately makes her self-esteem dependent on changing her body to meet other people's standards?

All this is a moot point if she needs surgery, i.e. if she has back pain, but it would be a good idea to first learn how to not muddy the waters with cosmetic concerns.

Fuck school. Grr. When your whole life is nothing but peer pressure, it's hard to make yourself realise that there are more important things than getting people to stop talking about you.
5th-Oct-2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
Funnily enough I've never experienced any problems from other people, despite always being on the busty side.

If anything it has amused me when people have assumed I was a guy (just coz I have short hair. WTF?? I don't go out of my way to appear butch or anything!!) even though I have enormous boobs!! That's another rant for another time.

My problem is that since I was put on medication my weight has ballooned, and my breast size has increased along with it. I don't have a problem finding bras that fit, but when I lose weight, it becomes a nightmare coz the breast fat seems to be the slowest to shift and finding a compatible chest size/cup size mix is a pain.

I actually wouldn't mind having my breasts surgically reduced slightly, but nobody's ever mentioned it to me, certainly not my doctor. I have enough stuff happening in my medical file to be getting on with for the time being.

Sometimes it seems like us girls just can't win no matter what our shape and size, and that sucks, especially when those responsible for the abuse are other women who you'd think would be a little more understanding.

6th-Oct-2006 01:49 am (UTC)
If anything it has amused me when people have assumed I was a guy (just coz I have short hair. WTF?? I don't go out of my way to appear butch or anything!!) even though I have enormous boobs!! That's another rant for another time.

Yup! Had that happen too. Too often in fact. I often just look at my large breasts and say "excuse me?"
5th-Oct-2006 05:53 pm (UTC)
Having a monster rack myself, my neck doctor told me last week that i should consider reduction after we're through having kids.

I'd love to have Cs. I have 38FFs and I hate them. They are oestrogen driven and thats why they are so big; hypothyroidism is an oestrogen dominant state so its logical, but it still sucks canal water :/
5th-Oct-2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
My sister's been told to have a reduction too. She laughed in the doctor's face and took up yoga - which pretty much sorted the majority of her back problems. She's only a 36F too.
6th-Oct-2006 12:21 am (UTC)
i admire mary very much for not giving in to the pressure.

there is always stupid people in the world. everywhere you go. everywhere!! :-(
i see it this way... when people are stupid, i immediately feel superior to them in every way. *lols, but it's the truth!* and then i think "these people want me to become like them? ew no thank you, LOLOL!!!"
that's not to say i don't politely put them in their place if their behaviour is offensive. sometimes even not so politely.

having had similar problems to mary as a young woman, i really empathise with her situation. in my case, once i learned wing chun, my self esteem rose up to be my protector. being constantly attacked (and it is an attack, to invade a person's being even by saying something thoughtless and stupid to them) or harassed because of how you look on the outside is really horrible. it is good to learn some form of self defence to deal with it. whether that is councilling or therapy or meditation or martial art or whatever. stupid people are not likely to change any time soon.

:-) i hope mary can somehow find a way to protect herself against the stupidity.

6th-Oct-2006 01:55 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what the size in Australia is, but I'm 44 F (AKA 44 DDD) here in the States. I have a good self esteem, but I would prefer to have smaller breasts if only to save me from the back pain that is becoming more prevalent. The only other person to discuss surgery with me, however, is my mom and it's a two-way discussion. I really have been fortunate in that I haven't been picked on cuz of my boobs. No, I'm picked on cuz I'm strange. Cuz I'm intelligent. Cuz I like things other folks don't like. When I was younger, that hurt like hell.

Perhaps the only thing I can say to Mary is "This too shall pass." Eventually you do wind up with a circle of friends and acquaintances who like you for who you are, not for who they want you to be. For me, it started to happen when I was a senior in high school. Several of my classmates had started growing up. Now I have two of the best friends a woman could hope for (alas, in two other cities than mine, but we're always in touch) and many other friends and acquaintances. None of them pick on me because of my boobs. A few pick on me for my taste in Doctors (of Doctor Who), but it's good natured ribbing. :-)
6th-Oct-2006 05:22 am (UTC)
Just to clarify: I have a friend who has had breast reduction surgery (she was a triple-K, and it was a REAL problem for her), and she says she has MORE sensitivity than before (granted, she had numerous cysts in her breast tissue). She has very little scarring. It depends on the method of surgery used and the skill of the surgeon.

Having a large chest isn't the only way people can make you feel shitty about yourself. I simply had short hair and liked football, and I was constantly badgered in my teens by other kids and frequently was called a lesbian.

I like to think I got the last laugh.
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