My Love/Hate Relationship with My Small Breasts

This piece is part of a pair of articles analyzing how different women and their breasts are perceived by society. For “The Problem with Big Boobs,” click here.

by Laura K. Garrison

What if you don’t meet society’s expectations
of what it means “to be a woman”?

I am a proud member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. I still wake up some mornings cursing my “mosquito bites,” but for the most part, I’ve made peace with them. When I hit puberty, I watched my friends’ busts gradually increase, while I stayed flat as a board. I wondered what was wrong, considering that the women on both sides of my family are all well-endowed, but my mother assured me that I was just a late bloomer. By the time I was sixteen however, I realized my fate: I’m small-breasted. It’s been a long, continual process of loving and accepting my breasts as they are; one that no woman, no matter her size, ever truly completes. As they say, it’s about the journey. As my bustier friends always remind me, there are definite perks to my perky girls. I can wear pretty much anything without looking too slutty, sexy, or exposed. As a varsity volleyball player in high school, it was never an issue if I forgot my sports bra at home, and I always felt comfortable running alongside boys in PE. Looking to the future, it’s likely my breasts will defy gravity as I age and won’t sag if I choose to breast feed. They can only get bigger during pregnancy, and as some of my male friends have reassured me, “more than a handful is wasted.”

But small breasts can be equally frustrating. Sure I can buy any shirt off the rack and not worry the twins will be hanging out, but I have yet to find a style of bathing suit that doesn’t make me look more flat-chested than I normally am. It can be a struggle to find dresses, particularly strapless or backless, that make my breasts look existent without the help of a bra. It’s always difficult to go bra-shopping considering few retailers carry a decent selection of size A, and what they do sell is often underwire, which I find uncomfortable and unnecessary. I’ve experimented with push-ups, but besides feeling suffocated and molded like Play-Doh, they scream false-advertisement. Small breasts get just as much unwanted male attention as larger breasts, but to the opposite affect – our development, femininity, and sex appeal is questioned with snide comments and off-color jokes.

“Women are allowed to acknowledge and flaunt their breasts as symbols of feminine power and strength… As I watched confident woman in power suits with inches of cleavage strut across the screen, I remember looking down at the slight bump in my T-shirt and thinking ‘am I not a woman?’


The hardest part about having small breasts is how others, both men and women, perceive them. I’ve never heard a man admit to preferring small breasts to large ones, and there’s just as much a chance of Hooters going out of business as there is of hiring me. Axe, the men’s body care brand, is currently running an ad campaign in which a pair of breasts and a shaggy mop of hair fall in love, the joke being that while hair is the first thing a woman notices about a man (which I’m not sure is true), breasts are the first thing a man notices about a woman (which I’m very certain is true). But this attention to breasts is no longer a male-dominated sport, thanks in part to feminism. Ever since the fabled bra-burnings of the seventies, women are allowed to acknowledge and flaunt their breasts as symbols of feminine power and strength. I remember several years ago seeing an advertisement for Oxygen channel cheekily proclaiming “Women don’t have balls, we have breasts!” As I watched confident woman in power suits with inches of cleavage strut across the screen, I remember looking down at the slight bump in my T-shirt and thinking “‘am I not a woman?'”

In the past year, I’ve become much more accepting of my booblets. While I would ideally have a nice, round set of B’s, I’m growing to love my “almost A’s” more every day. During the summer, I often went braless for the first time since elementary school, and it was liberating. Not only did my girls have the chance to breathe outside a sweaty bra, I felt sexy as they slightly bounced in time to my walk, drawing the attention of several wandering eyes. When I watch Sex and the City, I feel a surge of sisterhood whenever Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, or Kristin Davis appears topless. I love the line in Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever,” “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble so you don’t confuse them with mountains.” Women like Kate Hudson, Mila Kunis, and Keira Knightly have overcome the Hollywood stereotype of leading ladies whose sex appeal is measured by their cup size. So, fellow committee members, you’re in good company.

Laura K. Garrison is a sophomore at Barnard and Managing Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of LolroflmaoDavid Voth and Courier Mail.

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5 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship with My Small Breasts

  1. I am a 34A and becoming proud of them as I hit my late 20's. I have gone through the same turmoil of feeling disappointed that my boobs never grew (even during pregnancy). I'm still not comfortable going braless, I don't like feeling 'nippley'. I save up and get bras from specialist boutiques as the bigger stores are useless. If you're into nice lingerie try avariella.co.uk .

    Love Pippa

  2. >”I’ve never heard a man admit to preferring small breasts to large ones”

    You don't talk to enough men. As a man, I know full well that your statement is false. I know plenty of men who love small breasts far more than large ones. Of course I know guys who are the opposite. But more than either, I know guys who really don't care all that much one way or the other. Boobs are just one part of a gal. They are a part that many of us males are attracted to. But it's just one part of the package.

    It's sort of like being short. Being short is the male version of small breasts. Lots of women like taller guys. Tall dark and handsome is the dream. And that's fine. But plenty of women prefer shorter fellows as well. And many more don't care all that much either way.

    I feel for women who have this sort of love/hate relationship with their breasts. But you've got to look past the media and advertising and

  3. ….and consider the depth and breadth of sexuality and attraction in the human race.

    (sorry for the cut off post. Feel free to edit it back into one comment)

  4. I thought I'd just chime in here. Tit size is irrelevant to me. I don't prefer any shape or size. Don't hate on yourself, life is too short. Most guys don't give a shit.

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