My little sister has always been much bustier than me and she was in need of specialty bras from a young age. She was fitted many times, taken to multiple bra stores and a good deal of time and effort was spent on her because she was a particularly hard-to-find size.
I tagged along during many of these shopping excursions. And as a result, was overwhelmed by the whole process and actually had a few very negative experiences. When a bra salesperson saw my sister, measured her and then saw me, I would occasionally receive nasty comments about how “tiny” I was, how “flat” I was, how there was “nothing there” as the stranger stared at and assessed my boobs like they had a right to. They felt they had a right to pass judgement on a teenage girl who happened to be a member of the itty bitty titty community. I would also be asked questions such as “what’s wrong with you?” and “what the hell happened to you?” As though my body must be malformed or have gone through some sort of trauma or accident because why else would I be small-breasted? Clearly something bad had happened to me. Clearly my smallness was bad.
These questions and comments made me feel embarrassed of my body and ashamed of my small breasts. Instead of telling them to fudge off, I sadly, accepted their cruel and unjust assessment. I let mean-spirited strangers form my own self worth within the realm of my womanliness, physical beauty, and self acceptance.
This care and attention my sister received, I never held against her. She was naturally curvy and she needed proper fitting bras. She couldn’t help her body. Just like I couldn’t help being so small. The difference though, was that because she had big boobs, she was given more care and effort in finding the right bra. I was not given any. I was tiny so no one was concerned with fitting me for a bra.
Now I’m sure my sister had plenty of negatives in her own experience of being so curvy, so young. I doubt, whatever a woman’s body shape, height, weight and/or bra size, that she has had an easy road. Being busty doesn’t make problems of social and personal worth go away, it only presents different issues and struggles.
Me & Bras Now
Over the years I was curious to know my proper size but I never wanted to be fitted. Until recently when I was gently nudged in that direction. I realized that yeah, maybe I’m small but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a bra that fits me, and it doesn’t mean I don’t deserve that same care and attention of being fitted and having a pro guide me through the many, many options.
And so, I went to be fitted. And I was surprised by my size. The band was smaller than I thought it’d be and the cup was larger too. Go figure! I really had no idea what my size was and I instantly, on finding out, was very fond of the numerical and alphabetical representation, as though it were an old and much-loved friend.
I proceeded to purchase a few basic bras and then went to another store to see what selections they had. I knew my true size and was empowered by this knowledge. For the first time in my life I was actually curious and excited to shop for bras! And I wondered if this is what other women felt when they took their bodies into their own hands.
As quickly as that, I felt so much better because I’d taken my power back. By being fitted, finding bras I felt good in and that fit me properly (so important!) I had effectively said fudge off to those jerks from my past experiences and I had taken control of the situation, my body and how my body was treated.
I’m glad I’ve finally begun to rectify the viewpoints and experiences that were so damaging and unfair in my childhood. I’ve finally started to remedy the hurt and shame of my teenage self. I’ve begun to see and treat my body–and myself–as I should, with respect and loyalty, care and dignity.