Image Description: A purple calculator with a result that reads “58008”.
If I have to listen to another person say “You’re so lucky to have big boobs! Give me some!”, I’m going to fucking lose it.
I give my well rehearsed reply with an awkward laugh, “Well, I guess it’s a blessing, and a curse.” The blessing is an abstract conception of beauty that isn’t trendy anymore and the curse is that my body has been an open range for sexualization since age 12. Haven’t you heard? It’s all about ass over tits now!
My parents never had “the talk” with me, or anything of that sort. Even now in college, they just silently pray to God that I’m not out getting pregnant (or at least I think, because now talking in hypotheticals about grandchildren has become a regular thing for them). I don’t blame them for not giving me the talk, but rather, I blame the individuals who took it upon themselves to deliver unwarranted comments on my body, thereby schooling me with their demeaning and humiliating version of sex education-for-dummies-by-dummies.
With boobs, I transformed into an object not worthy of respect. I was not worthy of being a child any longer, joining the family of little feet. The fate of initiation into this family meets little brown girls on the rounded corners of blossoming curves, by the intersection of child and teenager (still several streetlights away from adulthood, legality, and maturity).
I’ll bullet these lists because frankly, long-winded aesthetically written anecdotes betray the jarring, careless manner of how I experienced. No one gently carried me through a story of my body, so I refuse to give you one. Let’s start with my teachers, who uncoincidentally were all white women:
- 8th grade:
- One told me that the other teachers were concerned as to what I was going to wear to our promotion (I was giving the speech).
- Another took out a yardstick and measured my skirt in the middle of class, not to get me in trouble but to laugh with the kids who told me I dressed immodestly.
- Another always asked if I was wearing shorts underneath my skirt with a disgusted look on her face.
- 11th Grade:
- One asked me why I had my boobs out in a dress that showed cleavage, contorting her face to show her disgust.
- 12th Grade:
- One gave me a safety pin to cover up my cleavage more and made rude comments (I don’t remember what they were, but she didn’t ask nicely).
- Same one, in front of the whole class, called me out and made a weird motion that looked like she was fanning herself. I said, “What?” and she snapped back, “Cover yourself!” So I said, “I don’t know what you want me to do about it. They’re there.”
- Everyone turned around shocked at my impoliteness, but was amused.
Even though some of these instances aren’t explicitly about my boobs, I know that they influenced the way in which they viewed the rest of my body and clothing choices. When it came to others who had slimmer, less curvy bodies, not a thing was said to them.
Now let’s go to the boys:
- 7th grade
- Told that my boyfriend only dated me because of my boobs.
- 8th grade
- Being called “whore-chata” (extra points for creativity)
- Constant eyes on my chest
- Mia Khalifa comparisons
- 9th grade – 12th grade
- Neverending requests for nudes
- With a higher influx when I posted any pictures with cleavage
- Replies to my snap stories that my chest must look heavy 😉
- Rumors flying around what I did with guys I was involved with to an excessive amount
- Lots of flirtations being centered around my body
- Neverending requests for nudes
There is no way to encompass every innumerable interaction I’ve had , but these are the most notable ones (and the ones I feel comfortable with sharing, I deserve a bit of preservation and entitlement to my own body).
I find myself wanting to be sympathetic to the boys at least in middle school; perhaps immaturity prevented them from fully processing the weight of their actions. Not to be all “boys will be boys,” but middle schoolers are essentially children who lack a filter, but with more (very unsubstantiated) sexual knowledge and armpit hair. At the same time, I know that it’s still fucked up; they will never know the damage it brought to my developing brain in my developing body.
If it’s any consolation, I offer that we should start having more open conversations with pre-teens and teens about these topics. Adults choosing not to hold these conversations does nothing to prevent young people from engaging in their sexuality, much less discussing it. In the place of the hidden truths are ignorant and immature folktales passed amongst young boys in a heteropatriarchal society. This absurdly incorrect and misogynistic narratives go unchecked, bouncing around like a hideous growing green bubble of shit. Like dung beetles harvesting shitty information on falsehoods about women’s bodies.
Even the bare minimum of sex education is voluntary. Most of my friends took health class over a few weeks in the summer before freshman year on computers that weren’t advanced enough to check to see if we were googling the answers for our quizzes, with a P.E. teacher who sat at his desk half asleep, sending emails, maybe looking at porn or something, God only knows. In junior year, one boy told me that he “pulled out” of a girl and that the pre-cum doesn’t have sperm, so she was definitely not going to be pregnant. When I pitched in with the fact that pulling out doesn’t always work because pre-cum has sperm, the jury was still out. A few weeks later, she said she was pregnant (it turned out to be a lie, so we can laugh at his idiocy).
Kids are barely taught how to not get someone pregnant, so who is teaching them the critical etiquettes and morals of sex that can be the difference between sexual trauma and the lack thereof? The most my classmates and I got was the 5 minute consent tea video, but that was in senior year of high school for a single class that only 40 students take per year, half of which didn’t bother paying attention. The boys just laughed at the video. They’re older. They know better (at least one of them didn’t).
So the responsibility of teaching humans how to have sex with each other is tossed into the grimy hands of idiotic children and and the few parents who decide to talk to their children about sex.
It’s not enough though, not even enough for me to be asking that we talk about sex. In the world we live in, the curriculum for sex education may as well be a world politics textbook from the 70s. I implore us to evaluate what unchecked behavior manifests into, to truly think about what it means for women and femmes to feel the panic settle in when they can’t find their lady friend at a frat party, to keep a watchful eye over our drinks, to avoid walking alone at night, to avoid walking alone, to foster a passive anxiety that carries through with just about anything we do just so we can earn respect. “Don’t teach your daughters how to dress, teach your boys not to rape.” Can we push it further? Can we call for that to be integrated into our school system? Because, as a country, we aren’t great at the honor system (see Covid-19 vaccinations). These shallow efforts to combat violent sexual culture are not enough and I don’t know what will ever be enough.
Unlike the middle school boys, I don’t feel sympathetic towards the teachers who made me feel like a slut just for existing in their classes.
The teachers only encouraged the stupidity of the boys and their banter over my body. Ideally, we should know this by now, but dress codes promote victim blaming because girls face the consequences for “tempting” others with their adolescent bodies. Meanwhile, the boys who get boners from looking at someone’s shoulders get to grow into the men of tomorrow who cannot peel their eyes off of a woman’s chest, or worse.
I would even go as far as saying the grown adults who couldn’t help but make a scene of my adolescent body were being pedophilic. I heard a stand up comedian once say how adults had told him that children dress sexy now; he pointed out how strange that is because the thought of a child being sexy should not cross your mind, because no matter what clothes you put on them, it’s still a child.
Clothes aren’t inherently sexual. Put them on a paper doll. It’s not sexual. Put it on a slim-bodied 13-year-old. It’s not sexual. Put it on my 13 year old body. It has now become sexual. So my 13 year old body is sexual?
This magical phenomenon of how my innocence as a child drastically transformed with pieces of fabric is especially interesting considering my parents’ attitude towards my body. More specifically, my parent’s indifference towards my body in clothes. Neither ever felt the need to restrict my fashion choices, even from a young age, because they did not sexualize me. They took actions to be cautious in protecting me against pedophiles, like not letting me sleep over at anyone’s house, but my clothes never posed an issue for them. The pink crop tops and skater skirts looked a little short on my tall, slim, curvy body, but not a single concern arose. They just funded my wardrobe and told me how cute I looked (because I did!). I thank them for helping foster as much of a healthy relationship between myself and my body as possible before the world became hellbent on convincing me that I was an object to be fucked when I was a child.
I truly resent that I am in the prime time of being hot, and I can’t even enjoy it. Instead, I stand in front of the mirror inspecting my clothes, examining how each article hugs at my body. If my choice could be interpreted to be indicative of sexual promiscuity, I run a follow-up exam. In this second assessment, I analyze the demographics of the population of where I will be ( how conservative, their ages, etc) before stepping out to estimate the amount and types of looks I will get.
My body scan serves as my defense as I heal from the constant harassment of grown adults who thought that as a child, I was so hot that I needed to hide my body from others. even though my clothing adequately covered my butt and boobs as much as clothing could (90% of tops seem like they are not made for anything larger than a B cup, but that’s not my fault).
As a 20 year old, it’s disturbing to look back on my strange, ill feelings about my sexuality and pinpoint it back to middle school. Thanks to my parents, I don’t think there is an issue with my body. But thanks to the others, I am uncomfortable with what it seems to signal to everyone.
I am painfully aware of the message my body portrays to others. I find it problematic because I know it’s a victim blaming mentality that I hold about myself. I wholeheartedly do not believe an exposed body equates to an invitation for rape or unwanted sexual attention when it comes to other women, but I find myself to be the exception. I don’t want to be followed around the store for wearing a certain dress, I don’t want to be called out in class, I don’t want to even be stared at in the club with my friends, I just want to be. But that is not my reality. The bit of cleavage transforms me into a siren who they can’t resist, who is waiting to fulfill their desires, despite how that is against my wishes.
I hardly ever have the intention of showing off my boobs, but they’re there. It’s just how clothes fit me: I’m not going to look like the super slim innocent white girl in the cute little bralettes, in the little tank tops, even in the tight black turtleneck I have.
Spicy Latina, sexy Latina, Latina baddie. Even without what is on my chest, the fetishization of Latina women exists, further making me feel like a pocket pussy with legs. Though, this dehumanizing stereotype serves as an opportunity for me to find orgasmically satisfying pleasure in shattering a straight man’s fantasized idea of me. Nothing is better than demystifying [our] “attitude,” one of the Latina’s classic hot personality traits, with a feminist rant. Let me whisper in your ear papí. Let me tell you in excruciatingly intimate detail how my built up anger of existing as a woman of color feeds my feisty red hot cheeto flame you claim to admire. But you didn’t know that feistiness consists of calling out your every little careless misogynistic comment or behavior. That’s just bitchiness. That’s just going overboard. I’m taking the joke too seriously. I should know you aren’t like that.
Even now that there is a movement of sex positivity and dressing like a slut is empowering, I don’t feel comfortable participating in it. I would love to; I truly commend women who own that and feel comfortable. But I am over it after being stripped of the ability to choose when I was ready to be sexy.
It would be a dream to go to a grocery store in a top that barely covers my chest and not have every middle aged white woman give me the same disgusted looks I’ve received since middle school or the eyes of every horny balding man who doesn’t care to hide the stares. But it’s just that: a dream.
A boob reduction has always been an option, but that would further allow society to perverse me even more. A boob reduction requires spending thousands of dollars to have someone cut into my breasts and tear out tissue because society weighs on me, swinging and pulling on my chest and exacerbating my neck pain until I give in. I hate the thought and consideration to allow such a drastic measure to be entertained because I, myself, do not actually hate my boobs. I resent the manner in which they are perceived and the image they attach to me without ever asking me if it’s ok.
You have already manipulated my image enough, and I will not give you the satisfaction of making me undergo an expensive, painful, permanent change to my body.
But the unauthorized sexualization isn’t over, I’m just legal now so it’s not as unethical. Fuck me then, right?