Off My Chest

I spent most of last Friday afternoon with my top off. No, it’s not a new day job or a new boyfriend, I was at the breast clinic. I got prodded, poked, groped, injected and questioned all in the name of medical discovery. I left with my dignity intact but my chest a little worse for wear.

Since then I’ve been thinking about breasts a lot. I have such a love/hate relationship with mine: I can have cleavage/I think cleavage looks slutty, I don’t need push up bras/I always have to wear a bra, they’ve got the attentions of some nice boys/they’ve got the attention of some not so nice boys. And then there’s just the bad things (for all of you who think bigger is better): no backless dresses, they hurt if you get hit, few pretty bras because they don’t make them that cute in my size and ditto (I found out this morning) for bikinis.

I don’t need to give any references to the blatant fact that, like the rest of the female body today, boobs are over-photographed, over-sexualised and over-scandalised for the benefit of a heterosexual male audience, but we still use them to our advantage. On the radio the other day women who used their cleavage to their advantage were asked to phone in and there were all sorts of stories: getting out of speeding tickets, getting service at bars, discounts at electronics stores. But us girls are also very attached to them, I’m a bit worried about getting mine hacked into because I’ll have a scar. I love my other scars, they’re reminders of good stories (and stupid mistakes) but I feel like it will be so… what’s the female version of emasculating?

As Julia Roberts said in Notting Hill (is that not the most quotable movie of all time?) “What is it about men and nudity? Particularly breasts? How can you be so interested in them?… What’s all the fuss about?” I don’t know but despite the awkardness of my pre-teen years and the trauma of bra shopping, I’m suddenly very protective of mine.

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