My Body is Not More Appropriate Than Yours

How do you like dem apples? (Yeah, I went there.)

In a lot of ways, being a small-chested plus-size girl has its problems. In the wrong shirt, I have to deal with gaping fronts, and even in the right shirt, sometimes the back gapes when I move a certain way because there’s no boobage to pull the shirt forward.

But here’s something I can do that a busty girl can’t. I can wear a V-neck shirt cut all the way down to my bra … to work. And no one calls me out on it or tells me to cover up. You want to know why? Because I have no cleavage. My body doesn’t take up other people’s space or causes a distraction. My body is not obscene.

Based on those last two sentences, are you starting to see a problem in mentality?

I get frustrated on behalf of large-breasted women everywhere that their bodies are considered naturally more sexual and therefore must be covered up a lot more in order to fit in a professional setting. Otherwise, they are a distraction to the male employees and basically are just asking for the sexual harassment they get. That’s what their bodies were made for, right? I’m frustrated that I can wear a deep V and look professional, but a larger-breasted woman who wore a deep V would look like a professional.

I’m frustrated for the much larger-breasted woman who has cleavage up to her neck. What the hell is she supposed to do? Professional also tends to mean looking put together, but honestly, who looks put together in a turtleneck, and what are you supposed to do when it’s 90+ degrees outside and a sweater just doesn’t work if you want to stay conscious through the day?

I want to get away from this idea that certain bodies are naturally more obscene because they take up more space and attract the eyes. I want to get away from the idea that a large-breasted woman can never be professional, because even with the sweater, the curves are going to still be there.

I want to get away from the idea that a woman who takes up space is somehow unladylike and obscene; that a woman whose shirt rides up in the back because the woman has an ass and physics doesn’t care about wardrobe rules is somehow vulgar and trashy; that any amount of cleavage needs to be covered rather than expecting men to live in a world in which women do not exist to please and placate them. I think that if men find women’s curvier bodies distracting, it’s something that they have got to learn how to handle if they are going to work with women; that some women have curves that no amount of covering up is going to change or stop from being that kind of distraction.

These are problems that I do not have. Even as a plus-sized woman, I don’t take up much space, and my breasts are certainly not a distraction. No one has ever thrown me an oversized T-shirt and said, “God, woman, hide it under a bushel!” It may not be my problem, but that does not make it no problem.

Look, I notice breasts. Given my height, they’re usually at eye level. Kind of hard to escape from them, especially since you tend to notice the body parts closest to you, and breasts come before faces. I think breasts are beautiful, beautiful things, and I envy women who have them.

But for Pete’s sake, stop shaming women who have them. Stop treating breasts as if they exist entirely for sexual entertainment and they can never be seen as anything else, thus making every large-breasted young woman nothing but a pin-up in the workplace, perhaps unable to move up in the chain of command because no one’s looking at her eyes. I believe in a professional presentation, but to so many, any cleavage is automatically unprofessional, which strikes a lot of women out of the running right out of the gate.

Here’s the deal: Maybe large-breasted women can’t wear a V-neck all the way down to the fastening of her bra, but can she at least kept the second button unbuttoned without being seen as too obscene just because you see cleavage? Okay?

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