Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Curvy ASSumptions

What assumptions pop in your head when you see this actress?

What about when you see her here?

If you don't know who that is, it's the lovely Melissa Rauch from The Big Bang Theory.  What I LOVE about her character is that she's a busty blonde who's smart.  She plays a microbiologist who's the bread winner in her family. It's nice to see someone breaking the stereotype instead of having her appear as a cheerleader or ditsy.

Problem is that many haven't moved passed the stereotypes and ASSumptions associated with having curves.  Don't believe me?  Just read this article.  I'll be honest and say I couldn't make it very far into it because I feel pretty sick reading the stupidity from that author.  However, I think it's important to deal with the most common Curvy ASSumptions:

1. Large Breasts are Fake

Nope.  Mine are 100% real.  Actually, I've even thought about getting a breast reduction in the past.  My mom has had one and when I was younger I used to think that was what I'd do after I was done having kids.  My mind has changed a lot since then but I guarantee you that many, MANY women have naturally large breasts.  Actually, mine have gotten larger after pregnancy/nursing.

If anything, I'd wager that due to the number of overweight/obese women around the world that breast sizes have increased.  Certainly, not all women with large breasts are overweight (I'm only 9lbs away from a healthy weight at this point and I can promise you that those 9lbs aren't going to magically turn me from a 28HH into a 28C) but, in general, weight gain has to go somewhere and often it goes at least partially to your breasts.

2. Women with Large Breasts are Easy

Um.. no.  Sure, some may be just as some small breasted women are easy too.  But large breasts don't magically change something in our brain chemistry that makes us want to have sex with random strangers.  Actually, many of us large breasted women are happily married in monogamous relationships.   I promise you we're not all strippers. 

If you make this ASSumption, I've got to ASSume you're probably an idiot. 

3. Women with Large Breasts are Stupid

I have a Ph.D thank-you-very-much.  I also know a number of large-breasted women in my field of research and there is absolutely NO correlation whatsoever with intelligence.  That's one reason why I love  Melissa Rauch's character from The Big Bang Theory.  Up until this point in the show there has been absolutely NO reference whatsoever to her chest size.  She's treated like any other scientist, which is simply awesome. ;) 

4. Breasts are for Men to Oggle

Nope.  We do have faces you know?  I always enjoy Darlene's ideas on getting men's eyes off of our  chests.  Tights, and ideas on getting eye contact. Butterfly Collection and FullerFigureFullerBust have also had some good posts lately regarding cleavage.

Also, believe it or not but in the biological sense breasts are made for nursing our children (I should know after doing just that for 2 years!).  If anything I'd say that the sexualization of breasts has harmed breastfeeding efforts among women because some women are ashamed to nurse in public and/or seek out help even when they DO want to nurse.  

Don't get me wrong.  I don't have a problem with breasts being used for sex.  BUT that's not their only purpose in life and I think it's important to acknowledge that.   I've heard of women who choose not to breastfeed because they're worried that it'll affect the appearance of their breasts.  In reality pregnancy is already going to do that to you and I really do think it's a shame to avoid something that is good for both mother and child simply for vanity reasons.  Just to be clear, I'm NOT  criticizing moms who have to use formula.  I know there are a lot of valid reasons for that, but it bugs to me to no end that the sexualization of breasts can cause women not to nurse.

Also, some women with large breasts are not interested in men at all.  And I'd be willing to wager that most (regardless of sexual orientation) don't want some creep staring at them just because of the size of their mammary glands.

5. Large Breasted Women Purposely Show off their Chests

Of course, some women DO show off their chests.  Those women may have large OR small breasts.  Those breasts might be perky or they might belong to a grandma.

BUT some of us just seriously have a hard time finding clothes!  Either shirts are too big and make us look about 30lbs heavier than we really are OR we have strained buttons, empire waists that cut across our breasts and cleavage that goes on for a mile. 

Just think about Christina Hendrick's problems finding dresses. She's an A-list actress who designers refuse to make dresses for.  How are us everyday ladies supposed to find anything?

I count myself extraordinarily lucky because I know of clothing brands that cater to busty gals but I'd say that the vast majority of curvy women don't know about those brands and are still wearing the wrong bra size (if you are one of them check out my Resources and Finding Bras that Fit pages).

6. Large Breasted Women Enjoy All the Attention

 No.  No. NO.  Many of us have some MAJOR body image issues after years of struggling to find clothes/bras that fit, being told that we're fat when we're not, and having men stare at us while women jeer.  Do you think we actually like that?

Most of us just want to be treated like a normal human being, being judged on our merits, NOT our looks.  Actually, that's a big reason why I don't reveal my identity on this blog.  It's certainly not that I'm embarrassed by it or about my body.  But rather I don't want my coworkers to judge me based on my blog.  I want to be judged simply on my merits at work. 

How many times have you seen a gorgeous women dress in super baggy clothes to hide her body?  It definitely happens.  There's actually a book: The Astonishing Adventure of Fanboy and Goth Girl

wherein one of the main characters always wears extremely baggy clothes to hide her shape.  It's not 100% central to the main plot of the book but it's there and definitely something that I could relate to remembering my teen years.

7. Large Breasted Women are Plus-sized/Fat/Weak

I can't tell you how much I hate this one.  You can be curvy and plus-sized, straight and plus-sized, thin and curvy or thin and straight and there's also a whole lot in between!  I'm 9lbs from a healthy weight and still need a 28HH/28J bra size and curve id pants.  I have a feeling that's not going away in 9lbs.  I also do some serious strength training and have well defined muscles on my back, shoulders, arms, and legs.  I'm strong AND curvy!

It bugs me to no end when I hear women say "I don't want to exercise/lose weight because I'll lose my curves".  You might actually find that you get curvier with weight loss!! Now, I have no problem with a women saying "I don't want/need to lose weight because I like my body the way it is".  That's ok.  I'd actually argue that learning to love yourself for who you are with all your positive traits and flaws is extremely important. 

I DON'T think choosing not to exercise because you're worried that you're going to turn into She-man is remotely a valid choice.  Health comes before vanity every day in my book (ok, obviously there are some caveats and you have to consider the statistic chance of certain things but I think you can understand my basic point here).  Actually, I'm going to tell you that you WON'T turn into she-man due to exercise either.  You can look at any of my latest progress photos to see that someone who swims 3x per week, does heavy lifting 1x per week (and has been lifting heavy for about a year now), has a naturally large frame, and a muscular build doesn't look like she-man! Mostly, I just look like a shrunken version of myself. ;)


  1. I have to add a #8: Big breasts are a problem/disease that should be cured with surgery and big-breasted women should be told that by complete strangers.
    A pet peeve of mine.

  2. Oh my God. That article you linked to is the reason I hated my body for years and attempted to diet away my boobs. First of all, small breasts do not need to make a "comeback"--they are still ubiquitous in high fashion and trust me, do a quick google search and you'll find thousands of men reassuring small-chested girls that big boobs are gross and saggy, that more than a handful is wasted anyway, and so on. I never got any attention for my boobs from people who liked big boobs (not even creepy ones) so I grew up believing that everyone hated big boobs. I know a lot of small-chested women feel the opposite, but I don't think the solution is to make one size TRENDY; people obviously just have their individual tastes.

    Secondly, I LOATHE the fact that they assume in the article that having big boobs is anti-feminist. Actually, breast size is based on random chance, and in some cases, based on CHOICE, which is the very basis of feminism.

    Thirdly, the language they use is disgusting and abusive. "Bazongas", "pendulous" (the worst word EVER), "enormous", "knocking yourself unconscious", "size and weight of cantaloupes"... That is the language of body dysmorphia and humiliation. I hope self-conscious teenagers aren't reading that article. Holy cow.

  3. tongueincheck - agree! Did a stranger actually come up to you and say that!?!?

    Bras I Hate- Yes to everything you said! The article was absolutely awful and I couldn't make it very far into it. It really does scare me when I think about a young girl reading something that is that messed up and derogatory. It amazes me that people feel the need to judge others so much based on something genetic that we can't even control!!!

  4. This list is pretty much the story of my life. Strangers groping me, openly talking admiringly/disgustedly about my breasts when I was 15/16, assuming they could ogle me then being called a slag when I didn't respond how they clearly wanted to just because I had big boobs. I couldn't find the article Bras I Hate said you linked to? I'd be interested in reading it x

    1. Here's the article, it's pretty scary! http://www.slate.com/articles/life/doonan/2012/01/small_breasts_could_they_make_a_comeback_.html?wpisrc=obinsite

      I'm sorry you had to go through much of this too. :(

    2. Thank you, I've just read it and to be honest I'm speechless x

  5. She did have implants, but yeah, that doesn't take away from what a great actress she is. The blonde in her does that...hehe. Bazinga.

    1. I didn't know that but it definitely doesn't take away from her acting abilities. I love her in the show!

  6. As a tiny-busted woman, I even get uneasy over comments that put down large breasts. People can't help what genes they have! We each have our own issues.

    I guess it's because a lot of small-breasted women feel insecure about their appearances b/c large breasts are generally more valued than small breasts, that they feel the need to put down large-breasted women in order to make themselves feel better. Flat chests are most desired in the high fashion world, but not so much elsewhere.

    I don't really watch Big Bang Theory, but I agree it's great that they have a busty blonde character who is smart, that she's defined by more than her appearance.

    What is your PhD in btw?

    I can't help but wonder if a little bit of racial assumptions come into play as well. For example, Asians are stereotyped as "smart", and a lot of Asian women have small boobs (I'm Chinese and I happen to fit both stereotypes).

    1. Thanks for sharing this and it really bugs me either way when women are discriminated against. :( Both body types are what we're given with at birth so why should anybody be judged on what they didn't get to choose? It's pretty baffling to me!

      My PhD is actually in a science related field, hence, why I tend to really like the Big Bang Theory. :D

      That's interesting about racial stereotyping. That never occurred to me but that may play a role too. I suppose a good way to test it would be to see when this idea of big boobs=dumb originated (I, honestly, don't know...). Were there any specific culturally triggers that caused it? Hmm... definitely something to look into for the future.

    2. Maybe it's not so much that "big boobs= dumb" directly, but the stereotypical image of a "blonde bimbo", if you will, also has large boobs to go along with her blonde hair. And since that's the "image" of a "dumb girl", the "smart girl" must have opposite qualities, eg, the small-busted brunette. Or maybe since blondeness and large breasts are considered attractive, women with those traits are seen as "too pretty/beautiful to be smart".
      So if a woman has traits that are deemed "less attractive" or more "homely", she would put more energy into developing her smarts to compensate.

      Of course, these are stereotypes, which is why I put them in quotes.

      And about the racial thing, Asian women are known for having the straightest figures. And Asians are also most known for being "smart", or stereotyped as such. So all this put together leads to a cumulative assumption effect. Or maybe I'm stretching things a bit?

  7. Firstly, June - I love your blog. :)

    I just adore Melissa's character on that show.

    I agree, I don't know why some women need to put other women down over something that is genetic. I am a big breasted hourglass shaped Asian. I think I am probably around a 28HH/J (but all my bras are too small at the moment :(). My size comes from my dad's side of the family. I have an aunty who is more delicate looking than me and she has a bigger chest than me.

    I was lucky at school since I was a year younger than everyone else in my year level and I was never the person with the biggest chest. However, I have had my fair share of stares, bra flicking and the solitary unwanted boob grab.

    However, I guess the most hurtful thing was from someone who I thought should have known better. She made a comment about being able to turn better with a smaller chest. This was at a dance class and I had brought a top that didn't zip up so my offensive big boobs were more prominent in my tank ;). Yes it is easier to turn with a streamline body but I knew that comment was aimed at me and it wasn't said in a nice way. I mean I would never think that just because she had a smaller chest than me that she was less than a woman. That thought to me is ridiculous.

    Oh and I think I've gone up about 3 or so bra sizes since then...

    1. Oh, I'm sorry that you had to deal with that. :( I was an athlete in high school and college too and I can definitely relate to assumptions made on one's body type. One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing that an athlete's body=straight body type. Certainly, athletes would *in general* have lower body fat but this is NOT an all encompassing rule and some women have low body fat AND curves! It just comes down to genetics. There are also athletes with lot higher weights than many would expect but a lot of muscle tone. It really depends on the sport.

      I hope you're able to find some bras!!! Check out Bratabase there are some listed in the 28J range for cheap. :D

    2. You know what actually bothers me the most? It's trying to find a sports bra that fits! I need something will fully adjustable straps.

      As for athletes with bigger chests that is true. Look at Serena Williams ;). And yes I think there is a tennis player who had a breast reduction...I can't remember her name.

      Thanks for the tip :).

    3. I know for my, at least, I get along well with the Freya Active in 30H (the back is tight and it helps that I have soft breasts so I can squish into a bit) but the straps are, sadly, not fully adjustable. The Bravissimo Sports bra also comes in 28J but I'm not sure if the straps are fully adjustable or not?

      The Panache sports bra does have the crossed back option, which might help?

  8. Hi June,

    Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for letting me know. I'll check it out.

    Take care :)

  9. You wrote the post that rattles around in my head but never comes through my fingertips. Bravo!

  10. I see a lot of comments about large breasts should not be stereotyped because no one chooses their genetics. I have implants I chose to have larger breasts but that does not mean I should be stereotyped for my decision. I am just pointing this out.

  11. Love the Posts! However, as an actual Biologist and life-long self-proclaimed "boob man", let me correct and amplify a few of your assertions. Boobs are not for feeding babies. Flat chested women produce just as much milk as large chested women; other primates do not have "boobs", but they do appear fuller during lactation. Breast are actually the result of a human induced form of Natural Selection, called Sexual Selection. This happens in many species where gender selection occurs, and in human females led to boobs! Praise be to Darwin. Lastly, I want to confirm that all boobs are gorgeous. Big, medium, small; they are all beautiful. I do want to state that women of medium bust size probably get overlooked more than others; extremes of this trait are popularized for many reasons.

  12. Thank you for this :) I am a mom of 7 that lives in Europe and has faced these problems all my life. Even though I have been come down from a 38H when nursing to a 34F-G after loosing 30 lbs. last year, it's still impossible to find one that actually fits. I have been altering some of mine for a while now and even attempted to sew some for myself. Your blog is a great resource. Thanks.

  13. I'm sorry, but I've never understood why women hate men staring at their breasts. I'm a bisexual girl and so is my best friend. We both like breasts and my friend stares at other girls' breasts(I try not to because many women don't like it. She doesn't get caught, though). Anyway, we are not "perverts" and we admire girls' breasts as well as their personalities. I don't see how this is any different to straight women staring at men's torsos, muscles and abs. It just baffles me that women get away with admiring a man's body, but when a man admires a woman's body, it's "creepy", "perverted" and "objectifies" women.
    But seriously, can someone please explain why women hate it so much?

  14. "4. Breasts are for Men to Oggle: Nope. We do have faces you know?"

    Sorry but no, breasts are exactly something for men to ogle, as they are not just a sign of sexual maturity but also subtle changes in the reproductive cycle.

    There is a biological reason that human females are the only simian species with external mammary glands, its because humans are also the only species of great ape to mount from the front.

    Its basic sexual dimorphism: Traits that lead to good breeding prosper & so human women have breasts & the male of the species who are more sexually attracted to said breasts also breed more prolifically & so those traits are passed on.

    Its one of the reasons why the average cup size of women has sky rocketed over the last 60 years.

    As someone with a Ph.D & large breast I would have thought you would know this, since its basic evolutionary biology.