The Breast Monologues
The Breast Monologues
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)
I have often joked I am going to perform a one-woman show called "The Breast Monologues." Ever since giving birth, my breasts have been a presence to reckon with. I have bonded with other large-chested women regularly on this issue. It is really weird that a society as breast-obsessed as America is, basically hates the "mother" breast. I often joke that if I could get helium breast implants, and could get them up and together, I apparently would be well paid. But since my breasts have come to point down more than up or out over time, I have come to wonder why only one type of large breast is considered attractive. It seems people are preferring large breast implants to natural large breasts, and that is because new large breasts can still point up and out. As time and gravity take hold, even breast implants need to be hiked up with later surgery, to maintain the unnatural perky loaded breast look.
It has annoyed me for years now that male artists and activists I know have long drawn, painted and displayed pictures of idealized women with extremely full breasts, that point up, and seem to float on air, and then an unbelievably thin waist. I often complain that either her waist would be bigger in real life, or that her breasts would sag more in real life. Or at least that these men would need to update their painted ladies on their cars and leather jackets with ever-lowering breasts over time to mimic reality. The men displaying these thin buxom babes as art always act annoyed when I say this. They seem to want really big breasts to defy the laws of gravity, and they seem to really cling to this fantasy too.
I know I have very large breasts. I also know they are not the "right" kind. I get impressions that my breasts are even "gross." I remember in 1995 I threw on a t-shirt and ran to the store in Los Angeles, Ca. I was not wearing a bra. As I walked from my car to the small store by our house, three teen girls walked by me, looked at my breasts, and then grimaced, and said to my face, "gross." I also had an older woman in my life buy me a bra as a college graduation gift, and when I put it on, she said I finally looked like I had "normal" breasts. Wow. I also remember, ironically, coming home from a concert at a body esteem conference in Bellingham, Wa. And my musical writing partner said she was grossed out by the women at the conference with their big breasts hanging, without bras. I had not even noticed it, so was shocked to hear her complaining about that, especially since we sang and wrote music about body image and feminism!
Oh, and then there was the time my lesbian partner and I went to dinner with her friends. My partner was stereotypically "beautiful," meaning thin, blonde, young...and I went to a party with her friends. Suddenly during dinner, all of the women there, except me and my partner, began to make fun of a retarded woman they used to work with and they made fun of her big sagging breasts. One woman got up and did a mocking walk, with breasts mimicked in her hands, swaying. This was very ironic, as I had been confiding in my lover how much it hurt me when people said cruel things about my breasts for no apparent reason. My lover was embarrassed for her friends and needless to say, I never wanted to do anything with that set of women again.
It bothers me, and raises a red flag of sexism, that only certain breasts are considered nice. Even having large breasts is not enough, they must be the right KIND of large breast. And even "feminists" will play into this. When I look in National Geographic magazines, I see lots of breasts like mine. I see that mothers in tribes all over the world, have breasts that look like my breasts. But if you looked at American media, you would think my breasts were a gross abnormality. I have been in large groups of naked women, and my breasts are not that different, they are just large. But as I have said, they are touted gross if not pushed up and together. There is a punk band in Seattle called "Sweaty Nipples." I read an interview that said band members worked in a bakery with this big older woman and she leaned down to help one of the boys at work, and they saw her big sweaty breasts and were grossed out and named their band after that horrific experience. This kind of shit gets old and is very insulting.
I have gone through hell trying to find a bra that actually works and fits, and is not painful. I seriously covet those Xena-like metal bras, as there is no way the weight of my breasts could drag that bra down, the way cloth fails me. I have also thought seriously about those trays people hang around their necks selling drinks, etc. I have thought how lovely it would be to carry my breasts around on a platform like that! I was talking with Fat?So!'s Marilyn Wann about this, and she was saying she would like an aquarium bra, where the breasts could float all day, and it could have fabulous porthole placement...I have joked often that the most comfortable bra is the "hand bra," where you just hold them, but that is hard to wear in public! I still long for a Blue Ice Bra, a summer bra that would have places for frozen ice packets to cool, as it lifts and separates. The only bras I have found that "work" the way they are supposed to with my large breasts is Decent Exposures (http://www.decentexposures.com). They make natural fiber bras, custom made to your dimensions. You get to choose the color, fabric, style...and they make them to fit you. It is the only place I can find such an arrangement. The Decent Exposure bras are ridiculously affordable, as well.
There is a joke I tell..."Why do mermaids wear sea shells?" "Because the A and B shells did not fit!" I had told that somewhere, and we all laughed, then later, a male friend of mine told that joke, and it was received as very sexist. It occurred to me that a large breasted woman can tell that joke to other large breasted women and it is funny. But men telling it bombs. And often small breasted women did not get it, when I have told it! It is funny how the teller can affect the joke like that. I have come to joke pretty heartily about this chest situation over time. I used to hate how my breasts would be smashed into the back of my guitar when I performed. It hurt! I saw Ovation guitars, which have a bulging belly out in the back. And began to joke onstage that I needed an inverse Ovation, which would have a bowl in the back of my guitar, basically, to hold my breasts! I would then pull my right breast out from under the guitar, and put it up on the ledge of my guitar, and would say "ahhh!" Women went wild at this act.
I have joked that they won't let me play on the naked women's basketball team anymore as I make one quick turn, and wipe out four players without trying. I have made jokes that when I see my other large breasted friends, we hug, but it is like we are across the room from each other, with a sea of breasts between us! I have joked I would need to lift my skirt, not shirt, to satisfy men yelling "show your tits" at this point. I knew a woman who used to say she can hold a book under her breasts with no hands. Well, I can hold a dictionary under there with no hands, and it can get lost!
I make a lot of jokes about my breasts, as they are seriously a bother in many ways. But it is also much more serious than I let on. I get hurt, I harbor resentments against people who make flippant comments about women's breasts not being "perfect" or hidden to protect people from them, and as you can see, I remember when those things are said near me. Also, I find it interesting that only one kind of large breast is considered "good" in American society. I think there is a patriarchal control issue and motive inside the rituals of women shaving post-adolescent hair, women dieting and obsessing on looking young, and only one kind of almost unattainable breast having worth. There is also something here that is reminiscent of this fear of the mother we see in patriarchy. Is it because larger sagging breasts remind men of mothers that they dis them so? So they only want breasts that are big, but do not look like mom's? I have heard men, mostly, trying to justify the male breast obsession on a maternal bond/breastfeeding thing. But women are breast fed as kids too, so logically, women would have the same breast obsessions, and that does not seem the case. Instead, most women seem to spend more time trying to make their breasts fit unnatural standards for acceptance, than spending huge amounts of time obsessing on sucking on women's breasts.
Breasts...we rarely talk about them in the way I am here. As I have said many a time, "we can sell breasts, but we cannot WEAR breasts." They sell our breasts in magazines at every 7-11, yet if we dare wear this commodity, our own body part, in public, we are arrested. They have literally taken our breasts over as a market commodity! I wrote an article on this called "Women and Their Illegal Breasts" (http://users.resist.ca/~kirstena/pagewomensbreasts.html). I want to keep exploring these breast issues, from a woman's point of view, in a non-porn setting, outside of the pressures to conform most often present in the "pro-sexuality" community. I am into exploring this myself, as a person in this body. And I plan on writing my own experiences in this realm, myself, defying that commercial monopoly on my breasts out there. Maybe I cannot WEAR my own breasts in public like men, but I sure as hell am going to be allowed to TALK about them in public. The exploitation of women's breasts is so thick, that a voice like mine on this topic is so sorely needed that I am not even sure where to submit this article for publication.
NOTE: COPYRIGHT 2005 Kirsten Anderberg - I do not give permission for this article to be published on ANY porn site, including any site that has ads of large-busted women as sex commodities. If you have a site with big-busted women's pictures, pictures of breasts that are not YOURS, then DO NOT post this article on your site. You have been warned. ~ K.Anderberg