All Breasts Great and Small

All Breasts Great and Small
A good friend, whom I admire for his candour, recently dropped into our conversation “Oh but you’re flat chested” to which I immediately retorted “No, small breasted.”  I felt indignant because that label can instantly dismiss the existence of something small but perfectly formed.  I didn’t give the exchange any further thought until a photo arrived from a recent girls’ weekend where we held a  tongue –in-cheek photo-shoot, and my first thought was ‘Oh, I look flat chested.’ I was surprised that my uncensored thought was as conditioned as my friend’s.

Small breasted women can easily be dismissed as being flat-chested because we do not fit society’s preferred image of being ‘curvy.’ Larger breasts are celebrated by the media as being the most desirable female form.  Skinny, flat chested models are forgiven for their impossibly long limbs and dreamy expressions.

In the 1970’s when we were pre-pubescents, my sister and I would insert a pair of tennis balls under our tight white t-shirts and parade around our bedroom posing as sophisticated ladies.  How I longed for the day to arrive to fulfil this fantasy!  When my breasts finally began to bud I was in awe and hugged myself at the prospect of becoming a woman.  And then I waited… and waited, but nothing much happened.  I grew little breasts and then they stopped.  My sister, younger than me, continued to bloom and soon all my friends had bosoms.

So I had no choice but to accept that I would always have less than my peers, and I intuited this as somehow being less. There was to be no first bra fitting for me, a rite of passage denied.  But being skinny and tomboyish I wasn’t unduly worried; I got on with kicking the footy with the kids in our street and going for long bike rides, two or three dogs galloping by our side.

By the time I started work it was clear that my small breasts were no impediment to the attention of the opposite sex.  I had my fair share of admirers and some passionate relationships followed.  I discovered that males love breasts, no matter what their size!

I gave birth to my baby in my mid-thirties.  I wanted to breast feed and though the first six weeks were gruelling, I achieved this through a combination of luck, unwavering support and sheer determination.  From then on I began to feel differently about my body; for the first time I felt womanly and empowered. After nine months my baby weaned himself and my breasts returned to their former size. I may not be able to fill out a swimsuit or look shapely in a dress, but I haven’t had to face breast cancer either.

I’ve come to accept my body and I wanted to share my experience as another view to repeal society’s expectations of women having to look a certain way.  No matter what our size or shape, we are already good enough.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia A Bowmer
    Jul 11, 2014 @ 10:33:41

    I love your final line: we are already good enough. It reminds me somehow of the poem we both loved that appeared on Facebook. Well said.


  2. Gwen Finnigan
    Aug 02, 2014 @ 12:43:25

    Love your writing Helen. Keep up the great work. xx


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