This morning, my friend Hannah tweeted this article by Good Men Project. I’ve had my problems with them in the past, as you know, so I rolled my eyes this morning when my friend Hannah tweeted a piece called “In Praise of Small-Breasted Women.” I’m 5’8”, approximately 135 pounds, and a B cup. I am wholly average. I am not athletic, and I have been blessed by genetics to have a naturally skinny figure. There have been times – despite having a body close to many a man's ideal – that I have felt wholly inadequate: my chest isn’t big enough, my legs aren’t toned enough, my stomach isn’t muscular. I have lived with and continue to live a problematic image of myself as a physical being, a fact compounded by mixed messages of growing up both in the church and in secular society (“your body is dangerous,” vs. “your body is not enough”). It is a struggle every woman goes through.
Reading this piece, I did not feel affirmed in my body – something that was the clear intent of the author.
I felt like a pair of breasts. I felt chopped apart, dissected, and, once again, objectified.
I also felt incredibly skeeved.
So I have a message for the well-meaning men out there who agree with this sort of article: Stop. Just, stop.
The answer to the problem of objectifying women is not to objectify them in another manner. It is not to say to a woman, “Oh, you’re feeling bad because you’re not a C or D cup? Let me tell you, I loooooove A-cups! Love ‘em! I think all women with A-cups are fantastic!”
That’s still objectification, buddy. That is still telling me that you fetishize me based on my body parts. Rather than viewing me as a whole person, you say, “But I like small breasted women!” This continues to participate in a culture of objectification. You are continuing to judge me by a physical standard – it’s just a physical standard that is different from the norm.
When I read the article, I was simultaneously skeeved and angry. I mean, how else does one respond to a line saying:
We’re not the ones throwing themselves at you at the frat party. Or your friend’s wedding, countless drinks in.
Maybe we’re the ones quietly taking you in from five tables away. Listening to your voice. Your perspective. Your sense of humor. The witty way you referenced an F. Scott Fitzgerald line in the middle of ordering your drink.
And yes, don’t worry, we snuck a good, long look at your body.
I mean, ew. EW. I’m much more skeeved out by the idea that a man is objectifying me from fifteen feet away, never talking to me, than I am by a man who walks directly up to me and tells me I have nice legs (both are creepy, but one is significantly more so).
But, anger is a taxing emotion to have, and I was glad, when my coworker suggested – upon reading the article – that many of the lines sound like they could be in a rap song. A bizarroworld Sir Mix-A-Lot, if you will. “For me, an A-cup puts you on the A-list, every time,” sounds like something out of a Beastie Boys song.
I started laughing as I read through the article a second time, noting the cadence and unintentional styling of certain lines. I’m still skeeved, but now I’m laughing at the stupidity of it all. And I’m in a much better frame of mind.
Sometimes, what you need is a good laugh in response to the absurd things in the world. So, give it a try. Take a look at the article, and try your hand at creating some rap lyrics. Maybe we’ll have the next big response to “Baby Got Back.”