Every boob-bearer in the universe will likely have something they don’t think is quite “perfect” about their breasts.
Participating members of the itty-bitty-titty-committee yearn after the cleavage and stereotypical ‘sex appeal’ of big boobs, while those with anything over a D-cup would happily trade in their back pain and inability-to-run-without-getting-a-black-eye for being able to wear a cute bralette all day. No matter what our boobs look like to other people, we always seem to want the grass that’s greener on the other size (geddit?).
We see a good range of breast sizes in the media and online. However, there’s one specific body type that is missing from the discussion on boob-related positivity: there are no on-screen women with uneven boobs – or, at least, it’s very rarely talked about.
Everyone’s boobs are slightly different sizes, with differences ranging from basically unnoticeable to anyone but the attached woman to drastically different. I am one of the latter. Think D-cup on the left and A-cup on the right levels of asymmetry. When I’m not wearing a bra, my nipples look like a % sign, and when I am, there’s a distinct chasm in the right cup where my boob very much doesn’t fill the cup. When I was a teenager, I was very insecure about my body. All of my friends (and everyone on Instagram) had these perfectly even boobs, which in my head, made them 1189278 times more likely to get a boyfriend than me. I did every trick under the sun to get my right boob to catch up with my left one – turns out, massaging it with olive oil doesn’t work in the slightest. The Internet lied!
I’m certainly not the only one who has spiralled into a cycle of self-hatred caused by seeing other people’s bodies online and comparing them to my own. In 2016, The Children’s Society reported that in 2009/10, 30% of 10 to 15-year-old girls were unhappy with their appearance, but by 2013/14 this had risen to 34%.
It’s only recently that I’ve come to accept my body and realise that I have the best of both boobs, but I feel like this process could have been accelerated had I been exposed to something other than perfectly even breasts in all the media I saw as a young teenager. I might have felt a little less like a faulty woman, and a little more accepting of the body that I was in. I needed a wonky-titted role model who would let me know that it’s okay to be skew, just by means of me seeing her embrace her big chef and little chef (ugh, sorry). You’d be surprised how many other women are in the wonky boat along with me (around 25%!), considering that the only two celebrities I could find that have ‘admitted’ to having them being Jennifer Lawrence and Kiera Knightly, the latter of which being the only one who’s attempted to normalise it – she did an amazing untouched topless shoot where she bears all her asymmetrical beauty.
One of the most important steps on the path to accepting your body for all of its lumps and bumps is seeing other people with those same lumps and bumps embrace them in themselves. It’s so important that young girls (and boys!) are exposed to people of all shapes, sizes and colours. If they see a real grown-up with a version of their own body and see how confident they are with how they look, they’ll begin to associate their own body image with the beauty and confidence that they see.
Representation has been a big talking point in the media lately in terms of race and gender, but the importance of seeing yourself represented by those on screen and online is also applicable to body shape and size. When we only see one type of person being called beautiful (usually a white, blonde, size 8 or below girl with a biologically impossible waist-to-hip ratio and boobs approximately the size and shape of a cantaloupe melon), we automatically tell ourselves that unless we look like her, we are worthless. It’s not that looking like that girl is a bad thing – what’s bad is classifying her as peak beauty, with other genres of person being in any way less beautiful. Teenagers and adults alike are affected negatively by the bombardment of images of these “perfect bodies”, which is why representation of all body types is so important to people’s happiness and sense of their own beauty.
In an ideal world, the media would change to show all sorts of bodies and bits – but in reality, that change is going to be pretty slow, and the Kardashians sure as hell aren’t going anywhere. Something that everyone can do to expose themselves to positive body images is to tailor their social media feed. A bit of self-censorship can do wonders for your confidence. Unfollow anyone whose body makes yours feel any less worthy – it’s not worth beating yourself up every time they upload.
While my insecurity was always my skew boobs, other people might feel bad about their nipples being too big, or too small, or dislike their cellulite, or their freckles, or their body hair.
A diverse media would mean that all those insecurities are justified by at least one other person who’s body says “you’re not alone, and you are beautiful”.