Learning to love your breasts

When she began developing breasts in the fourth grade, Beatrice Nguyen was certain she was destined for a “solid rack.”

However, as she hit puberty the growth slowed down and she quickly became a member of the “itty bitty titty committee.” Despite this fact, Nguyen is happy with her A-cup breasts.

“I think phrases like ‘the itty bitty titty committee’ are humorous,” Nguyen said. “I’ve made my peace with (my breasts). I’ve had them all my life and they’re not going anywhere.”

Though the media and fashion industry thrive by playing on women’s biggest insecurities, Nguyen believes small-breasted women should focus their energy on accepting their natural figures and avoid creating a body image that is unrealistic. She shuns products such as the double-padded bra and the stores that sell them since they encourage women to hate their natural figures.

“Women should be comfortable with themselves,” she said. “What’s with the false advertising? It looks so weird … it creates an illusion that you don’t have and it throws people off.”

Nguyen was not always comfortable with her slight frame and says going to a middle school where the other girls were well-endowed made her feel a bit insecure. It wasn’t until she graduated from high school that she learned to accept her body and her confidence skyrocketed.

“My friends used to call me a pancake with no filling,” she remembers with a laugh. “I was really upset about it when I was younger, but now I find it funny. I was really skinny; I had no breasts and no butt so I didn’t know what to do with myself … thankfully, as I grew up I filled out.”

Lorraine Hewitt says breasts are fun, fabulous and though they’re all different, they’re all very lovable.

Regardless, women everywhere spend countless hours listing the things they would change about their breasts given the opportunity. Hewitt, a sex educator and burlesque performer who lives in Toronto and goes by the stage name CoCo La Crème, credits this unfortunate situation to the media.

“The media plays on women’s self-esteem in relation to all aspects of their bodies,” she said. “The benefit to it is that when women are unhappy with their bodies they spend money to make themselves feel better.”

No matter what their breast size, women are stereotyped. From the “big-breasted bimbo” to the unsexy, small-breasted woman, Hewitt says women are constantly bombarded with images that can be harmful to their psyche.

Breast size is extremely important to women because it’s the body part they are most aware of even before they are developed, says Hewitt.

“When we are children, we think about our breasts and what they’re going to look like when we grow up,” Hewitt said. “In our society, (breasts) help to define women and women are definitely judged by their breast size and breast shape … the symmetry of their breasts, whether they’re pert or saggy … it’s something that women can become extremely self-conscious about.”

Anjelica Cole, a voluptuous woman with a 36DD bra size, acknowledges the attention her breasts sometimes brings but proudly states there’s nothing she would change about them.

The 23-year-old student who lives in Toronto wishes more women would embrace their natural physique and stop trying to change external factors to bring internal happiness.

“Everybody looks better in their natural state,” Cole said. “When you highlight your natural beauty … everything else falls into place.”

While Cole promotes a healthy self-love, she admits she wasn’t always so fond of her body.

“I actually used to hate my body shape,” she said. “I felt heavy and like everybody (in high school) was smaller than me … I didn’t realize I had a really nice shape.”

Like Nguyen, it wasn’t until after high school that Cole truly learned to embrace her body. And while she says she can sometimes feel the jealousy or judgment from other women, as well as the lustful gaze of some men, she believes that to be their issue and not her own.

“I once saw this picture that said, ‘Be yourself because everyone else is taken,’” she said. “It made a lot of sense because women are always trying to be something else and not accept what they have.”

“Breasts don’t bring happiness or a better outlook of yourself. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror and you want to change it, no matter how much you change it you’re not going to like (the final product).”

Both Nguyen and Cole feel strongly that they would never opt for cosmetic surgery as a way to feel accepted by society. While Nguyen says the idea has simply never appealed to her, Cole maintains the happiness associated with surgical enhancements is only temporary.

Hewitt believes the onus for teaching and learning self-acceptance falls on individuals and their families rather than society. She says this is because our society has placed more importance on selling and commerce instead of the promotion of positive self images.

“I think that no matter what size (your breasts) are, and no matter where they sit, you have to love them and love yourself,” she said with a smile.

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