“I didn’t ask for them.”
That was the first thing I told my mom when she forced me to wear my first brassiere. She tried to explain to me how wonderful it was to be a woman, how this body could nurture and give life. But I was ten. All I wanted to do was climb trees and run around. Suddenly, this body became my undoing. No more swimming with the boys in the rivers, no more sleepovers. It was a traumatic experience. And it was only the beginning.
This body was imposed on me. And it’s imposed on every little girl before they even know what to do with it. Before you try on your first training bra, just the idea of breasts can be perilous: If they come too quickly, you’re “The Girl With Boobs.” If they come too slowly, it’s like the whole world is fixated on your non-existent chest.
And then one day they arrive. You’re at a Sunday lunch with your family and your uncle starts looking at you differently. People start saying things like “you are growing up so fast!”. The boys in school snicker and laugh amongst themselves. Your step-dad starts to give you big life-lesson about sex - that obviously you can’t get. Without your knowledge, approval, or preparation you have, by the grace of hormones and human biology, become sexualized.
But here’s the thing about breasts: they’re frontal. You can’t deny them. You can’t really hide them either. And yet so much of what the world sees of you as a woman -- hell, as a person -- is based on that very first impression with how you happen to be managing the fact that you have breasts.
“Is she showing her bra?” “Is she wearing a bra?” ”Is she wearing a plunge?” “A collar?” “Can I see her straps?” “Is her shirt see-through?” “It didn’t look like she had such big breasts.” “She must be wearing a push-up.” “She must be crazy leaving the house with her nipples showing like that.”
Here’s another thing: breasts, beyond what they mean to men and boys and marketing executives, are made up mostly of fat. And they are also, shockingly enough, subject to the laws of gravity.
And so here we are, trying to fit into sizes that don’t even make sense to the sellers that burst into our changing rooms without asking. We have subjected an essential part of our body to an industry that is so blinded by the sexualization of breasts that they have failed -- utterly and completely -- at actually doing their job. They do not make bras that support the breasts
And so we wear push-ups because we feel we are not enough. And so we wear minimizers because we feel we are too much. And so we force ourselves into uncomfortable bras because we are scared of our breasts’ natural shape. Or more specifically about what society thinks about our breasts’ natural shape.
So, after four years of meeting humans with breasts from all over the world, I finally understood something: No product will change how the world sees breasts. Breasts are a cultural construction. Taboo and Ideal. The truth is, the world will always see your breasts and decide to objectify them or not, to build standards to constrain them.
But your breasts are just breasts. I mean, they’re just a natural extension of your body. And my mom was right: they play the astounding role of nourishing life. And live everything having to do with your body, the world has made it really effing hard to love.
And that’s what it’s all about: embracing bravely your body, not for what the world sees, but for what it does in the world. Your body is your vehicle, your superpower, your personal set of power tools to build a better society. And believe me, while you’re out there saving the planet, the last thing you want is someone thinking about your boobs..
To change how the world sees breasts, we need a global change. We need to support other humans with breasts and enable each other to connect to our bodies. We need to create a culture where breasts are de-objectified. And we don’t just need better bras for people who want and need them, we need to change the way we are making them to not ask humans with breasts to just fit in. But to define their own shape.
So today, it is my great privilege to unveil the first part of this future we’ve been working hard on:
A place where breasts have ideas. A place where breasts rewrite our culture. A place where we redefine our future.