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Why I Will No Longer Cover My Big Breasts From Gazing Eyes

My breasts are not a green light to demote me to flirty floozy status or diminish my business acumen.

Her Voice

While many of us wake up reciting affirmations and setting our daily intentions, those of us with big breasts are strapping on a different type of armor to get through the day. We call it our full-coverage bra. It's a thin layer of protection for us unwilling participants in a tacky game I call "Lower and Linger". You know, where you're conversing with someone but their line of sight drops from eye-level to chest-level and just stays there?

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Yeah, that one. Never mind that I don't want to play.

Some may argue that this behavior is really no different from crotch-watching or slightly objectifying men in gray sweatpants. But I'm here to dispute that fallacy. Very few people would stand in a man's face and gawk below his drawstring. And those few who would stare would more than likely keep the commentary positive.

Put another way, when his cup is running over, the observation and wonder quickly point to his virility. His intelligence doesn't even come into question. Yet, when our cups overflow, we're immediately judged, ridiculed and shamed.

I've gotten the "I-save-my-cleavage-for-whomever-I-am-intimate-with" remarks. (So the assumption is that I purposely flaunt my titties, sis?) And there are the subtle suggestions that tank tops and v-necks may not be the most appropriate attire for top-heavy women. (But, sis, it's 101 degrees, I'm profusely sweating, perspiration is pooling inside this superhero bra and it's severely irritating my skin!)

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Any remaining thoughts, comments and actions almost always lean towards lewd, like someone wishing they were that button on my shirt. Ugh! Somehow, we're viewed as easy, improper, incompetent and even unprofessional and we become targets for both street and work harassment. I read an article about a woman who sued her employer because she was "reprimanded for appearing too sexy." Apparently, her "figure and clothing choices were a distraction in the office", despite wearing turtlenecks.

Another well-known corporation faced a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit filed by a group of women who say they were "constantly solicited for sex by co-workers, ranked on their breast size, and fired if they refuse to play along."

Then, there are my humorous and playful sisters who crack on the slight gap between my buttons and say, "That button is one breath away from flying across the room." But peep this: I consistently smashed my annual goals throughout my corporate career, earning multitudes of bonuses and awards. I've also led productive meetings and successful projects. Yet, in that moment, all my colleagues could see was the slight curve of my breasts. I suppose I must warn them that in states like New York, women commenting on another women's breasts inside the workplace can also be a form of sexual harassment.

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But my point is, I detect a difference in interactions after my chest swelled with age. I've noticed how others speak to me as if my level of comprehension has declined. Um, I still got it the first time, sir. But perhaps you didn't understand the subsequent four times you repeated it because your focus was elsewhere?

Please know that I'm not trying to be divisive, superficial or petty. But the whole thing is pretty maddening. We want to look well put-together and recognized for our smarts whether we're delivering our presentations in the boardroom, sitting in the pew interpreting the Sunday word, dining across from a potential new love interest or going live in our IG stories. But we're expected to dress in oversized tunics, shawls and scarves to be heard.

It's also worth pointing out that our discomfort transcends beyond appearance. Large breasts are the root cause for physical pain. True story: One of my friends was trying to be sexy for her husband while she cooked topless. But one of her breasts touched the electric grill. She was stuck nursing a serious burn for several weeks.

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Some women have gone as far as getting a breast reduction surgery. A study of 31 women who opted for this procedure revealed a combination of the following symptoms and side effects: 81% had neck and back pain, 77% had shoulder pain, 58% had chafing or rash (not fun or cute!), 45% had significant limitation in their daily activity and 52% were just plain old unhappy with their appearance.

I never considered surgery because I'm learning to love the body God has gifted me, with the exception of these fine laugh lines. But I decided to delve a little deeper into the stigma of fuller busts, because as someone on the higher end of the size spectrum, I just wanted to better understand this oversexualizing and stereotyping.

Why do breasts make folks cringe, blunder and blush? What I found in my search, though, was something else rather mind-blowing and it has turned out to be a total game-changer for me.

The average cup size for non-Caucasian women is actually a DD. Not a B. Not a C. But a double D. And before anyone says, "That's because of augmentation, sis," let me explain. Boob jobs aside, our average cup size has increased over the past few decades because we've been eating. A lot. The average weight for women has increased from 140 pounds in the 1960s to 170 pounds today and, consequently, the average cup size has grown from 34B to about a 36DD.

So, what does that mean, exactly, for us? It means we're normal! Our busts aren't the rare art pieces that should be put on public display. And to think society has us walking around with our arms crossed over our chests looking all defeated, defensive and standoffish because we feel violated. And we're not even an anomaly? I think it's time we set some ground rules.

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Many of us have a fuller bosom and at times our breasts may pose physical and emotional challenges as well as exhibit other little perceived oddities. Large boobs may occasionally bounce, jiggle, lay low to breathe, pop up for air or pop out to nourish our babies. But please understand that the next time I wear a fitted top or a strapless jumpsuit, uncovered, it's not a green light to demote me to flirty floozy status or diminish my business acumen.

Know that breasts are a natural part of women's bodies, as natural as the eyes on our faces that we implore you to gaze into whenever you talk to us.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

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