A Tale of Breasts, Bras, and Bullies

My friend Sarah, author of The Crazy Baby Mama blog, wrote a post describing her attitudes about breasts, and how they changed–both her breasts, and her attitudes towards them. The Boobs. The Bra. And The Bully is a humorous personal narrative chronicling the effects of bullying on a flat-chested middle-schooler, and the resulting first-bra-shopping experience.

Buying one’s first bra is a significant rite of passage for American girls: it symbolizes that they are on their way to becoming women. Unfortunately, as with many other social rituals, peer pressure and bullying are common in these phases. Things worked out for Sarah, luckily, and for me, and for many people I know whose bodies changed at puberty. It got me wondering, though: what could we do to make transitions to maturity a little less painful? Is it more a matter of teaching kids to be sensitive about diversity and difference, or trying to lessen media pressure to be perfect in appearance and everything else?

I don’t have all the answers, but I think Sarah’s post contains a few: her compassionate mother who took her school problems seriously, along with her determination to resolve the situation with her bully instead of hiding from it, both contributed to the (eventual) positive outcome. Hopefully the factors in other people’s lives can ease their transitions through shifting body image and identity as well.

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Join us this week as we explore the intersections of breasts and sexuality on MySexProfessor.com.

About Jeana


Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.