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Adebusola Abujade / Her Campus Media

Something I Need To Get Off My Chest: Body-Shaming.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SCU chapter.

Have you ever noticed the infamous “side-eye” when you walk into a raucous room?

Not the warm, welcoming smile of a new gal pal, the glowing grin of outfit endorsement, or the admiring eyes of a gentleman giving you that mature, courteous look – I’m talking about that other feeling.

girls neon light signage
Photo by Rene Böhmer from Unsplash

The feeling of judgment, cold bitterness, and displacement. The stark stare from shimmering eyeshadow and pursed red lips. Someone you would have considered a friend. 

I live it, I hate it, and I could write a novel about it. It’s time to bring it to your attention. 

Let me set the stage for you: after a long strenuous week, you have been waiting for tonight—an opportunity to let off some steam. You feel like you are transforming into Cinderella at the ball, but ~reality-check~ you’re just a college sorority girl in a sweaty, congested frat basement. 

The outfit chosen for the dazzling night ahead is picked to complement your body. It hugs your hips in just the right place, allows your ‘ladies’ to sit high enough to reach the heavens, and you’ve chosen a color that sure is daring—but perfectly suits your complexion. That final spritz of overpriced perfume sets the mood for the night: glamour. 

Your body. Your rules. Your night.

women with different body types
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

The Devil Wears Prada, and you have dressed to kill. You’ve dressed for no one but yourself and you aim to look how you feel. Sexy. Competent. Aware of your assets—physical and mental — and not afraid to flaunt and embrace them. 

A true “Marilyn Monroe” in the flesh and nothing can break your stride. 

Your horse-drawn carriage…I mean, your Uber, with your five-star driver arrives and you are ready for the ball. 

As the social anxiety kicks in and butterflies begin to flutter, you remind yourself that you are happy and confident in your body. You pull your shoulders back and put on that gorgeous smile your momma gave you.

Things are going fabulously until you are greeted by ‘the girls’ — the peanut gallery that always ‘jokingly’ makes fun of your boobs. Ugh!

‘Oh look, Nat’s got her tits out again.’ You forcefully grin because you were raised to be polite, but the irony is that you’re wearing the same damn shirt the girl is wearing, but in a different color — because everyone owns that Brandy Melville top.  

As you try to laugh it off, that tiny ounce of self-esteem it took to get you walking out the front door retreats to its dark cave.

In a sarcastic tone, further comments are made sexualizing your appearance, that you shockingly did not ask for. 

In an attempt to save yourself, you head off to the bathroom and take a long hard look at the woman facing you in the mirror. Do I look as if I’m asking for it? Do I look like a slut? Would my mother approve of this top? Maybe I should get a reduction, but would surgery affect my ability to nurse my future children? God, my back hurts. 

You start questioning yourself and the physical attributes that society automatically ties to your character. I often ask myself, why are we inclined to make a woman’s cleavage the butt of a joke? Why do we as a society latch on to one asset, sexualize it, and feel the need to draw everyone’s attention to it and bring down the one it belongs to?

woman wearing red high heels with white socks that say girls rule
Pexels / CoWomen

The notion that one comment can lessen a woman and her accomplishments to just one part of her body can drive you mad if you overthink it as I have.  

I am not my breasts. My accomplishments and personality are not hanging off my chest. Yet, I embrace my boobs because I know better than to let society sexualize me for one of the many beauties of womanhood.

So, let’s talk about boobs. Breasts have been around since the actual beginning of humankind, and news flash — everyone has them. To those buzzing about cleavage, all I have to say is get a LIFE (or a biology textbook for all that I care). Boobs are a body part. A fantastic one too, but so are eyes, legs, arms, and fingers. And more importantly, it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters.

Body-shaming is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.” Sadly, there’s no solution for this behavior other than being unsatisfied with what we see within ourselves and then deflecting our insecurities onto a given target. It has taken me years to understand and accept body-shaming motives, especially the shaming that comes from other women. But, my advice is to embrace your assets and never let anyone make you feel guilty about loving yourself and what God gave you.  

To those women who think it is funny to make a boob pun and get a few chuckles from bystanders, you are part of the problem. Your contribution does not help women with larger assets who battle body shaming on a daily basis. 

So what do we do? Hide them and make ourselves invisible as I did throughout high school with oversized sweatshirts that touched my knees? 

beige bikini bra top
Photo by @thiszun from Pexels

Oh, hell no! Be proud of your breasts, no matter what size they are, and do not let them define you. Embrace the beauty of being a woman without tearing down the beauty of others. 

Natalie is a freshman at Santa Clara University majoring in political science. She is an avid skier, devout A's fan, adrenaline junky, and bee enthusiast who loves to bake and spend time with her family. Her catchphrase is: It's silly not to send it.
Meghana Reddy is the Campus Correspondent for the SCU chapter of Her Campus. Currently, she is a 4th year student pursuing a Major in Neuroscience and Minor in Computer Science. Meghana is passionate about women in entrepreneurship, consulting, healthcare, women's health, and dogs! In her free time, she loves to travel, try new foods, and practice yoga!