Growing Up Like Skipper: On Breasts & Objectification

pamelax-wide-communityBy Diahann Reyes

When you have breasts that are larger than “average” (whatever that really means) even people you don’t know—males, in particular—automatically assume they have permission to comment on your boobs—“Nice tits! BIG BREASTED! Playboy-like, even”—and can touch them just because they feel like it…

Because of the way my body looked, some of my classmates thought I was sexually experienced even though I’d never been kissed yet. My date, whom I’d asked to a Sadie Hawkins Dance, stayed a polite arm’s length away from me all night, later explaining, “Girls like you probably want more than I’m ready to give.” I’d just been hoping that maybe he would hold my hand.

An excerpt from “Growing Up Like Skipper: On Breasts & Objectification”

This post from “Stories from the Belly” might surprise both envious women and men who have mistaken notions about how larger-breasted women experience their bodies.

Read more here:

Stories From the Belly

My first Barbie was a Growing Up Skipper doll. Skipper is Barbie’s younger sister.

A gift from one of my aunts during the 1970’s, my Skipper doll wasn’t an ordinary doll. Living up to her name, she could “grow” from girl to young woman in an instant. All you had to do was take her arms and wind them forward in a circular motion. Not only would she grow taller but her bust would get bigger. Wind her arms in the opposite direction and all of her would shrink back to original size.

At age 6, all I knew was that I had a “2-for-1” doll. Growing Up Skipper even came with an extra outfit for her older self to wear, and she had a tank top that doubled as a bathing suit.  Now, when I look back I am able to see how this doll was sexualized—just like when…

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 16, 2014, in body image, feminism, objectification, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. My wife has large breasts (34 or 36 DD depending on the bra), and has often complained about it. She would much prefer to be a C cup, and has told me she would like breast reduction surgery. I guess It’s selfish on my part, but I’ve always discouraged her from it because I like her breasts the way they are. She complains about discomfort and finding tops that fit correctly, although she has never complained nor mentioned being objectified when she was younger.

    Now that she is middle aged and nature (gravity) has taken its toll, I still adore her breasts because they are a part of her, and she is the woman I love. I just can’t imagine cosmetic surgery… Am I being selfish?

    • Men often want their wives to stay however they are. Some don’t want the rights to get implants. Others don’t want them to get reductions. And yeah, if it’s a health issue it does seem kind of selfish.

  2. I definitely think that women who do have big breasts..wether fake or real..are more sexualized than women with small breasts. I remember this girl who was in my fifth grade class who must have had size 34 C breasts at age 10. People in my class started saying she was sexy and slutty. Looking back at it what on earth were 5th graders doing saying those things to their peers. That poor girl must have hated that she matured so quickly. I don’t think its fair for women to be sexualized by her breast size, we don’t sexualize men based of their penis size..or i guess just not as much due to the fact that its not really visible.

    • I have heard so many stories like that. It’s so sad that the young girl’s body is just developing naturally as she gets slut-shamed for it.

      And yeah, I saw a study that showed that the bigger a girl’s breasts were the more sexually experienced people thought she was, and the least intelligent. The smaller her bust, the more intelligent she seemed and the least sexual. And yet intelligence and sexuality actually have nothing to do with how big your breasts are.

  3. The objectification on its own removes power from women. All of the sudden, a woman is just a 2 dimensional representation of sex. However, when used for mutual sexual satisfaction and/or breastfeeding, and comfort, breasts are powerful. In my mind, there is a difference between viewing women’s breasts as sexually desirable body parts on the one hand, and viewing them as sexually desirable body parts whose primary purpose is to be held up for others’ consumption–to be looked at, played with, and enjoyed mainly by others.The first thing that I thought when I read this was that I don’t really want breasts to be a symbol of anything. I just want society to get over boobs and move on. They’re cool in that they can serve a dual purpose, but I think if people just stopped making such a big deal about them, they could just be a normal way to feed a baby. Of course, having big breast is beautiful but in our society nowadays people make such a big deal out of it that’s crazy. I like women with beautiful hands, another body part that works in amazing ways, but no one ever gives a second thought to, like legs or something. I think we should learn to enjoy everything about a women, not only her breast.

  4. Everyone in my family is rather large breasted. I, however, am not. I was never jealous of this, because growing up i noticed that they tended to be objectified more than me, and i felt bad for them. I think males objectifying a part of a woman’s body is incredibly degrading and ultimately disrespectful. It makes the women feel just as a mere sex object, and not taken seriously.

  5. It reminded me of one of my friends who were trying to make her breast look bugger than average. She thought that men assess women through the size of breast, which is not always not true, I think. Although some men would object women’s breast, men do not judge or assess entire part of women through their breasts. For this reason, women do not need to care about their breasts too much. Yet, it is the problem that men object women’s bodies.

  6. My best friend has been uncomfortable with her breast size for a while. She complains that they sometimes hurt her back. She’s lost some weight, which has helped a little. She’s having breast reduction surgery soon. While I think some of it is because of perceived societal pressures, I really do think the main reason she’s having it done is so that she can feel healthy and not be in pain. I know she’s done a lot of growing up this past year, now being in college. I’m glad she waited to make this decision. Ultimately, I’m happy for her if it makes her feel confidant and sure of herself. It’s nice to see that she’s at a point where she feels like she can take charge of herself.

  7. I definitely think that this objectification of women’s breasts is being popularized by the help of media. As we can see from the advertisement posters and billboards all around the world, women are categorized as beautiful or sexy by having a skinny and curvy body, with addition of big breasts. We, as a human being, are taught by the society with this idea, and therefore it is very hard to change one’s perspectives, especially the objectification of big breasts. Also, I believe that the objectification of big breasts as sexy, has something to do with role of pornography. Almost all porn stars, for example, have a really huge breasts, which is considered as bigger than the normal.

  8. Khaoula Mouman

    It’s sad that we live in a world where people automatically assume that because a person has features that are larger than “average” that they are experienced. It doesn’t even make sense to think so, our assets barely have anything to do with the kind of person we are and how far we choose to go sexually. It’s almost like saying those with bigger heads are smarter, that’s absurd.

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