The first time I was made to feel undesirable as a woman I was told that my breasts were too small. My friend’s breasts were the same size as mine, I was told, and that was hilarious because she was two years younger than me. I was 12.
Fast forward two years to my freshman year of high school at 14 years old. My breasts had grown practically overnight to a 36D. Someone I thought was my friend told me I looked like I was going to topple over. She also told me that I dressed the way I did for attention to my chest. I was in jeans and a turtleneck that day.
At the age of 14, I received a lot of unwarranted male attention due to my chest size and body type. I was walking in the Walmart parking lot with my mother, going to run mundane errands, when two men in a pickup truck stopped in front of us, blocking our path to the front door, in order to ogle at me and cat call out of the truck window. My mom, being the strong woman she always has been, yelled at them and threatened to call the cops. “She’s only 14! I can have you arrested for what’s going through your mind right now,” she yelled. Whether that’s legally true or not, the guys sped off, and I felt uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
In my 3rd year of my second university degree, I took a class on how to present professional presentations on the fly. Our peers and our professor would rate our presentations in writing on a paper littered with criteria to follow. The criteria included things like posture, voice clarity, word selection, timing, and dress. When I received the first set of feedback forms from my first presentation, I flipped through immediately to my professor’s sheet and went through her feedback. Under the “dress” section, I read, “Outfit too sexy for topic.” I was in black high-waisted dress pants and a thick white sweater. Nothing was see-through and there was no cleavage showing. I was 29 years old, and I was still being told that my body type is too sexy.
The criticism doesn’t stop there. From a young age, I was always villainized for being opinionated and uncensored. I’ve never been the kind of woman that sits back and doesn’t stand up for herself. I’ve also had people be genuinely surprised that I’m an intelligent person because they didn’t think it was possible for me to have both large breasts and a large brain.
The point that I am trying to make is that growing up as a woman is hard. You’re constantly pulled in so many different directions of how you should look, how you should act, and what you should do with your life. Self love is one of the most important things in this lifetime. Being happy and comfortable with your body and your mind can allow you to truly excel in life and do wonderful things. You don’t need to be certain size or talk a certain way in order to be successful. You just need to believe in yourself and believe that you are beautiful and good enough just the way you are.