Are we breast-shaming our daughters?
... if we insist she wears a bra when her breast buds start to come in?
... if our first bra-shopping trip is to a mainstream bra department, mainly populated by padded, cupped and underwire bras?
... if we insist she wears a bra around the house?
... if we tell her she'll get saggy breasts without constant bra-wearing?
... if we tell her that she's "asking for it" if the outline of her nipples shows through her shirt?
... if we comment about the size or shape of her breasts?
The above are all very common mother-daughter interactions.
What would happen if we let go of the cultural notion that breasts need to be hidden?
Breasts are emblems of nature, little buds that grow into unique flowers. These flowers are part of a woman’s body for the rest of her life, and will change as she gets older.The impulse that these flowers should be tamped down, that breasts should be hidden by bras from a young age, is the same impulse that drives humans to disconnect from nature.
... writes Meagan Murphy of The Breast Archives.
[While wearing bra] is necessary to work within societal norms in some contexts, the home you share with your family can be a place of growth and comfortability.
So let's open up the option of going bra-free at home - and wherever else it's not absolutely mandatory.
Breast-positivity for daugther and yourself
Here are some suggestions to help you avoid breast-shaming and embrace breast-positivity:
- Listen to your daughter. Respect her body's wisdom as the source for her wants and needs.
- Encourage your daughter to experiment with different types of bras - and with being bra-free.
- Support your daughter's choice whether or not to wear a bra at home and other times when it's not socially mandatory.
- Encourage her to try different types of bras. Avoid padded bras and underwire bras since they are designed to disguise breasts. They are inherently breast-shaming.
- Have you heard of Nippies, silicone nipple covers? Until we've evolved past believing that the nipple outlines are socially unacceptable, these covers allow one to go bra-free but without wearing a loose or thick top.
- Speaking of tops! Help her try different types. Although we may reject the notion that breasts need to be hidden, we may find tops that allow for free breasts without trodding on cultural norms.
- Cultivate a relationship with your own breasts, and pass this on to your daughter. A very connecting and healthy practice is to massage one's breasts daily. Learn more from Meagan Murphy here.
What's your experience with breast-shaming and breast-positivity?
What did you like (or loathe) about what your mother said or did about your breasts?
How did your father respond when your breasts "arrived"?
What are some positive ways to respond to a girl who does not want to wear a bra? Do you believe that it's "Her body, her choice"?
How do we help our children honor and take charge of their bodies whilst navigating any trauma/shame that we may carry about our own bodies as well as the humungously negative cultural messages about breasts and bodies?