Yes, let’s talk about the B word. No, not cup B, probably around the C size section. Breasts, boobs, boobies, bosoms, bumpers, baby feeders, bazookas, B1 and B2 – are just a few of the terms to call the human mammary glands. Go to www.urbandictionary.com and you’ll end up with 99 word searches, most of which extremely derogatory, and some I can’t even begin to pronounce!
Why the topic? Well, why not? That, and the fact that it’s almost breast cancer month. Plus, if you’ve met me, you’ll probably know why, lol! Every day of my life since I gave birth to these babies in high school, I’ve been objectified, groped, mocked, ridiculed, judged, and discriminated against. Every time I ask the manong guards for directions in the mall, they always talk to me like my eyes are on my chest. I always have to direct their eyes with my hand and say, “Manong! Up here!” There was a time when I was using a payphone to call home, and I saw a dad holding his kid by the fountain and he almost fell on the ground while trying to catch a glimpse of, well you know what. I hoped his wife was there to see what happened. Just a few weeks ago, while I was being introduced to a hotel’s GM, I saw him staring at my chest while shaking my hand. Ugh! I wanted to poke his eyes, super gross! Given that they are men, it is somewhat understandable. “Breasts are an elemental force to men, the strength of which women may recognize but not fully comprehend,” says Men’s Health magazine in one of its articles, “What Women Want You To Know About Their Breasts.” But even my friends would react about them; while having lunch they’d always scream at me to cover my chest because it is disturbing them. “Dude! I’m eating here!” and I’d be “WTF! I’m not doing anything!” Breasts, I guess they attract and repel.
Women who are flat chested would always comment how they wish they have bigger ones. I would always reply “I wish I had yours!” If you only knew the perils big breasted women have to go through each day. Aside from being groped in public places, there are everyday things we wish would have been different. It is so hard to find a decent pair of brassieres, and for some reason almost all brands have foams in them. Thank God for minimizers! I cried when I could no longer fit a cup B. Women who have heavy chests usually develop back problems and bad posture. I can’t count the times people asked me to straighten my back. Ever try carrying a back pack on your front? That’s how it feels like. Oh, the gym? I once went to do circuit training and my coach could barely look at me while I did the reps. No amount of sports bra can hide their prominence. Every t-shirt makes you look like you swallowed two baby heads. And anything we wear makes us look indecent. And don’t even get me started on menstrual cycles.
Even with all the negativity related to big breasts, no one can deny their “power.” Breasts have sold magazines in billions, movie and TV screens make money off of them, underwear and swimsuit companies have made a living from them. Cosmetic surgeons are now celebrities because of breasts. And for some women, they acquire vast amounts of wealth by just knowing how to harness their power and use them on men. And of course, breasts do break hearts and marriages.
In the book Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality written by Christopher Ryan, PhD and Cacilda Jethá, MD, it explains that breasts, in their prehistoric function, act as a swelling signal device that announce youth and fertility in women. They’re like billboard advertising to men that women are ready for ovulation and more than capable of rearing a child. Size does matter, because the fuller they are the more “power” they hold.
The other day, I heard from a friend that nowadays, in order for you to have the staying power in Philippine show business, you have to have “boobs” or if you don’t, you better get yourself a pair. Apparently, almost all the women who stayed long in Philippine cinema or the ones who became popular in showbiz are the ones who have got a nice pair of racks. Of course I was already gearing up to argue but then again, as I count the popular showbiz personalities today, I can’t name one who is actually flat chested.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Plastic Surgery Statistics 2014 Report, breast augmentation continues to be the top cosmetic surgical procedure and has been since 2006. Just goes to show women know what “breasts” can do and they are all willing to harness them. Some motivations range from simply fighting off gravity, post-pregnancy constructive surgery, or some just want to look better. Men who are transitioning as women even get a pair for themselves.
They say “with great racks come great responsibilities.” If you know what your boobs can do, you should also know your responsibility towards them. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Filipino women because of late detection. In Southeast Asia, our country has the highest incidence of breast cancer. Education and early detection play a big role if anyone wants to survive it. And believe me, treatment for it is not cheap; I have a friend who is currently looking for ways to help fund her mom’s treatment.
The other day, Issa Litton was showing me a concept hand gesture she wanted to use for a breast cancer campaign for ICanServe Foundation (ICanServe is founded by four breast cancer survivors led by journalist Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Crisann Celdran, Becky Fuentes and Bet Lazatin. The foundation provides guidance and help to women with breast cancer by promoting early breast cancer detection and community-based screening programs), and she said, “Tatum, do this.” She asked me to put my two hands under my chest, like cupping my boobs but at the same time about to rock a baby. Then she asked me to put up my two hands and make them meet in the middle. They then formed what looked like a breast cancer ribbon. It’s a hand gesture that symbolizes support for breast cancer awareness in the country. Just like HIV and AIDS, it is good to know your status. Get educated, get examined, and get people aware. I like how ICanServe Foundation named one of its programs – Ating Dibdibin. Remember to “Take Your Breast Care To Heart.”
On October 6, ICanServe Foundation and Marie France collaborate for #FashionCanServe to debut the holiday collections of Lulu Tan Gan, Kristel Yulo, Maureen Disini-Teichert, Eric delos Santos, Rhett Eala and Rajo Laurel for the benefit of women at risk of or diagnosed with breast cancer. For tickets, call Charette at +63977 186 3463.
For comments, suggestions and violent reactions, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For my crazy life’s adventures, follow me at @tatumancheta in Instagram and Twitter.