Ask an Actual Human Woman™: A New Column
It seems that some of you are confused. I have answers.
As many of you know, I wrote a story about having big boobs, and the body shaming that sometimes goes along with them. I got a lot of positive feedback, but another curious thing happened: men started to express confusion. These men were confused, they said, because they are sexually attracted to big tits, so what did I have to complain about?
Before I go further, let me say a little prayer: God, please grant me the confidence of a man on the Internet who believes that as long as he is attracted to something, it’s an objectively good thing. Think of what I could do with that type of confidence? I would publish every story, no matter how scatterbrained. I would ask every cute guy out, and when they said no I would just ask again. I’d tell people how to do their jobs. I’d loudly proclaim at dinner parties that the President doesn’t know what he’s doing, because the solutions to all the world’s problems are just so obvious.
Okay, back to the point: This column is inspired by a confused man in particular who left a comment on this story, in which the writer had a tiny meltdown that my boob story did well. (Ed. note: I have been informed that this story has been edited since I threw some elbows in the comments, so I don’t know if it still reads like a toddler after nine hours at an amusement park.) The confused commenter also had a tiny meltdown, and wrote: I’m so sick of women and people in general truewho [sic] curse their blessing. The curse of beauty, the curse of a hot body it’s so repulsive. Millions of women would switch places is instant without hesitation. Life is a struggle for everyone, stop complaining when you’re blessed.
Lisa L. Kirchner, bless her, responded to the confused guy commenter and tried to explain this concept: just because he was attracted to something didn’t mean that the object of the attraction was having a good time, or was happy with the thing that he found attractive. But around the second paragraph of her comment she seemed to realize the futility of it all, threw up her hands and told him that if he was confused he could just ask “an actual human woman.”
And people, a light bulb went off. The world needs a column written by an Actual Human Woman™ (AHW™) who will answer all your questions. Because sometimes it’s hard to gain access to an AHW™ in real life, so here I am. Ask me anything, and send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The column will publish as often as questions come in. We’re on a rolling basis, folks. As an AHW™ I like to keep things unpredictable.
For the inaugural column, I am putting the confused man’s question (he didn’t know he had a question, but he does) to a special guest, Alice Kim, the founder of PerfectDD, a clothing line created for women who have big boobs but a small frame. Alice created PerfectDD because the clothing industry simply ignores all the women with huge boobs, who aren’t otherwise plus-sized. We have to buy shirts and dresses three sizes up and then schlep to the tailor to make them fit right, and Alice, who worked as an investment banker and a fashion executive, knows this struggle first hand as someone sporting a 32DD chest.
Alice, as an AHW™ can you explain to this confused man why a large chest might be difficult to deal with even if men are attracted to large boobs?
Alice Kim: First, I think we need to take a step back and acknowledge that no one wants to have the real conversation about big boobs in the first place. I recently got off the phone with a PR firm who didn’t know what to do with my company, because they couldn’t categorize my customers: they aren’t plus-sized, but they don’t fit into regular sizing either, because for some reason clothes just aren’t made (until now) with large breasts in mind. It’s like large-chested women don’t exist, unless we are being hyper-sexualized or body-shamed. My mission is to change the conversation about big boobs, and I felt your story was a great and honest contribution to that conversation.
As for the confused commenter guy, it’s sadly a relatively typical response. Some men short-circuit when they see big boobs, and over-sexualize us as a result. I don’t know if their executive brain function just stops working, but their analysis seems to stop there. But the issue is so much more complex: women with big boobs can have an awful time in the workplace, not only because they are often seen as Jessica Rabbit-types by both men and women, but because they can’t find professional clothes that fit, adding to the problem. They have to choose between being frumpy, or something tight and body-skimming which only contributes to the hyper-sexualization of big breasts. So I would tell the confused commenter guy that what he sees as pleasing and attractive can still bring all sorts of headaches for women, often when they are just trying to make a living. I know this first-hand from my years as an investment banker at Bear Stearns, and later as fashion executive. Getting dressed in the morning was a pretty weighted experience.
And if we are going to commit to having a truthful conversation about what it’s like to have big boobs, we also have to acknowledge that the body-shaming is often worse coming from other women. While men sometimes simply revert to their most elemental selves, other women sometimes see women with big boobs as being too sexual on purpose. This was the other point of your story that really resonated with me — because most of the people who commented on your photo were women.
But I know that for the most part women want to support other women, so they may not be conscious of how hurtful some of their comments are. A lot of friends, and I know you’ve told me this happened to you too, try to do “good deeds” by taking us shopping to find clothes that will cover us up completely. This ultimately makes us look frumpy and completely non-sexual, which is also not the point. I launched PerfectDD because I want to be a woman who uplifts other women, and I wanted to provide a solution to a problem that no one else admits exists. I want to make dressing easy for women, so they can focus on being a boss.
Thanks, Alice! My friendship with Alice is one of the wonderful things that grew out of the boob story, not only because she makes clothes I can wear when I go back to the office, but because she gets it. PerfectDD really does have some cute stuff — lots of classics with pretty details, while not chasing trends — and no, I’m not getting paid to say any of this! I just think it’s cool that I met someone who saw a problem and decided to slay it. I’m frustrated on her behalf that it’s still so hard to have this conversation, but we’re obviously on our way, and I’m thrilled she could be the first AHW™ to answer a question.
For the rest of you, please send in your questions for an Actual Human Woman™ whenever inspiration strikes. And if I, an AHW™ cannot answer it I will certainly find an AHW™ who can.
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