My complicated relationship with my breasts started in the sixth grade. They started developing two years prior, but it was at this time when I truly began to notice the attention they gave me. I hated having large breasts. Whenever a friend commented how large they were, I would grow defensive and say they were indeed not big. In hindsight, this seems ridiculous, but most of my peers had small ones, and I, like many preteens, was not one to be the odd one out.
I don't know what size I was in junior high because I wore only sports bras. For some reason, "regular bras" intimidated me, and putting on a sports bra was just so convenient. Throughout high school, however, my attitude changed. I loved my large breasts, how they looked in different types of bras, and how I was always larger than a C cup. However, while it is nice to love your body, I know the reason I loved my breasts was because, with the combination of them and my slender frame, I fit into society's standard of "having a good body". I was not drop-dead gorgeous or anything like that, but it was nice for a while to easily find clothes in stores that fit me well (which everyone, regardless of size, should have the privilege of).
I definitely do not have that slender frame anymore as I move closer and closer to my 30th birthday, but I still do like my large cup size. Nonetheless, the one thing that has not changed since the sixth grade is the unwanted attention during the times I don't ask for it. Starting in high school, it was not being the odd one out that I didn't like, but the constant staring by people, mostly cis-boys and men, who were sexually attracted to them. I'm not talking about quick glances towards my chest. I'm talking wide eyes gawking at my boobies while not even attempting to make eye contact with me. If people weren't staring at them, they (both boys and girls) would talk about them behind my back. Our school's conservative uniforms usually hid the size of my breasts, but on days when we were out of uniform, some people were shocked that the small, shy, quiet girl had large breasts for her body.
While I did experience unease, I have to admit that I had (and still do) mixed feelings on people's views of my breasts. While I did not like the staring, I could not help but feel flattered by the compliments I heard. I truly believe that all breast sizes and shapes are beautiful, but dang, it is nice to hear a compliment.
However, the biggest burden of my life with large breasts has been the apathy from others when I express my discomfort from the staring. I remember several conversations, particularly as a teenager, where my friends would talk about how certain guys would make them uncomfortable when they do this or that, but whenever I brought up the wide eyes on my chest, the response would always be "well, you do have big boobs".
Again, I know that people are going to glance down talking to me, but the staring is hard to take. I cannot stand that throughout my life, people, again mostly boys and men, have felt entitled to stare at my chest and even make sexual comments on them. Every person should have the right to say what makes them feel uncomfortable. But because of the patriarchal idea that women's bodies are meant to be ogled at, men's arousal outweighs my need for comfort.
Look, it may not be entirely the fault of these guys. We have been living in a "boys will be boys" culture for generations. I am also excited to see that more and more people today are speaking out about being over-sexualized. I just want to say this: If you are staring at someone's body part, and that somebody says they don't appreciate it, for the love of God, look away quickly and apologize. You are not entitled to stare at any person's body without permission.