I thought very hard about this before I put pen to paper, but I feel like I need to discuss an issue that is quite close to my heart.
So let’s talk about boobs.
Big boobs, little boobs, any boobs you want. Some women are proud of their boobs, others are ashamed. There are a lot of body positive articles floating around the internet for them, and also a lot of body shaming going on. Women talk about boobs, men talk about boobs, hell the human race survived on boobs for a looooong time before bottles were invented. Say what you want, boobs are a big issue.
Why mention boobs here and why now?
I decided to bring up the subject of boobage as a result of attending the Glasgow Film and Comic Con this weekend. I was surprised by the number of female cosplayers, quite happily squeezing their breasts into outfits that were far too small for them and then getting annoyed by the unwanted attention.
I know, I know, this is a loaded statement, but give me some time to try to explain the issue I have with this and hopefully we can have a sensible debate about it mmkay?
A lot of attention has been given in recent times about the way male gamers/comic bookers/cosplayers treat female counterparts, in that a lot of them treat us females like secondary citizens. We are defined by our bodies, not by our talents or our knowledge and should we stand up for ourselves, more often than not, the man reacts in a typical manner that either involves internet trolling telling said female she deserves to be raped, or our outrage is demeaned with reference to our periods (anybody who has worked in a testosterone infused environment will know that this is sadly, a rather familiar story)
But at what point does the scale tip from it being the fault of ignorant men to poorly informed choices of women?
For example, this weekend at the Comic Con, I saw at least three different incarnations of Harley Quinn. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good excuse to dress up as Harley Quinn myself. The costumes I saw were mostly home made, but involved bobs being squeezed into clothes far too small, skirts being very short and a lot of Harley Quinn girls being very angry as a result. (I also want to point out; some of these girls were definitely under the age of 16).
This was sad to see to be honest. Cosplaying should be fun; it should be a showcase of your love for a character and your ability to create a damn good interpretation of it, the whole shebang.
So why do we as women feel the need to reveal as much skin as possible, and feel ashamed if we choose not to because maybe we don’t like our backside?
It’s easy to turn around and say “Men objectify us! We demand respect!” and be damn affronted when we don’t get that respect, but is it unreasonable to expect us to respect ourselves?
So you’re saying it’s ok if we are raped/sexually harassed if we dress this way?
Hell no, that is not what I am saying and people that jump to this conclusion are usually incredibly over sensitive on this point. I am in no way saying cover up; I am in no way saying dressing a certain way is encouraging sexually aggressive behaviour. Any man, or woman, who thinks its ok to be sexually aggressive in any form to another person has serious issues and needs to be educated/imprisoned/castrated.
But we as women also need to stop perpetuating this idea that having the most amazing body with the most amazing tits is going to get you farther ahead in life. It really won’t. Encouraging young people to squeeze into inappropriate outfits because you should be ‘proud of what yo momma gave ya’ is irresponsible.
(I define inappropriate as wrongly sized, or even age appropriate given what I saw at the weekend).
Dressing in a certain manner does not mean you deserve to be sexually harassed or sexually assaulted.
Why should we change? They have the problem!
Your attitude about your body ties in with how you represent yourself to others, which leaves you open to the wrong interpretation by other people.
Let me tell you a story and the lesson I learned…
I have large breasts. For a long time, almost 7 years, I was in a relationship where I was encouraged and pressured to behave a certain way because of this fact. When I wised up to the whole idea that I was actually being mistreated and I was misrepresenting myself, and I tried to change his attitude, I was told I had the problem.
I had to lighten up.
I had the bad attitude.
Well no, he had the rotten attitude, I tried to change it. He didn’t change his idea of me so I disconnected myself from him and the peer group I had become close to as a result of my relationship with him.
It was hard but I soon surrounded myself with people who had a much more positive outlook on life and where having big boobs wasn’t what defined me.
This was a few years ago now, hard to think I was with someone like that for so long. But in the years that have passed I have come to realise that it wasn’t just his attitude, it was my own too.
I didn’t have great self-esteem, it was a lot of puffing up and I chose my breasts as my focal point as I thought it was funny at the time. But if I as a women, value myself on my own physical appearance, that is how other people will value me.
I mean if I walk into a room and say “Hey I’m Caroline! I have huge tits!” do you honestly think anyone will want to hear about my education level, my career prospects or chat intellectually with me?
Of course they won’t. They’ll see a daft girl, who shows off her tits and expects respect for it.
Sorry ladies, time to get real about this. We will not be respected more by “embracing” our bodies this way.
If you choose to cosplay, and choose to crush your breasts into a teeny tiny corset three sizes too small then expect to be validated on your talent when you are telling people “Hey, look at me I have boobs!” it isn’t going to happen.
However, dressing for your shape, dressing for your age, dressing in line with how YOU want to be seen by others will help combat the sexist and deplorable attitudes by some people.
We can no longer perpetuate the idea that we need to reveal flesh and behave a certain way to be accepted. It reinforces the outdated attitudes for the next generation of cosplayers/gamer/comic bookers.
We cannot expect attitudes of the males to change if we cannot change our own. Sadly many people haven’t really thought about it this way as the blame always seems to lie with the opposite sex. But when did we, as women, simply accept that showing off our boobs (Or any part of our bodies) would earn brownie points with others?
We need to do more to deal with it at an intellectual level rather than resort to being angry behind a key board and expect it to change.
Men and boys need to be educated in ways to treat women. There does need to be more influence over these poor attitudes from parents and role models about how to compliment a woman without resorting to sexually inappropriate discussions.
But role models also need to be responsible in teaching the next generation of young women about what is the best way to represent them. And I don’t mean the best way to represent themselves to men, but to people in general. To society.
If we choose to objectify ourselves we cannot object to others doing it as well.
By saying this, I understand a lot of people will believe that I am being particularly negative. It’s not my intention.
This is merely an observational piece taken from personal, poor experience and conclusions drawn from Comic Con.
I would really like to hear other people’s views on this, so feel free to comment but let’s try to keep it tasteful ok? Anything nasty or troll-like will be removed.