Response to The Year I Grew Wildly, While Men Looked On:
I read this on my 39th birthday, and did it bring back unhappy memories. Cup A bras at 10, periods at 12, cup B bras at 12, and a cup C at 15. I was up to 1 foot taller than my contemporaries, and people always thought I was 3 years older.
Are you familiar with the concept of projection in psychoanalysis? Basically, you have men lusting after women/female children, and as they won’t admit they lack control of their desires, they project it on the women/female children, accusing them of trying to seduce them, being nymphomaniacs, Lolitas, not being covered enough etc. It’s a fantasy many men cherish as well: take the Mike Oldfield song ‘A Family Man’, the plot is about a guy who gets an indecent proposal from the young girl he’s interviewing for a job. I like the song, but I am always baffled by it, because the reverse situation (girl attending a job interview and having to put up with inappropriate behaviour from the interviewer – trying to remain polite while wondering ‘Right, I need a job, but what would happen if I got this job and had to work with this guy?’) is much more common. The feeling of betrayal is particularly bad when that attitude comes from a teacher: you hoped to be remarked for your intelligence by this married guy who could be your father, whose daughter is only a couple of years younger than you, and, lo and behold, he is only interested in your boobs and booty.
The worst when I was growing up was my mother’s attitude. She accused me of ‘touching myself up’ (she thought this was the reason behind my ‘premature’ puberty and ‘oversized’ breasts) and of ‘attracting men like carrion attracts flies’. She would yell insults like that to me in public, and I would be so ashamed I wanted to disappear into the ground, not realising it must have been obvious to our audience that she was mentally ill. My school colleagues would tag after us on the street and in the shops in the hope of witnessing her outbursts. She also visited doctors in the hope of finding one who would agree to have me ‘sprayed’, like a bitch, and some of them were more than willing to accept her accusations that I touched myself up and threatened me with FGM (which used to be practiced in Roman Catholic circles to ‘cure’ girls of touching up, whether real or supposed).
The result: near 40, never been in a relationship, and it took me decades (literally) to accept my body (breasts + periods). Until my late 20’s, I actually wanted a mastectomy (which I couldn’t afford), and toyed with the idea of gender reassignment surgery. My GP spent quite a lot of time explaining that I have the kind of breasts most women wish for and that all the snarky comments (‘she must have breast implants, it’s not possible to have such big breasts with such thin arms’ and even ‘she will pay for it one day: with breasts that size, she is sure to get breast cancer’) stemmed from jealousy from my ‘sisters’.
Re the tight clothes, my GP says that baggy clothes are pretty useless anyway as women in their prime probably release pheronomes which affect men, especially around the ovulation period. It’s men who have to be educated.