Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross, is an actress best known for her role as Joan on the hit TV series, Girlfriends. As she notes below, she has also become known for her decision not to wear a bra. WU readers, have you had similar experiences in having to defend decisions you make about your physical appearance?
September 27, 2012
I’m often asked online why I don’t wear bras. It’s a strange question, usually followed by something about how I need to “lift ’em up.”
I realize I’m not the only person faced with odd or inappropriate “comments” left on their photos; nor am I the only person confronted by this modern issue of boob placement.
Bras and our ever evolving breasts are a topic I often hear discussed by women. Just the other day at the gym, a woman asked me if she should get a lift because –as she put it –she was pushing 40 and after two kids, she just wanted to feel sexy again. Though her husband was against it, she was still clearly struggling with the decision (after all, she was asking the opinion of a complete stranger). I think that the new norm of fake boobs has confused us all. We have forgotten what real boobs look like.
I believe our bodies are sacred and wise and beautiful. I’m drawn to anything “natural,” and so, I love boobs of all shapes and sizes: big, small, sloppy, raisins, tits, milk-duds, fake, real, flat, bra or no bra. I call my breasts “boobs,” but if I was looking at my breasts from the outside I would probably refer to them as tits. I think my tits are quite pretty and I like where God placed them. They are teardrop-shaped, which is to say they’re bottom heavy. They make me feel French and I think French women are sexy. The chest of a French woman is gorgeous. They call it la poitrine, and to me it’s one of the most elegant parts of a woman’s body.
To be clear, I have nothing against fake breasts. Though some do look painful and out of place in my eyes, what you choose to do with your body is your choice. That said, fake breasts seem to be the norm nowadays, a new aesthetic that has lead to some confusion —it’s as if people have forgotten that breasts don’t naturally protrude from your neck. Even designers have been forced to reshape their patterns to match the ever-changing placement of the female breast.
A fake breast is different from a natural breast. A fake breast often sit differently on the chest, higher up, almost fruit-like. Fake breasts don’t always need a bra to sit up. They’re just perky on their own and when you lay on your back they look just like they do when you’re standing up.
A natural breast is more like a raw or very softly boiled egg. Depending on the size of your natural breasts, or your age, or how many children you’ve had, natural breasts can shift positions depending on where you move, and can even go under your arm or flat like a pancake. Mine sit up cute when I’m standing and fall flat like a raw egg when I’m on my back. There are brassieres that transform my low boobs into round, fake-looking bazongas. These brassieres are said to “ magically ‘transform’ you”, but, truth be told they’re more like torture devices, pulling your flesh into places it never intended to go.
I have, on numerous occasions, been confronted by other people’s discomfort with my breasts (and not just online). I had a horrid audition experience where the casting director actually made someone in her office take off their own push-up bra for me to wear because she did not like where my breasts were sitting. Apparently, the whereabouts of my breasts were key to my acting skills!
I’ve had long conversations with my manager about my breasts or, as she calls them, “the girls.” I’ve had to defend their placement, as she suggested I should wear a “better bra,” alluding to the fact that others have made comments about my breasts to her. These experiences gave me pause: I felt hurt, reduced to an object, a pair of tits — tits that were, apparently, un-cast-able.
Of course, I’m an actress and my body is my instrument, so a certain amount of discussion about my body is expected. This is the business I have chosen. But, I feel that some things are just not meant for other people’s comments. I mean, whether your breasts were positioned by God, Mother Nature or our gene pool,short of getting a “boob-job” it’s something you just can’t control
I remember in grade school I made a comment about my teacher wearing the same clothes two days in a row. My mom explained that there are just certain things we might notice about other people that don’t need to be said out loud. Most of us learn early on that it is not kind to make fun of difference and that if we don’t have anything nice to say, it’s best to say nothing. As the saying goes, “opinions are like assholes: we all have them.”
While it’s certainly an individual choice when and how to comment in life, and on what, online anonymity means that people can throw their words out without taking responsibility for them. It’s as if the computer screen has made us forget that we’re talking about actual, real people here.
As breasts are redefined and as we express ourselves, I hope we can all remain mindful of what we’re saying or typing, and that we consider what we are about to say and ask ourselves if it is constructive or helpful. “Should that be coming from me?” “Is it necessary?” “How would I feel if someone said that to me?”
Let’s also remember that we all come in different shapes and sizes, and that beauty cannot be defined by a single category. And let’s remember that the drop and movement of a natural breast is wonderfully sexy.
If fake breasts are what you choose, more power to you. But if you decide to cherish your natural breasts as they become wiser with time, I celebrate you, too!
You can find the original post on her website here: http://traceeellisross.com/inspiration/a-culture-confused-by-fake-boobs/