Image: photography by Ashley Armitage. Image Source.
Boobs, titties, hooters, jugs, whatever you call them, they’re more than tissue and mammary glands. Our breasts, for better or worse, form a critical part of our identity. Historically politicised, breasts and nipples are controversial because they are such an obvious physical manifestation of what people consider gender to be. We are taught to feel torn between covering them and revealing them, and despite their incredible capability to feed newborns, they are frequently shamed for doing so publicly. In this five-part miniseries I’m speaking with Australians about breasts. I’ve chosen five women who have had complex and different relationships with their breasts. Hopefully it forms a kind of boob-focused time capsule; a cross-section of experiences and attitudes toward breasts in the early 21st century.
In this third piece in the Breast Friends series I spoke with Ella, a primary school teacher who wishes to remain anonymous.
Bri: What do you think about breasts, generally speaking? Important? Beautiful? Annoying?
Ella: I think that breasts are different for everyone. I think that they are beautiful and also annoying at the same time they are kind of like a two edge sword.
Bri: Please tell me about your breasts.
Ella: I have had a love/hate relationship with my breasts. When I was growing up everything seemed fine until one just didn’t develop and the other one did quite quickly. It was embarrassing and made school a bit difficult. I was self conscious about it and tried to hide it. I tried to wait it out to see if something would change but it never did so I decided to do something about it.
Bri: Do you want to change your breasts from how they are now? Or have you already changed them from some other, original state?
Ella: I did change them from their original state. I had a implant in one side to even them up. It wasn’t an easy decision and it most definitely wasn’t an easy recovery but I am definitely happy that I did do it.
Bri: How do your breasts impact your your life and sense of self?
Ella: Now they don’t really have an impact on my life (only when running or at the gym). I am definitely more confident but I know that they aren’t the only thing that I have.
Bri: Have you ever had an intimate partner express a strong opinion about-, or have a reaction to- your breasts (positive or negative)? How did that make you feel?
Ella: Because I had the reconstruction done before I finished school not many (if any) really saw them in their original state. I have never really had a negative reaction towards them but again they are never really the be all and end all when I am with a partner.
Bri: Do you wear a bra? How does underwear make you feel?
Ella: I most definitely wear a bra. For me underwear (especially bras) is just something that you have to wear. I very rarely go out without a bra on.
Read the previous instalment in the series: