The title says it all. Yes I know this is meant to be a happy smiley blog post, but this issue has been bugging me.
I am not a small girl -- chest wise. In the attributes department I would be classed as a 34-"well, hello nurse!" Since the age of 15, I have literally battled with two appendages, that if they were attached to men, would be in medical journals -- but as I am am not, they are counted as things to be stared and commented on. The thing is, compared to the average size of breasts in the UK, they aren't excessively oversized -- In the UK the average cup size was 36DD, (and breast size is increasing, up from a 34B, 11 years ago). Britain is blooming in a wonderful way.
What has this got to do with running? Well, as most female runners will tell you, when you run, you have to bind those puppies down. Double-down on the bra's, buy specialist bra's, there are even Boob-band's to stop the swaying. I have done all of the above because I had this notions that I needed support to prevent muscle strains, or bruising, (I honestly don't know what rationale I was using) -- stupid idea's that we are all fed by advertisers and magazines. Those mammogry glands need to be kept stationary peeps, for your own protection. It's running law! Are there Boob-Cops? I bet Netflix has a show on it.
Over, the last few weeks I have been run/wallking on a treadmill at home. As I mentioned last time, I am usually wearing nothing more than my underpants, and a t-shirt... and a bralette. (It has all the support of a democrat voter at a Trump rally. It has been my curtesy at wearing a bra when the postman knocks on the door.) I am sure a sexy scene -- Runners World, photo shoots eat your heart out. I bet I could do a fantastic alternative cover shoot if needed -- like Celeste Barber.
Yet, did my chest muscles all collapse in a heap? Nope. Did I get two black eyes from the excessive bouncing? Nope -- In fact where is the bouncing? Did society collapse? Nope. Did Aliens invade? Nope -- bit sad on that, we could do with a dose of Doctor Who about now. Okay, so what is the hang-up about the boobs and running?
Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking about this, and I have come to the conclusion -- It's because of some men and their inability to cope with boob-wobble. Women have been binding themselves, in some type of medieval practise because some men can't cope with the idea that boobs will wobble whilst women run.
I have just watched the rousing congress speech by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez yesterday in response to the apologies by Congressman Ted Yoho. It struck a cord, women -myself included- have been called names and will continue to be called names by men when we don't do what they want. She inspired me. I finally had to write this shit down. My Boob-wobble pot of anger had boiled over. Again, another Netflix show in the making.
You see, I quite often run with my teenage son in the room, and I have had to reprimand him to stop interfering with my run -- by showing me meme video's or doing silly dances, or trying to distract me with showing me Terraria biomes. Not once has he mentioned anything about how I look whilst I run -- he doesn't care what wobbles and jiggles; what I show, or don't show.
However, contrast that with other experiences I have had running. Running outdoors on my own, or in a gym, where I get wolf-whistles or glared at -despite being an over-forty, unfit, jogger. Men shout and toot their car horns. The troubling incident at a local Parkrun I used to attend, where one man used to make comments to me about which outfits he wish he could see me in to run. Or asking me to do an extra-run-up to the finish on a costume day -I thought so he could take a photo for the event- so he could see my boobs wobble in my costume. How I felt powerless to make a complaint because he was popular, so I started going less.
In running, do women double-up on bras, or buy extra-supportive bra's or boob-bands not for their own health, but because they want to prevent situations where comments will be made that make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe? Over the last few weeks I realised that I have the extra-supportive bra's, the boob-bands and the loose shirts for outdoor running, not because I need them medically, but I need the emotionally -- to protect myself from the potential of being cat-called. Just like I won't run at night, or run in places that are quiet, or run on trails alone. I do this to protect myself. I protect myself from all those who might hurt me emotionally -- who have in the past overwhelmingly been men.
So, whilst this isn't the upbeat Be Happy post, it is strong and defiant. FUCK THE PATRIARCHY! We should be able to embrace our boob-wobble if we want to. Men should grow a pair (and have the freedom to run with them flapping and jiggling in their shorts for everyone to see without comment).
I am happy, that I have a son who, when I run, cares more about showing me meme's than commenting that my boobs are wobbling -- that the idea hasn't even crossed his mind. I am happy that I do have a place where I can finally run happy, boob-wobble and everything. I just know that I am privileged to be able to have it -- now if we can just get that freedom for everyone.