There’s something about Femme Breasts, or maybe it’s specifically Fat Femme Breasts, that always seems to cause a stir.
When I first came into my Femme identity, first discovered, embraced and queered the label, I discovered the power of cleavage. A Femme I admired and despised, ooh I can be trendy and use the word frienemy, taught me a few lessons and I soaked it all in. She was full figured, fat, chubby, whatever where are the lines? And she was gorgeous. She wore the best shirts. Looked like she’d been poured into them. She looked round and delicious and cleavagey. And once over beers she schooled me in the allure of breasts. I went out the next day and bought new a couple of new shirts. Low cut. Sparkly. Close fitting. No more baggy flowing shirts for me. I went out looking curvy and showcasing my breasts and I got all the butch attention I wanted. Bingo!
Now, about the girls… for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of admiring first hand… I’m not especially large breasted for a big grrl. I’m very much pear shaped, and while I do have beautiful breasts (let’s be honest here) I’m not stacked.
I still tend to wear revealing outfits. Many of my ‘going out’ shirts and dresses are low cut, some dangerously so. And that’s not counting my corsetted expeditions out. And I always get attention. But the curious part is the range of reactions I encounter. My breasts elicit a wide variety of responses:
Variations of butch reactions: from frat boy approaches to the more sophisticated and sexy admiration with stops in between
Gay boy responses are usually fascination. They want to touch them. They want to feel them. They often try to do so without my consent. That doesn’t go over well. Sometimes they want to poke them. Sometimes they are kinda scared. Always fascinated though.
Queens usually adore my style. Birds of a feather I guess…
Straight men. Well, really, who gives a fuck.
Femmes either bond with me as fellow empowered temptresses or hate me. There isn’t much room in between.
Straight females don’t seem to care.
But Lesbians… wooooah! I have consistently found that non butch-femme identified lesbians tend to have the most fucked up reactions. Of course, not all of them but the strongest reactions I’ve garnered have come from this group. They are offended by my breasts. They are offended by my presenting in a very sexual way. They object to my outfits, my nails, my makeup. They are uncomfortable with
A recent majorly fucked up interaction just added to this perception. In the midst of conflict over disgusting racial epithets, some monumental ignorance and disrespect, this woman had nothing better to say than to bring up my outfit: a rather revealing hot pink shirt and the fact that my breasts were spilling out. Apparently that is offensive to lesbians (according to her). The logic of that evaded those of us who tried to make sense of it. It’s not the first time I’ve run into that logic though.
Going back to my babyfemme days I participated in a few lesbian groups that were not butch-femme in membership, and having my authenticity contested based on my dresses, my exposed cleavage, my red nail polish. The incongruity of it baffled me then and has baffled me since. Having had my outfits boycotted by a group of people in the recent past, I understand that something about my cleavage is disturbing. But I’m still not sure what. It’s not like I’m going out wearing nothing but pasties. Okay not in these contexts at least. It’s not like I have EVER made a move on another person’s lover using my rack as bait. Nor would I. It’s not like the beauty is so simply astoundingly unparalleled that people are crazed by lust and envy. I am simply a beautiful fat grrl with low cut shirts and dresses. Not posing for juggs. Not in the next victoria’s secret fashion show.
And here’s where I get stuck… is this just a fat femme thing, or do all femmes get this? I know from some friends that they also experience it, but I know a lot of voluptuous grrls and not so many slimmer grrls. Is it fat sexuality or is it femme sexuality that is skeery? If I were more modestly proportioned would my tits be less of an issue? Is it a queer problem?
I know this much:
People in the butch-femme communities don’t tend to get their knickers in a twist about my rack, and furthermore I’m usually modest in comparison to some of my sisters.
People in queer communities don’t tend to get their knickers in a twist about my rack, I either get admiration or just a sense of live and let live. Generally people don’t give a fuck.
People in kink communities don’t tend to get their leathers in a twist about my rack. Even in vanillaish contexts, I’ve never encountered negativity about my attire.
People in the poc communities I participate in don’t seem to be phased either. As in the other categories I’m not counting unwanted sexual advances. Bigger women are sexy in black and brown communities I interact with and cleavage is not scary.
So. Is it just white lesbians that I offend? That might be what it boils down to. Something about a fat brown femme being unabashedly sexual is threatening. Something about my lack of shame or false modesty seems to be threatening. The fact that I am confident and sexy seems to be threatening. The fact that ultimately I don’t give a fuck if others like me or not because I like myself, seems to be threatening.
And I wonder why that is. I wonder why my presentation is so uncomfortable for people. Why my comfort can elicit so much discomfort.
I may wonder, and really would like to understand but the fact is, I can be wearing sweat pants and a fucking tshirt and I’m still sexy, I’m still sassy, I’m still threatening. The part of this that bothers me is the assumptions that seem to get piled on to justify the reactions.
The assumption that I’m catering to male sexuality, which in fact I couldn’t give a flying fuck about.
That I am a slut, when in fact, I’m very selectively slutty: very much so with whomever I’m involved with, and I’m picky then. And while I’ve been in open relationships and poly relationships, I tend to be monogamous (albeit sometimes unconventionally so) by nature, I don’t do emotional multitasking well.
That I am going to hit on people or their partners when in fact, I don’t roll that way. I’m respectful of other people’s relationships and my own, honest to a fault, and I don’t do the downlow.
That I am a slave to patriarchy. My femininity and my sexuality are mine, I celebrate them, queer them, recreate them, transgress and reshape them. The patriarchy does not live in my push up bra, and my mascara wand is not a phallic symbol (not that I have ANYTHING against phallic symbols, that’s a whole nutha story though).
That I am less intelligent, moral, ethical, capable because my tits are partially exposed. How that makes sense is beyond me.
Or, one of my favorites: that I’m in denial about being fat, because heaven forbid I be both big and sexy. Maybe when I squeeze into a size 12 I can be sexy, but not now, plus sized means wear tents or cutsey tigger or tweety bird oversized tees that hide my yumminess. Cause then you won’t be able to see that I’m fat whereas my outfits that don’t hide my curves, that show off my beautiful round belly as much as my breasts are a sign of denial, not empowerment. If I just layer enough,wear shit tacky enough and big enough, you just won’t be able to notice that I’m big, because big is never sexy. Mhmm.
These assumptions bother me because many of them go against the core of who I am. Who I am is just as much loyal and honest as it is sassy and sexy. Who I am is just as much ethical and respectful as it is perverted and beautiful. Who I am is just as much domestic, loving, gentle, as it is assertive, confident, outspoken and righteous. I’m way too complicated for monochromatic characterizations based on my bra size. As we all are.
Ultimately though I’m not covering up. If you can’t handle my low cut shirt, you can’t handle the rest of me anyway so my tits might as well be the barometer.
While I’d like to understand, I’m not holding my breath, at least not unless I’m spilling out of my corsets while waiting.