I Wish I’d Known in High School

I still remember how I felt on the day my gym teacher wrapped a measuring tape around my back and chest and called out, “twenty-eight.” I was humiliated, even at my all girls public high school. To be skinny and flat at a time (the fifties) when big breasts with hips to match were the ideal, made me envy my friends who developed early. I prayed, I exercised, I desperately wanted to grow. I stuffed my bra with cotton balls, socks, I even tried toilet paper (a big mistake!). Boys loved to tease me. One time at summer camp when I was 15, the boys raided the girls’ dorm, taking our bras, then stringing them up on the flagpole. My brand new padded strapless bra, with my name neatly stitched on the inside, made it to the top. I realized then I had a choice. I could either laugh or cry. I decided to laugh – on the outside, anyway. Years later my teenage children gave me a t-shirt for Mother’s Day. Across the front it said Flat is Beautiful. I wore it proudly. And you know what? I’ve learned my small breasts are just as sexy. I feel badly for all the young women who think they have to get theirs pumped up to attract guys. Sometimes, when I’m curious about what it would be like to have bigger breasts, I write a character into one of my books and try it out vicariously. But look, if nature (or genetics) happens to give you big breasts, enjoy them. Whatever their size, take good care of them. They’re part of you. But not the only part. Not even necessarily the sexiest part. Really!

Judy Blume is the author of 24 books including Forever and Summer Sisters.