"Big boobs are a blessing and a curse; a litmus test for modesty. No matter if I'm all covered up or in a low cut dress, my 32 Ds draw attention from men and women alike. Men will either stare, wolf whistle or say "Ooh!" when I walk past them in the street. On the other hand, women will shower me with compliments like "I love your tits!". Even when I go shopping for clothes, saleswomen look at my breasts before they even find a size for me. I'll often hear, "You have big boobs for an Asian." The truth is that I've developed them since puberty.
Growing up, I was always fascinated by big boobs since I was a preteen because to me, it was unheard of to have two round things in front of an adult woman's chest. It started when I flipped through a mountain of tabloids, where photos of female celebrities always featured them baring cleavages. Also, I read Seventeen, where a handful of articles talked about breasts, bra shopping, etc.
Whenever I went past the lingerie section, my eyes lit up at the sight of an array of bras - like a hyperactive kid at Toys R Us. Without any hesitation, I went for the D cup bras, touched the padding and laughed. To me, it was a dream to have big boobs as it'd make every outfit pop.
When I was 13, the reality of developing boobs became real. While most middle school girls barely reached an A cup, all I had was a white cotton bra with adjustable halter straps that could fit my teeny tiny B cups (in spite of it being a size smaller.) It was the only bra that could fit me as all the other bras could barely fit them. Not to mention, it made them look smaller from the front whether I'm in a loose PE shirt or a two button polo.
Although I wasn't the most popular girl in school, I was hoping that no one would notice my boob size until I was in seventh grade. At this point, it was unusual for me to grow mini B cups as no other 13-year-old in my school had them apart from myself.
From grades six to eight, every girl was mandated to share a locker room. Given that I would be surrounded by many girls from different grades, I never really thought that breast size would be a big deal as everyone was busy changing out of their PE uniforms. Then one day an eighth grade girl accosted me while I was taking my PE shirt off. Her jealousy was obvious (brows furrowing, eyes squinting, nostrils flaring) when she asked, "Why are your boobs so big?" Startled, I simply replied, "I don't know".
Two years after that locker room incident, I had become a fresh-faced, 15-year-old with C cups. In spite of developing a womanly body, my breast didn't look terribly obvious as my boobs were usually hidden underneath modest outfits. One time I was eating my lunch (home cooked pasta and broccoli) at the cafeteria, a male peer walked past, took a glance at my breasts and muttered, "big tits" under his breath.
Shocked and speechless, I wanted to hide my breasts more. Although I wish I had confronted him, I filed a report to a counselor instead. Looking back, objectification from male peers like my classmate gives them the power of ownership over my body - they only see how the appearance of a young woman's body appeals to them. To them, my boobs are fascinating as it's the type they see on porn actresses, lingerie models or Playboy bunnies. However, my big boobs are a target for derision as it's perceived to make one appear more sexualised than anyone with smaller breasts.
Apart from being teased by peers, finding clothes to match my breast size was a nightmare. Whenever I shopped with my family, I couldn't buy low cut dresses, tops with plunging necklines or anything bra-unfriendly. If I had to pick out some "modest" garments like a sweater with a small V-neck, it paradoxically made me appear bustier. Sometimes, I'd get asked to cover up by my own relatives even though my outfit was completely PG.
For the rest of my teen years, I hid my boobs inside high-necked Peter Pan collar tops and modest crew neck dresses. But if I had to wear strapless or cleavage-revealing dresses at formal events, my mom would ask me to bring a jacket or a scarf to cover them up. Even though I wanted to embrace my newly developed womanly physique, being stifled by the decorum of modesty cramped my style.
Upon graduating high school, I moved to Los Angeles for uni. Over there, girls weren't afraid to flaunt their assets in crop tops and bodycon dresses. Inspired by what I saw, I needed to figure out a way how I could liberate myself from my long-standing insecurity. In a boutique, a long navy blue Stone Cold Fox silk dress caught my eye; as I tried it on, I couldn't believe what I saw.
Backless, halter cut and body-hugging, the navy blue dress made my bust smaller and my figure slimmer without compromising my curves. With the perfect fit in all the right places, I realised that my breasts were the star of the show and I should've never fought against the feature that made me unique. Apart from that, it also made me realise that even if I moved back to Singapore someday, I could still look sexy without showing too much skin.
Now that I'm living in Singapore, I sometimes forget that I can't be too bold with how I present myself, as I am surrounded by a family-oriented, status-obsessed patriarchal society that attaches modesty to a woman's presentation. Subsequently, I've developed a flair for tasteful clothes that don't compromise my style: waist-defining V-neck wrap dresses, baby tees, high-waisted jeans, and off-the-shoulder dresses for a parent-approved, yet sexy look.
Thankfully, I don't get too many leery stares, but if someone wolf whistles at me, I ignore it. Even if I post an #ootd online, I get showered with compliments by women from "I love this" to "body goals" accompanied by heart, bomb or fire emojis. If a guy sees my post, they'll either like my pic on my main feed or press the fire emoji on my InstaStories. Regardless of the attention I receive from both genders online and offline, it's made me realise that no matter what I wear, I have to appreciate the body I've been blessed with."Photo: Her World Online
Surrounded by dream backdrops, but dressed like a nightmare. What was I thinking when I had to alter the straps of this white cotton Sisley dress?!Photo: Her World Online
A H&M Fair Isle sweater with a t-shirt, coloured tights and oversized sunnies? This is the worst boob-unfriendly outfit I ever wore.
In my usual element.
Happily not giving a hoot 'bout my haters anymore.
I guess the fashion gods were right that after all, big boobs really do look great in a daisy print Realisation Par wrap dress.
Nothing comes between me and my Stone Cold Fox dress.
This article was first published in Her World Online.