Thursday, January 7, 2016

Of girls, boobs and bras.

Let's talk about breasts, shall we?  Especially about breasts, bras and teenagers.
There's your daughter, a cute little wide eyed ball of fluff, running about:  stick-like or podgy or just-right. She's everybody's pet, ruling the house in that cute little singlet and shorts. All of a sudden, puberty strikes. Usually without warning. It could be as early as 7 or as late as 15 and the entire range is considered perfectly normal.
All of a sudden, your little girl is not so little anymore. Even before you know it, she starts to feel conscious about her changing body shape, those budding breasts and specially the fact that boys their age seem to constantly talk to their chests. Some men too. She looks around at school, is she the only one? She finds company in her peers. Sometimes she feels accepted,  at other times, inadequate. In fact a range of emotions race through your little girl; a lot of it body-shaming. Or not.  Your little girl, in fact, is, as yet, a long way from accepting that her breasts are just another part of her body, much like an arm or a leg and nothing to write home about! 
So what should you, as a parent do? 
Yes, talk to her. In all likelihood she knows about the periods business or have been through it already. Make sure she knows the right things: the biological and physiological aspects. Do not tell her that she is dirty and not cannot enter the puja room and the kitchen and henceforth should any man touch her, she will have babies! I actually know a mother who said that. And also another who thought 8 years old was no age for the child to be starting her chums so actually went to the doctor to put the child on hormones to "delay the process"!!!!
You do NOT fool around with nature. That is the only rule there is.
And the next thing, take her to a good bra shop. There are tons of them now. Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons and Westside have good lingerie sections, in fact. There are those stand-alone lingerie shops too. There are helpful young lady shop assistants who will be willing to let your little lady try on several sizes and styles for size. I mean it. In our time, budding breasts meant my grandmother made us a inner which was much like a sleeveless blouse and you wore it under your clothes. It kept things in place and did not let the nipple show. Now you have your choice of sports bras right from size XXS to do the needful. 
I remembering bra buying in my youth. It was a horror. We had to go to this clothing store which was manned by men. My mother would accompany us and announce she needed bras and proceed to select three different sizes while we cringed in the corner. Next, my mom would squeeze into that tiny cubicle pretending to be a trial room with us and teach us how to adjust the straps to find out which fit best. No, we had no choice. We had white or black pointy cotton thingies with adjustable straps that kept peeping out from under our clothes...what a mess that was!
Thankfully, times have changed. As I said, now you have a variety of choices in cotton or nylon or lycra or under-wired or padded in all colours, shapes and sizes. Just make sure that the first time you go out there and get that girl something that will not only fit her but make her comfortable and help her keep her posture straight.
I don't know if I am the only one who notices but my attention gets dragged to women or girls in several spheres of life who I find wearing ill fitting innerwear. One is bouncing, (much to the delight of the men watching her run across the street trying to catch that cab) one is squashed flat. Another is just halfway down her stomach while yet another has spread out like a tree. Imagine what this can do for their body images, imagine all the wrong kind of attention they attract! 
You'll notice, young girls , specially teens often begin to slouch. One reason is when they are taller than their friends, they tend to bend a bit. They should absolutely be told to sit up straight and be proud about their height.
Sadly, another lot of children develop slouches. They are the ones ashamed of their breasts. Someone probably spoke to her and made her feel uncomfortable, she's not sure what it is but something does not feel right,  so she hunches her shoulders and pretends she is flat. This is where you, as a parent come in . Talk to her gently, do buy her a good supportive bra. Ensure she walks with her shoulders straight and head up; poised, like the confident woman of the world she is meant to become. Not an unsure little girl with bad body posture.
It's  a little thing, but it makes all the difference.

As I end here, I must admit I am not a specialist of any kind. I'm just a woman who was once a young girl who was often, like many other women on the streets on India, subject to jibes on account of her budding breasts. Sadly, I also believe that there is no imminent revolution that will change the way men or boys  on or off the streets will see our young girls. I just want to help them get a bit of confidence so that they can walk with their head up and meet the world head on.... like it's meant to be met!
 Picture credit:

No comments:

Post a Comment