Society should celebrate, not ridicule, uniqueness

Celebrate uniqueness
Celebrate our individual differences

Nobody is superior; nobody is inferior – we are all wonderfully unique and incomparable

TiH paraphrased

The other day I saw a very young lady/woman walking down the street wearing a very flimsy top, she had no bra on, and her breasts were bouncing up and down.  As you can imagine, women looked at her scornfully and men stared lasciviously.  It reminded me of wonderfully different we all are – from body shapes to skin colour to hair texture to attitude. 

I could tell from the way this lady/woman carried herself that she couldn’t give a crap what anyone thought.  She loved her body – saggy boobs and all and she could wear whatever she wanted whatever the weather. I admired her bravery.   I also couldn’t help but wonder how she was brought up.  To be so confident in a society where ‘saggy braless boobs’ in a young woman is frowned upon, someone must have taught her how to ignore the ever-present chatter.  A few years ago, a young lady/woman started a movement – saggy boobs matter – because as a young lady/woman with saggy boobs she was the brunt of many unfunny jokes and cruel comments.

Many years ago, I was in a catholic school for girls. We were all aged between 15 and 19 years, so you can imagine the level of teenagism and oestrogen levels roaming the grounds. Our teachers were of mixed calibre– young, old, men, women, nutters, insecure, single, married, happy, despondent and nuns. There was this one older male teacher, let’s call him Mr Syco, who terrorised us simply because we were girls going through the normal biological change. It was astonishing how one man, (a father no less), could make this change sound like a punishment and not a natural human process that has been happening since time began. As you can imagine we were all wonderfully different from each other – big boobs to no boobs, wide hips to narrow, round boobs to saggy boobs, tall to short, plump (they called us worse) to slim etc, and he used these differences as weapons in his arsenal of assaults and insults.

One young lady let’s call her Shaniqua (FYI there were no such names in this school, but that’s a story for another day!) was the main receiver of rude, crude, demeaning, derogatory comments by the aforementioned male teacher. Shaniqua’s young body seemed to develop faster than everybody’s else and/or western medicine. She was also an artist – FYI in our times, this was as bad as aspiring to be a thug! All our parents and their generation wanted us to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, and anything that required constant swotting and good grades – I can’t even begin to write on how wrong this was [is] or the level of unconditioning needed to change this mentally because it is rampant).

One day, Shaniqua was having a bad period day when Mr Syco walked in the classroom and found her squatting at the back of class doubled in pain.

“What the hell are you doing there?” He screamed at her. 

Shaniqua stood up with great difficulty and said she was experiencing lower abdominal pains. This is what we said to some teachers to let them know it was period pain without actually saying it; unfortunately, we had been conditioned to think having a period was abnormal. His reaction topped that of the drill sergeant in the movie Full metal jacket – beyond scary.
What did you say?” he asked incredulously.
And before she could answer…,,, “Get up and sit at your desk!” He bellowed with so much venom everyone retracted into their metaphorical shells for safety. His eyes bulged dangerously in their sockets and no one dared look into them. He walked towards her so menacingly we thought he would throw her to the ground and beat the shit out of her – nothing was beyond this man. Mind you Mr Syco was a tall half-evolved heavy-set man and his presence alone threatened the hell out of everyone including the community who worshipped in the local Catholic Church. This man was always angry about something.

He went on a barrage of abuse and insults accusing Shaniqua of having saggy boobs because during school holidays all she did was have sex with boys instead of study. He said she was most likely miscarrying and not on her period. Then his anger turned to the rest of the class.

“You are all wasting your parents’ money! All you do is eat beans, buttered cocoa (mulambo), grow breasts and bleed like goats!”  He was too worked up to teach, so he gave us test papers from another school to work on.  No one spoke for several minutes.

In hindsight, I think he was obsessed with teenage girls and because he couldn’t be one or have sexual relationships with any, he decided to degrade and insult whenever an opportunity presented. He, encouraged by an insane female teacher, let’s call her our lady of perpetual stuckupness, categorically declared that wearing bras made boobs sag and was a clear invitation to boys.  It was forbidden.

The saddest thing though was that we believed them. We were ashamed of our bodies. We mercilessly compared ourselves to the ones Mr Syco and his sidekick described as perfect. We ran painful braless marathons for fear of developing saggy boobs – in retrospect that was incredibly stupid, but we were no wiser and our ‘role models’ were half evolved Neanderthals who thrived on shaming children going through normal body changes.  If it was up to Mr Syco and her lady of perpetual stuckupness, we’d have stayed 12 forever.

There was/is absolutely nothing wrong with saggy boobs whether in young or old women.  Everyone is unique and just like fingerprints, no breasts look alike even on the same body, or even those surgically modified. We should celebrate our uniqueness and not judge others based on societal norms that were imposed on us by ancestors long gone. Maya Angelou said, “history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but faced with courage need not be lived again.” Just because knowledge is passed down generations doesn’t mean it’s always right – we can change toxic blueprints passed on and not pass it on. The world needs cultural unconditioning of issues that promote discrimination, hate, isolation, injustice among others – too many to list.

Our differences make us unique and prove there is a higher power than us.  Our differences are not to evaluated or assessed based on someone’s idea of ‘perfect’, but are there to appreciate our higher self. We are spiritual beings having human experiences. Individual differences are what make us us, and should be a cause for celebration, not ridicule.


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Photo credit: Anna Shvets – pexel

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