This I Believe

Jennifer - Cockeysville, Maryland
Entered on May 16, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Top 100 Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

Two for Show

I overheard my work neighbor today. She was calling about a mastectomy. She was making an appointment to amputate half of her womanhood.

She is going to be half-titted.

My heart hurts. Is her womanhood going to kill her? She jokes later about the surgery, saying that they are going to give her a tummy tuck to make a new breast. She smiled but there is fear in her eyes.

She was crying the other day, softly. She just found out that she has cancer. She is a woman, scared, beautiful, afraid.

America is breast obsessed. The breast is a fixation of American culture. Women are never happy with what we have been given. We always want more or less, but we always want two.

I even joined the ranks of breast augmentation. I got rid of some. I was taught to hate my body before I had a body to hate. My relatives would say to me, “ if you turn out like your grandma, WE ARE GOING TO GET YOU A BREAST REDUCTION.” I did both. The boys loved it and I hated myself.

My cousins used to call a bra a double barrel sling shot.

Even clothing lines hate too much or too little. There is equipment to add a little or to squeeze ‘em in to make them smaller. What is enough? I don’t know but it is always a pair.

What are breasts? Mammary glands, used to feed offspring, all mammals have them.

I knew a beautiful woman, with perfect breasts, who bottle-feed her baby. What a waste of a body!

Breasts have been given such a difficult task, bearing the brunt of what makes a woman attractive, unattractive, confident or insecure. Whatever the conflict is too much or too little, sloppy, flabby, perky, beautiful: whenever they are mentioned, it is always in two’s. This I believe is true.