For the past three or so years (more than five if you count the moonlighting years) I’ve thought about boobs. A lot. More than the average person. I guess starting an intimate apparel brand will do that to you—as a founder, you tend to eat, live, and breathe your business. So when we set out to start Negative, I quickly became desensitized to the topic of undergarments, one that’s often kept private. As a course of business, talking and thinking about the female anatomy is a large part of what I do. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable or taboo; at this point it feels normal. Though it is kind of creepy to consider that so many lingerie companies are owned and operated by men.
That said, up until now, my thought process around boobs was pretty limited to their (arguably superfluous) aesthetic role—how they look in a garment, how they make a woman feel about her femininity, how they can make others feel aroused, or not, how they change over the month and over time, and how they make themselves known in colder temperatures.
Then I became a mom—eight months ago to be exact.
What used to be a totally nonfunctional part of my body became the sole nutritional life source for our newborn son, quite literally overnight. It was weird and wonderful and painful and primal all at once. Most people will ask you how you’re sleeping and coping as a new parent. Other new moms will ask you how your breastfeeding is going. It’s this wild part of being a woman that is pretty impossible to grasp until you’re in it—feeding on call every few hours or more (often for an hour at a time, or more) and then soaking, icing, massaging, deep breathing, heat compressing, crying, leaking, hand expressing, pumping, squirting, and soothing in between—yes, it’s exhausting, thanks for asking.
The experience has made me appreciate boobs (and moms) on a whole new level—can you imagine your mom, your mom’s mom, her mom—all going through that? And without Google to troubleshoot the inevitable breastfeeding issues that arise? Do you know the words bleb or mastitis? I didn't, either.
Motherhood has changed the way I look at boobs forever.
Motherhood and breastfeeding have also made me take offense to traditional lingerie marketing more than ever before. Most brands put undue pressure on women with their messaging. Are boobs supposed to sustain life, defy gravity, and look "angelic" in an uncomfortably padded piece of lace? I don't think so, and I don't want any women to feel like they are held to this impossible standard.
Women are so often told what to do with our bodies and certainly our boobs—how to make them look or behave in a given context—often with hypocritical or conflicting standards, often from people who don’t have boobs.
As a woman in 2017, you could get increasingly angry, and that’s not to say you shouldn’t. But you know what else you can do? Feel empowered to wear whatever bra (or no bra) you damn well please. Preferably one that you actually love (imagine that!) and that makes you and your amazing boobs feel the way you want to feel. Your boobs are yours, and they are wonderful, whether or not they defy gravity.
P.S.: We finally got the answer to an age-old question: Should you wear underwear when you work out?