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Cindy Maddera

I used to wear a thin cotton bra. I didn't really know much about bras other than I needed to wear one. I liked the cotton ones because at least they were comfortable. The problem was, is, that I have nipples. Chris used to say that I had the kind of nipples that you could hang a hat on. This was something I also didn't know. I wasn't conscious of the showiness of my own body or that this was something that drew attention. I'd be standing in a room and suddenly I'd hear a male voice say "It must be cold in here." Then I'd notice the direction of his stare and instantly cross my arms over my chest. My face would grow hot with shame and embarrassment. I started wearing thick padded bras and multiple layers of t-shirts. 

I guess I consider myself lucky because I was never groped or physically accosted. I've only been subjected to lewd comments. Most of the time, the comments are easily ignored. A few times I've even welcomed the comments out of a shallow need to think someone thinks I'm pretty or sexy or beautiful. Those few times were when I was still a girl and had little confidence in myself. It was back in the day when I still let boys and men dictate my own beauty. I know better now. At least I hope I do. Sort of. There are still times I let those lewd comments and stares evoke feelings of shame and embarrassment. I cut a training short because the guy did nothing but stare at my chest. I left the room hot with anger. I was angry with him for his behavior and angry at myself for once again letting a man make me feel ashamed of this body. 

I started thinking about all of this before the release of those tapes of Trump being so vile and gross. As if we didn't know this about him already. It was an article headline passed through my news feed, something about a study in France that suggests bras do not keep a woman's breasts from sagging with age that brought all of this to mind. I didn't read the article but it just made me think about how bras are just another element of the cover up. It's just part of the schooling of girls to cover up their bodies because if they don't, they're asking for a man to comment, to touch, to rape. For those of you who don't get it, who are linking Trump's 'locker room talk' with women who buy 50 Shades of Grey let me explain it to you. There's a difference between a woman who chooses to own her sexuality and a woman who has her sexuality forced upon her by a man. 

Let's take a moment to think about how we want our daughters to value their own self worth. Let's take a moment to think about our daughters growing up feeling ashamed of their own body. Is that something we want for our daughters? It doesn't matter where Trump said those things. It matters that he said them at all. Our children are watching and listening and learning. What do you want the take away lesson to be?