It’s Okay to Want Boobs

Okay folks. This one goes out to all the trans girls early in their transitions; it goes out to the hatchlings still finding their feet; it goes out to the eggs who might be reading this guiltily. (It goes out to the ladies who transitioned a while ago and might be rethinking some choices.) Welcome.

This little essay contains exactly what it says on the tin. It’s Okay to Want Boobs. That’s really all I want to say. But also… that’s a strangely huge thing to say?

(No, we’re not making a ‘strangely huge boobs’ joke… whoops, we already did. Moving on.)

The Shame: “Boobs are Tawdry”

The aforementioned thesis—it’s okay to want boobs—is a strangely huge thing because saying that you want boobs feels weird and petty and, to be precise, tawdry. Especially to folks who grew up religious or otherwise sheltered, especially-especially to those of us who grew up that and were presumed to be boys. Boobs were not an acceptable conversation topic.

Growing up, I was absolutely certain that I was not ever supposed to say anything about boobs. Sure, other people had them, but I was not supposed to talk about them, I wasn’t supposed to comment on them, I was supposed to pretend like they weren’t there. And talking about my boobs? Unthinkable, in so many ways. If I somehow did say something about boobs—any boobs—I might have shrivelled up in shame and dropped straight through the floor, possibly direct to evangelical hell.

Heck, I was pretty sure I wasn’t even supposed to think about boobs.

And that sort of dread over forbidden thoughts? That is by design. That is intentional. That is part and parcel of a nasty little tangle of culture we like to call misogyny. The downstroke piston action in the patriarchy engine.

Patriarchy requires that femininity be controlled, reduced, and denigrated. So misogyny faithfully insists that feminine things are silly and weak and unimportant. Boobs are associated with femininity, so therefore boobs are also framed as silly and weak and unimportant. After all, boobs can’t do big important tasks like murder people to advance the fortunes of your nation and its elites. It’s all about priorities: the priorities of patriarchy and capital.

And wanting boobs? Wanting the thing that’s silly and weak and unimportant? You’ve gotta have some pretty screwy priorities to want that (say the elites who want you to get back to work).

And this isn’t even just about trans femme people. Cis women get this all the time. They are made to feel ashamed of the boobs they have, ashamed of wanting bigger boobs (which is why cosmetic surgery has been denigrated ever since breast implants became available in the late 80s), and even ashamed of taking proper care of their boobs with skincare, well-fitted bras, and self-examinations. That last one helps prevent fucking cancer, and there are still PSAs trying to convince women that it was okay to pay literally the least amount of attention to their own boobs, to help prevent CANCER.

All of which is to say: if you feel any shred of shame about wanting boobs, understand that that shame is manufactured, and not for your benefit.

The Truth: Boobs are Great

I’ve wanted boobs for almost as long as I can remember. There are stories written in pencil on half-sheet booklets somewhere, with a very typical storyline. One day, our protagonist wakes up with boobs, has a curiously short-lived freak out about it, then throws hands up in the air and decides to just roll with it, because what can you do? You just can’t argue with boobs out of nowhere. I couldn’t have been much older than ten or eleven.

Even when I finally decided to transition (first to nonbinary, then later to a woman), I relegated my desire to have boobs to the very bottom of my stack of reasons. I always knew, in my heart of hearts, that wanting boobs was not the reason of least priority, but I told myself that it had to be. I focused on my (also important) desires to be recognized as a mother, to socialize as a woman, to wear a skirt that goes spinny.

And I love that I am now recognized as a mother, that I socialize as a woman, that I wear skirts that go spinny. These are all great things, and I’m very grateful for each. But every morning when I dress and my clothes come to rest, fitted over my boobs? Words fail to describe how satisfying that moment is. I feel right in my body, in ways that I never even knew were possible.

It’s gender euphoria, plain and simple. And it relieves my gender dysphoria. Which might sound reductive or jargony, but I say it this way because it’s like a key into a lock. It’s like living your entire life with a chronic pain condition and your doctor finds a treatment that works and the pain just dissolves away. And maybe that treatment is just some simple organic molecule. But the solution being simple doesn’t make the pain relief any less. So too, just because the key to my dysphoria lock is boobs doesn’t make the resulting euphoria any less, either.

Boobs were the solution for me. And me wanting boobs for my entire fucking life might have been a clue, but I ignored it. Because of the shame, which is just misogyny as described above, and also because of the fear.

The Fear: Boobs are Obvious

There’s a fear a lot of us have that people will find us suddenly sporting boobs to be… weird. It feels like a threshold that you can’t uncross. If you go out wearing a skirt and some eyeliner, you might still plausibly be just a feminine guy, right? (Not that that will help you in any way, shape, or form, but for some reason we take comfort in thinking it.) But add boobs and… your transness becomes pretty obvious. Or at least it feels that way.

The charmingly named Knitted Knockers I wore for a little over a year, early in transition

My first time going out with prosthetic breasts in my bra was one of the few parts of my own transition that I was really anxious about. To be perfectly clear, because I’m me, they weren’t small prosthetics, either. They were the largest I could get my hands on, and fit into a 42C bra. They were… not overlookable. I was sure I was going to look awkward and weird. But to my astonishment, nobody so much as lifted an eyebrow. Even people who saw me regularly just sort of rolled with it without a single comment.

I’m also resoundingly femme-presenting—swishy skirts and hot pink purse and makeup most days—so in many ways, boobs out of nowhere wasn’t adding a discordant new element to my presentation, it was completing the picture. (And I mentioned how tops fit better now, right? Because they fit so much better.) You don’t need to be presenting hyperfemme for this article to apply to you, but if you want to go femme and you feel weird about admitting that boobs are a part of that… don’t? Boobs are an intrinsic part of a lot of feminine looks, and it’s okay to want boobs as part of wanting those looks. They complete the picture.

And I’ve heard the same over and over again from other trans femmes: growing boobs slowly, acquiring them suddenly, upsizing them surgically, no matter how you come by them… nobody else cares. Hardly anybody even notices.

It’s a non-issue.

It doesn’t feel like a non-issue, of course, and taking that first step is incredibly daunting. But I want to assure you, as somebody who’s taken that first step and a lot of steps since… there is nothing to fear. They’re just boobs.

It’s Okay! (to want boobs)

So if you want boobs, honey… that’s okay. See, we’ve come back around to the title. It’s okay to want boobs.

Some people will tell you it’s petty or silly or otherwise denigrate your wants and needs. It’s notable that they’ll argue about this a lot if you talk about it hypothetically (like “maybe I want boobs someday…”), but when faced with a nice pair of boobs (flesh or prosthetic), their protests often evaporate. They’re not principled; they’re just trapped in the patriarchy engine, keeping the thing running like a hamster in a wheel.

I cannot say this with enough emphasis, but fuck them. If you want boobs, chances are high that having boobs will make you happy.

I’m gonna repeat that one, because it’s worth repeating: if you want boobs, chances are high that having boobs will make you happy.

And not just happy, but joyful, fulfilled, more complete. Not because boobs are special (even though they are, they really really are), but because—if you want them—they’re probably just the thing you need.

It’s okay to want boobs.

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