Some people might think that having big breasts is a blessing but, to others, it actually leads to inconvenience and, worse, harassment.
A Filipina hiding under the name “Isa” told Mav Gonzales on “Brigada” that when she was just 9 to 10 years old her breasts were already “pronounced.”
“Sinusuot ko na ’yung sobrang malalaking shirts kasi at one point nakakailang kasi bata pa ako pero alam mo ’yun mapapansin mo kasi pa’no ka tintignan ng mga tao and usually mga matatandang lalake yun eh,” Isa said.
According to Isa, her breast size was cup DD or E.
As she grew older, Isa said she started to feel ashamed, “parang nandidiri na rin ako sa sarili ko at one point eh, parang nase-sexualize na rin ako by complete strangers.”
In 2017, Isa underwent breast reduction, which can be done only by a licensed surgeon and costs at least P200,000.
From cup DD, her breast size is now cup B.
According to Isa, she felt like a brand-new person after the breast reduction surgery.
“Sobrang emotional kasi parang sabi ko nga first time ko lang yata makita yung tiyan ko tas first time ko tinignan yung sarili ko sa salamin parang bagong tao na,” she said.
“In terms of ’yung stranger wala ng tumitigil sa harap ko para titignan yung dibdib ko. It’s been three years pero parang ’di ko na maalala ’yung feeling ko bago magpabawas,” she added.
According to UP Diliman sociology instructor Ash Presto, in the Philippines and most parts of the world, “the female body is a hypersexualized body.”
“So kapag sinasabi nating hypersexualized, ’yung functions ng katawan ng babae binibigyan siya ng ibang meaning, ng sexual meaning ... ’yung breasts which women use to breastfeed ay binibigyan siya ng bagong meaning na mas sexual.”
Ash said it becomes something that people use to seduce others. “It’s something that you use in order to seduce people in order to make yourself physically attractive not only to men but also to other people who are attracted to you.”
It’s the same situation for another Filipina, 22-year-old Chris Cubelo, who measures 38 C. She said it’s extra difficult for her when she takes public transportation.
“Tinitignan po nila yung cleavage ko, meron po kasing scenario sa jeep na siksikan sinasadya nilang anuhin ’yung braso nila sa dibdib ko. Lumalayo po ako sa kanya kasi inaano niya na talaga ’yung siko niya sa ’kin,” Chris said.
Chris said she would always choose to wear baggy shirts to avoid getting attention on her breast area.
She also said her back would hurt whenever she tried to jog.
There was also one incident when a male friend of hers randomly messaged her after which she felt harassed.
“Meron po akong kilala isa, he’s my friend, tapos bigla na lang siya nag-chat na kamusta na daw ako ... tapos bigla siyang nag-chat ng ‘send boobs please hahahaha,’ tas sinabihan niya ako na joke lang daw ’yun,” she narrated.
“Sinabihan ko siya ng ‘foul below the belt ka na,’ tapos ini-insist niya na joke lang daw ’yun. Sexual harassment na po ’yun eh, labag na po ’yun sa pagkababae ko,” she added.
According to psychologist Camille Garcia, what Chris has experienced can be considered a form of verbal abuse.
“Definitely kapag naging verbally na affected ’yung tao it becomes an abuse.’ Yung possibility na sexually pwedeng ma-harass o kaya heto naman ’yung aabot sa punto na mag-escalate siya na hindi lang siya ’yung sexual harassment, pwedeng magkaron ng sexual abuse na mangyayari dito,” Camille said.
Meanwhile, plastic surgeon Laurence Loh said only few women undergo breast reduction.
“Kadalasan ay dahil nahihirapan na sila sa bigat, mainly ang dahilan ng pagbawas ay functional. Mas nakakagalaw tayo kung mas magaan ang naidadala natin,” he said.
He said that the shaming and harassment women received because of their breast size were not their fault. “Hindi niya kasalanan ’yun, ang kailangan natin turuan eh yung kultura natin na irespeto yung katawan ng ibang tao.”
Isa said women who go through the same thing should “demand your right to be respected kasi at the end of the day hindi natin kasalanan na ganon yung katawan natin but it doesn’t give the right to other people na bastusin tayo.” – Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/RC, GMA News