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On Beauty and Bosoms

May 7, 2014
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“She is so flat-chested,” someone pointed out to me. “Yet the bras she wears, and the way she thrusts her chest out when she walks… you can tell that she knows about this and is trying to compensate.”

This was told to me with the directive that I should do the same. Like many people I share this planet with, my flaws are catalogued and earmarked for improvement. Since—especially as a woman—it’s my responsibility to be easy on the eyes.

* * *

I recently started taking refuge in kathak. My teacher tells us that the default position for our torso is to imagine a string is attached to our sternum and tilted upwards at a forty-five degree angle, opening our chest and providing stability in the core.

Kathak—like yoga, like Islam—is not just something to practice from time to time. It’s a way of life. So when I go about my day, I try and remember to maintain that default position, intending it even if I am not executing it.

Yes, of course my posture could use some work. Of course I want to hold my head up high and walk with confidence. But I won’t do so because I’m trying to compensate.

That girl and I, physiologically, we might appear the same. But I can’t let negativity and criticism define the way I carry myself. I will do it while carrying the spirit of something that instills me with confidence and love. I will do it for its own sake, whether it be under a summer tunic, a winter jacket, or an abaya.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Leah permalink
    May 11, 2014 9:24 am

    We are governed by beauty standards but the beauty of it that they are different for different people, and even though big chest may be the must for somebody who were helpfully advising you to do this’an’that, there 1 million other people who can’t care less about it. all I am saying is that that girl may genuinely want a bigger chest, and that is totally ok, as long as that affects only her.

  2. June 7, 2014 9:29 am

    I wonder if the girl that was mentioned may have been walking the way she did because she also wanted a good posture rather than trying to compensate for a flat chest …

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