A comic by the name Tom Willard recently referred to me as “the little one with boobs” as though there were no other attirbutes he could think of to evoke recognition. (He isn’t the first comic to do this and he wont be the last). He went on to explain how inexperienced I am in comedy, how unfunny I am, how I will be taking orders for the rest of my life, etc.
I do not condone passive aggressive Facebook wars, nor do I think Facebook is an effective mode of communication in situations like this. However, given my commitment to women and survivors of sexual assault, I think I owe it to the people who have followed me personally as a feminist but also those who graciously support Don’t Grab My Pussy, to share my reaction to this statement:
I’ve always hated my boobs. I’ve taped them down, looked into getting reductions, made a habit of crossing my arms. When I was in 8th grade my chest started to grow more, and suddenly boys started talking to me. I hated it. I tried to cover them up as much as possible with sweaters and sweatshirts, but no matter, boys would say something to me everyday- “Wow your tits are so big I can see them through your sweatshirt” or simply, “Hey take off your sweater I wanna see how big your boobs are,” (that was in the back of the bus, first day of 8th grade). I came to understand that my boobs were something of great value and I tried very hard to own them, but what a silly thing to want as a woman, right?
When I was in college, my Junior year, I woke up in a bed I didn’t recognize with two men I didn’t know. I had been slipped something and raped. When I left it seemed my biggest accomplishment in their eyes was how amazing my tits are. They couldn’t stop talking about it. This wasn’t really the first time I had been taken advantage of and it wouldn’t be the last, but it was the most clear cut case of it. (Luckily I was in the best sorority in the world and my sister got me the help and protection I needed to feel safe again).
My (biological) sister is starting middle school and I pray every day she won’t “fill out” because I know that people call curvey girls, busty girls, girls who don’t fit in clothes as well as others, etc “sluts.” But then I realized that no matter what you do, you’re a “slut” or a “bitch” or “bossy.” No matter what we do, no matter how many fundraisers we put on, how many people look up to us, how many times we’ve helped someone when no one else wanted to, we have always just been seen as a collection of body parts.
To this I say, we are greater than the sum of our parts.
Thanks for all of your love and support today and always, especially for Don’t Grab My Pussy.
P.S. I’m all for appreciating boobs – I appreciate all your boobs.
Kelsey Claire Hagen is a comedian out of Rochester, NY. She has produced many successful shows, namely Don’t Grab My Pussy (December 2016). Also, she speaks Swahili.