Knows How To Em-bra-ass You

, , , , , , | Learning | December 26, 2017

(When I transfer to a private school in fourth grade, I go from being an average-sized girl to being the tallest kid in my class. Despite being taller than most of the student body, I am very shy. My “early” growth spurt continues for a few years before the other kids catch up with me. In fifth grade, I realize certain areas of my body are starting to develop, and I speak to my mom about it. We decide to go bra shopping that month, as soon as she can clear her schedule. One school day morning while in chapel, my fifth grade teacher asks me to sit next to her.)

Teacher: *during a hymn, quietly* “Do you wear bras now, [My Name]?”

Me: “No?”

Teacher: “You should think about it.”

(I don’t say anything to my parents about this. My mom and I go shopping and buy some bras. I find them a little uncomfortable, so while I wear them some days, other days I go without them. After a few days of this, my teacher tells me I’ve been summoned to meet with the headmistress. In the privacy of her office, the headmistress then proceeds to have a heart-to-heart with me about adolescence and bodily changes and asks if I am getting the proper access to the clothing I need. The whole conversation makes me uncomfortable, but ten-year-old me doesn’t know how to express this. I reassure her that I have bras now and that I am just trying to adjust to wearing them and there is nothing to worry about. I just want the conversation to end. After a while, I get used to the bras and start wearing them every day. One day, my class is re-entering our classroom after recess. My teacher is standing next to the door, watching everyone walking into the room. She glances down at my chest.)

Teacher: “Good job, [My Name].”

(I stiffened, uncomfortable all over again. At home, I finally told my mom everything. She wrote a letter to my teacher asking her to stop, and I gave the letter to my teacher the next day. I never heard anything about the matter from her or my headmistress again. Looking back on it years later, I am sure my teacher and headmistress were convinced my parents were not doing their jobs as parents properly and that they needed to step in and be the parents. But the way they did seems inappropriate now, just like it did then.)

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