Sat with Nat

Belly Patrolling

So I’ve touted my comfy no-bra summer styling and up until last week I had not gotten one piece of negative feedback.


I love this combo, cool in the August heat and delightfully free of the boob jail thing called a bra. So I’m standing at a busy intersection at night wearing something similar to above. It’s after midnight on a Tuesday spent laughing with dear friends at Rock’n’Roll Bingo and a car drives by. A man in his late teens or early twenties yells out “I just LOVE YOUR BELLY!”

The sarcasm was pretty clear. I wasn’t terribly upset but I was perplexed. Why on earth would he feel entitled to comment on my belly?

My partner was quick to pick up the point “Oh women must be, at all times, attractive to all men or suffer the wrath of being patrolled.” Of course! How silly of me to forget sexism.

The idea that I, a women in my 40s, should strive to be attractive to all men, including men my son’s age, is ridiculous.

What bothered me most was that moment when I wondered if there was something wrong with the way I looked. I quickly shook it off, reminding myself that my belly carried two babies and looks, well, matronly. Sure, I can hoist my breasts up and look more traditionally appealing, but why would I? It’s summer, it’s hot and bras are for work or vigorous exercise.

I have a loving partner of 20 years who adores me. I have lots of flirty moments in my life where I feel attractive and get validated that I am my own brand of awesome.

So young fella, as adored as me you may not be when forty you are. Oh and SUCK IT, cause ya, I’m tired of this crap and it can end with you thank you very much!

26 thoughts on “Belly Patrolling

  1. Love this, love your attitude, as always. I get random negative body comments too and it drives me bonkers. I find myself thinking, “I’m not here for your evaluation” and “I have a PhD and three kids” and “lots of people think I’m attractive, so there, ” and “what makes you think I care what you think.” And then the meta thought, “why am I paying any attention to this at all? ” It’s just noise, the sort of noise insecure teenage boys make. And we ought to know, us parents of teenage boys.

  2. I am in my late teens and I am slightly overweight still I face nasty comments. It is very difficult to live in this society but I am over with it. I respect my body so no one can make me feel bad about myself.
    I loved the way you wrote. Thanks for making me feel good. 🙂

  3. You are rocking your summer look! Good for you for not letting negative people dictate how you feel about yourself. Beautiful!

  4. A reminder of work to be done. We need to change those attitudes, in all of us – internally and in the patriarchal world that surrounds each of us. I hope at some point to be comfortable with no bra in public – other than in womyn-only space… you inspire hope. Bravo Natalie!

  5. I love the way you tell your stories! And your outlook on body positivity is just perfect… My favourite line “I am my own brand of awesome”. Way to be the change we so desperately need in our society.

  6. You’re beautiful, and who gives a fig what jerkoffs think anyway. But just as a side note.. wearing a bra gives me sooooo much less under-boob sweat. Just thought I needed to share that 😉

    1. Ya. Under boon sweat it totally a thing. This ballet style top gives just enough support for under boon airflow. Moooohahaha take that boob jail!

  7. Love this! Sending out the belly love to yourself and all of us helps me in disliking mine less. As a feminist athlete I STILL have trouble with patrolling my own parts. It’s nice to see there’s another way.

  8. Thanks for sharing and for this fabulous reflection! A shout out to all of the (especially cis-men) partners who so often respond both appropriately and fast!!

  9. i love this! i completely agree! i would love if some of you also checked out my blog, because i will also be writing about a lot of stuff like this, but focusing on hygiene and body image and different things like that for pre teen and early teen and adolescent girls!

  10. I haven’t worn a bra since I had my babies 23 yrs now….I don’t really miss it, feels nice to just be free. There are some researchers in France who determined that wearing a bra can actually be bad for young women….makes their breast muscles “lazy” instead of holding the tissue up themselves

  11. It’s funny (well, not funny) that women receive comments and evaluations on their appearance no matter what they look like. And whether it’s a mean comment or a catcall, the woman still ends up feeling like someone stole her power. Because that’s exactly what happened. Good for you for taking back your power. Fuck that guy.

    And also, I would recommend ditching the bra at work too. It really has been way less of a deal than I thought it would be when I stopped wearing it 6 months ago. I didn’t even know that my bra was making me uncomfortable until I realized how comfortable I could be without it!

    1. I definitely ditch the bra when it won’t change the fit of my top. Sometimes I like the aesthetic of wearing one, other times it’s like the darn thing is made of barbed wire!

  12. I’m a sports bra wearer. After a while it gets kind of comfy and I don’t want to take it off. (thought i’d give one point to the bra…not getting much love ) 🙂
    As far as that young little ass saying what he did…that will never stop. not to be the negative nancy here, but our society holds women to an unrealistically stupid standard…perky full boobs, flat tummy, and what ever the hell this new thigh gap is all about. Maybe next time yell back, “yeah thanks me too!”

  13. Ugh, gross people need to learn to keep their harassment to themselves. I actually get more boob sweat without a bra, but that’s only if it gets hot enough for me to sweat, which barely happens even in summer. Also I think comments like this could be made less frequent if society decided there would actually be social consequences for saying things like this. I think we’re moving toward that now with things like Hollaback and open letters to harassers going viral, etc. I hope we’ll start to see some progress soon.

  14. I really hate that it’s become so accepted and mainstream to troll other people, either verbally (such as yelling from a car) or on the internet in comments. I wish people still adhered to the thumper rabbit rule instead of trying to make themselves feel better or get noticed for being ugly to others

  15. I feel you. There are so many peeps into vanity. But, there are also real people who know better. You’re one of them.

  16. I recently had an epiphany. It is not my job, nor my responsibility, to dress myself or make myself up to be attractive to men (or other women for that matter). The fact that I lived so long without that realization is sad beyond measure, but it’s so incredibly freeing to remind myself.

  17. Reblogged this on FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE and commented:

    We’ve had a reader ask us about waist size and bellies. Cate will be posting about that next week. But in the meantime I’ve been reading through some of our older “belly” posts. Here’s Nat on belly patrolling.

Comments are closed.