Not all breasts are created equal, but the purple robes with the loose knit tie that somehow cannot contain our A, B, C or D (or god bless you double D’s and up!) sized breasts are exactly the same. An afternoon at the Mammography Center reminded me of the true meaning of sisterhood; a place where women are seen as one. Discrimination amongst women by women is rampant and goes beyond the color of our skin and our religious background.
We compare, we label and we judge – if you hold a high powered job you’re a bitch, if you dress in tight jeans and high heeled shoes you’re a cougar, if you take Zumba classes you’re an anorexic and if you flirt with the instructor (even if he’s gay) you’re an anorexic slut, if you have drink at 5pm you’re an alkie, on your way to being a pothead with lesbian tendencies and if you wear Christian Loubotin, you’re a fashion whore, snob and a Gold Digger. Our perceptions and misconceptions melt away sitting in the Mammography holding tank, it’s here that we are simply ten anonymous women, waiting to hear whether one of us will leave the room with a breast cancer diagnosis.
Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem among a few, fought for equal voting rights, equal opportunity, equal voice and equal pay. The right to choose and the glass ceiling are still battles we continue to fight; yet, at times our voices seem dim. It wasn’t until the United States Task Force recommended that women do not need yearly mammograms until they turn 50 instead of the previously suggested age of 40, that we heard “Woman hear me roar”. The collective response, “don’t f**k with our breasts!” We are in fact the overwhelming majority in the US and by the way, our TaTas’s carry a lot of weight, billion dollar industries depend on them, from the Health and Medical Industry, Fashion Industry, Film Industry, Porn Industry and without them, Hugh Heffner would be sleeping with Peter Rabbit and little Rabbit FooFoo instead of his bevy of bunnies.
So, this takes me back to the waiting room. Each us of huddled there after submitting our breasts to the Mammo chamber, complete with cold plates, screws and a sweet dominatrix who tells you when to breath and let go- a new chapter for 50 Shades of Grey at 50! The only thing missing in that room is coffee, wine and chocolate (Canyon Ranch be damned), while these ten anonymous women dressed like the purple dinosaur share – the books we have read and cherished, the children and teens we struggle to raise and the young adults we release, the men we have loved and love no more and the ones we are waiting to find. We aren’t measured by our pedigrees and past or the degrees and titles we amassed, the clothing we chose to wear, the struggles we have encountered or the battles we have won and lost. For a moment we are not bitches, anorexics, cougars, or gold diggers, we are simply women with amorphous breasts in purple garb that share the same anxieties and concerns and the possibility that we might walk out with a new label, breast cancer patient.
One by one, our names are called and each woman steps outside only to return to the doorway of the waiting room with the thumbs up sign to signify they are clear, at least this year. I am the second to last woman to leave that room that late afternoon and informed I too would not be a victim. I give the all clear sign to my new purple robed friend, the one who loved and lost and I hug her and wish her luck and with that I enter through the doors to change back into my clothes, vowing to shed my predispositions and misconceptions based on what I think I know and remind myself that our breasts are the common denominator and sometimes we need to wear a robe and succumb to the hard cold machine to equalize us all.