Boobs & Bras was held in the SAC in Ballroom B. Students were able to decorate a paper-shaped bra during the event.
“Melons.” “Fun bags.” “Jugs.” “Milkshakes.” A wide variety of students, brought together by an important topic, shouted out stereotypical nicknames for breasts.
Simple posters with no more than some pink writing and a black bra advertised an important night of the semester for many women on campus—the event Boobs & Bras. Boobs & Bras facilitates open conversation about positive body image and empowerment as well as sheds light on the promotion of breast health.
This year, senior psychology major Mallory Rothstein and resident assistant Alexa Goldstein hosted the event with help from Jennifer Islam, another resident assistant who contributed from Italy, where she is studying abroad.
In preparation, the three hosts created a survey in which taboo—but important—questions, such as ideal breast size, self and societal perception of breasts and knowledge of breast health, were asked. The results were used as speaking points for the night’s student and staff panel.
Goldstein, a junior, was inspired by last years Boobs & Bras event and decided she needed to take part in its growth and preparation for this year. She aims to empower people through education.
“Breasts have been so sexualized that it has come to a point that it reflects self esteem,” Goldstein said. “So people’s breast size relates to their confidence and we believe that it’s not about the size you wear, it’s about how you wear your size. We believe that no matter what size, we want you to feel good about it.”
Rothstein, Goldstein’s fellow host, was active in the event’s conception last year and has since been crucial in the success of Boobs and Bras. Rothstein felt it was important to remember that breasts are not just a focal point of sexual interactions.
“Through education of the biology, when you should start doing self exams, people are going to be really empowered to take care of their body a lot more and ultimately not be ashamed of their breasts and whatever size they are,” she said.
As the program’s participants sat around 13 tables, which seated about eight people each, the keynote speakers Jean Tully and Karen Dybus, both physicians assistants at Stony Brook University, asked one person from each table to stand. They then proceeded to state the alarming statistic that 1 in 8 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Participants looked around the room as the severity of the statistic set in.
Then Tully and Dybus quizzed their audience as they debunked common myths people often believe about breasts. They urged the audience to take control of factors that can lead to better breast health such as diet, exercise, weight and stress and anxiety, to name a few.
To end the night, the event’s hosts played a video showing student models as they celebrated what their breasts meant to them. Both male and female participants exuded confidence as they share their trials and triumphs with their breasts.
Joanna Donaldson, both a volunteer at the event and a model for the video, is a sophomore on the pre-nursing track at SBU.
“Girls, whatever size your boobs are you have to be confident, you have to show it off, so I think this is a really nice event that promotes to love yourself. I think that it is so important for college students,” she said.
The event also included the fact that men are overlooked when it comes to breast health, even by men themselves. On the tables were pamphlets detailing breast health awareness for both genders.
Rothstein hopes to see the event grow to be even larger in the future. She said another higher education institution has already reached out to her with the hopes to create a similar program and sense of awareness at that school. As the event continues to grow, the future for women’s breast health awareness and positive self image will become a more talked about and accepted topic.