I started wearing a bra at the age of 10. It was humiliating. There were these ... THINGS that stuck out and entered a room before I did. The iron-on decals on my little-girl-sized "Hardy Boys" t-shirts were stretched to oblivion. Shaun Cassidy was simply never supposed to look that way.
A couple years later, however, everything changed. The burgeoning bustline I'd fought so hard to hide suddenly became an asset -- the same boys who'd wrinkled their noses at the very thought of spending time with a girl now went out of their way to talk to me. My friends bought bras and began stuffing them with Charmin in the hopes someone would be interested in squeezing it.
By the time I was 15, I had an adult (not to mention a porn-star) bustline -- 39 inches. Thank god it stopped there.
Still, I wasn't comfortable being a little girl with a woman's body. And at that age I certainly didn't realize the benefits it would later provide.
Jane is a thirteen-year-old eighth grader, attending junior high school. Through careful observation spanning two weeks I was able to see the three stages of adolescence according to Berger and Thompson's (1995) The Developing Person.
Jane's physical development is advanced for her age. She shows signs of being in the final stages of puberty. I first met Jane three years ago, since that time her hips have widened (an adaptation for childbearing), a peak growth spurt has occurred, and her breasts are of an adult women's size.
Without an interview it is difficult to determine if she has experienced her first menstrual period, I would speculate that she has had her first period due to the development of other physical features. According to Berger and Thompson's (1995) "sequence of puberty" menstruation happens after the peak growth spurt occurs.
Evidence of Jane's growth spurt is still visible in the clothes she wears. Many of her shirts and blouses are too small, as are some of her pants. Certainly this could be due to the clothing style of today.
Our culture mis-guidedly takes breast development to be symbolic of womanhood; Jane seems to feel no worry or embarrassment about her chest. Often large breasted girls may become self-conscious as they find themselves the object of unwanted stares and remarks. Berger and Thompson (1995) mention that girls who develop early may have a poorer body image than other girls and are of greater risk of developing eating disorders. Through observation I have concluded that Jane has a good body image and has positive self-esteem regarding her body.
However, on most days Jane dresses in tight clothes that reveal more than most girls in her class. At home Jane appears to be experiencing change as well. In June 1999 Jane's father left Jane's mother; he moved out of the home. The timing of this occurrence could be very traumatic.
When I was about nine years old, I stumbled on the first copy of Playboy magazine I'd ever seen. I thumbed through the magazine looking at all of the beautiful and large breasted naked women and thought, "gee, I can't wait 'til my breasts grow!" I thought they were beautiful and I wanted to grow up and look like that.
One year later, when I was 10 years old, my breasts began to grow. I was ecstatic! I used to stare in the mirror for hours looking at the tiny bumps that would soon become breasts. It was a very slow process. Little by little they would get bigger, but even then, they didn't look anything like what I saw in the playboy magazine.
When I was 12, I was playing outside with some kids from school on the playground. I was wearing a yellow button down the front shirt and I had leaned over to push a guy named Nicky on the tire swing. When I leaned over, he glanced down my shirt and said, "You know, Lizzie, you've got really big tits!"
By 14 I was bigger than average, but not very big yet. By the time I was in ninth grade, I had grown to a 36B or C cup. It always depends on the bra. The boys teased me a little about it, but they teased me a lot more by calling me fat and ugly. I wasn't one of those cool kids in school, and I didn't have too many friends. It was actually one of my closer friends who teased me the most about my breasts. She was slow to grow and she always stared at me. One of my other close friends had breasts larger than mine, and I was actually quite jealous of her! I had saggy breasts from the day they started to grow, but hers were big and perky. She looked like one of those playboy models!
At 16 I was still growing! I had mono when I was 15 and I lost a lot of weight. My breasts, however, didn't shrink one bit. In fact, they began to grow larger. By the end of my sophomore year in high school, I was a full C cup. I looked older than I was and I got the attention of many boys much older than me. Unfortunately, with that attention came some unfair expectations. I looked mature, but I was still just a kid inside, and more often than not, that boundary was not respected. What little innocence I may have had was gone before I knew it.
At 18 I thought I'd stop at a 34DD! By the time I graduated from high school I was filling out a 34DD and was being stared at more and more. When I started college, I started to gain weight. Most of it, I'm sure, was the bad nutrition and lack of exercise, but I often wondered if maybe I wanted the rest of my body to catch up with my breasts. I went from a 34DD to a 36DD, and my breasts just kept growing. I even stopped taking birth control pills in hopes that my breasts would shrink some, but I had no luck. I was stuck with them, and the problems with them started creaping up on me little by little.
I thought that starting college would end my growth spurt, but it continued! I was having trouble finding bras that fit. They would be too big around and not big enough in the cup, but I couldn't find anything bigger than a DD, or a DDD if I was very lucky. After a while I just sort of gave up and assumed I was supposed to spill over the cups in my bras. I started to notice ugly red marks on my shoulders when I'd take my bras off and my back was hurting more and more every day.
My first tight fitting shirt was a gray one that I still have and wear frequently. I had another black one that I would have worn forever. I remember looking into a mirror once with it on and thinking that my breasts looked “melonous”. Even though that’s not a word. I was about 13 at the time and they were finally developing. I’ve always been pretty content with my breasts. They’re nice enough. That black shirt shrunk, or my boobs grew at an incredible rate. I wore it one day and found that it came up a lot farther on my stomach. I looked at my breasts, cursed them, and gave one of my favorite shirts to my sister, who would be able to wear it for a long time with her mosquito bites.
Like all little girls do, Dominique Moceanu grew up. She's no longer the fourteen year old, 4-foot-6, 72-pound pixie who could tumble and flip with ease. She's grown 10 inches and gained weight, a huge adjustment in a sport where a pound or two can affect your balance.
"It was so much work at the beginning just to get her fit," trainer Mary Lee Tracy said. "Your muscles don't lose memory of the skills. But when there's too much stuff around the muscles, they can't do the work. Once we peeled away the layers, the muscles are doing what they're supposed to do. Every month, she climbed."
"Growing the way I did, it changed everything," Moceanu said. "I had to relearn everything I did."
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In "Family Ties" Tina Yothers played the tomboy kid sister, Jennifer Keaton. By the end of the series the then sixteen year old blonde was taller and stronger than her TV brother, Michael J. Fox, and the oldest sister, Mallory.
"Everyone has a childhood, everyone had awkward years and weird stages," Tina says. "Mine were broadcast. Mine were broadcast for eight years. People will see me now and say how I've lost so much weight and look so beautiful now. No, I was just going through my weird years on television."
Anne Hathaway said she went through "ridiculous changes" during her two years as Meghan on "Get Real"
Major Dad ran from 1989 to 1993. Elizabeth (Marisa Ryan) was the boy-crazy older sister who was into rock music. Robin, (Nicole Dubuc, 1978) the four year younger middle sister, was more intellectual and sensitive. By series' end there was quite a role reversal. By then, Robin towered over her "big" sis.