In addition to being a fantastic writer, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star and co-creator Rachel Bloom has plenty of thoughts about boobs — which makes her the perfect person to pen the foreword to Caitlin Brodnick’s memoir, Dangerous Boobies: Breaking Up With My Time-Bomb Breasts, out Sept. 12.
Brodnick’s memoir follows her journey after testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation at 28 and deciding to undergo a preventative double mastectomy, like Angelina Jolie did in 2013. (Freeform’s The Bold Type also recently featured a storyline about the gene.)
While Bloom tested negative for the gene, she’s still had her own complicated relationship with her breasts. Read more in her foreword below, which EW can reveal exclusively.
Dangerous Boobies: Foreword by Rachel Bloom
Every woman I have ever known has a complicated relationship with her boobs. I wouldn’t call it a love/hate relationship; it’s more of a hmm/ugh/what?/yeah baby!/eh relationship.
The women I know with smaller boobs are insecure about their size but are also grateful that modern fashion is made for their body type. The women I know with larger boobs are insecure about their size but are also grateful that vintage fashion is made for their body type. Women with boobs of all sizes deal with hormone-related pain, unwanted attention from men on the street, cleavage sweat pimples, breast-milk leakage, and more. Trans women deal with these problems plus the fact that many won’t develop naturally fully developed breasts; trans men must shed their boobs to realize their gender identities. Even cis-gender men worry about having “man boobs” or, in rare cases, male breast cancer (yes, it happens).
Though I sometimes long for the kindergarten days when I could run around shirtless on a hot day, I am, for the most part, grateful for my boobs. Even as five-year-old me ran topless through a sprinkler, I daydreamed about someday having massive boobs. When I drew pictures of myself as an adult, I would draw a big cleavage line. Alone in my room at night, I would stuff some stress balls down my nightgown and coo, “Hello, boyyyyyyyyyyys.”
Now that the universe* bestowed upon me the boobs of my dreams (*universe = Ashkenazi genes), they have become a big part of my identity. My breast development coincided with my popularity skyrocketing; whether they gave me more confidence or happened to appear when I became more confident is a mystery I never intend to solve. Having been boy crazy from a young age, I was delighted when the boys I pined for finally started to notice me, with my boobs drawing their eyes to my more important but subtler features, such as my smile and personality.
As I got older and gained weight/went on birth control, my boobs grew from a modest B to a “Why do I look skanky even in a T-shirt?” DD. Sometimes, they’re big in a cartoonish way that doesn’t feel like they’re a part of my body. So, when I became a comedian, I had a choice: be objectified against my will or take charge of my image and show them off with an ironic brazenness. Think Jessica
Rabbit sitting on the toilet during a shit attack. It’s a mix of pride and apology, as if to say, “I know I look like this, but DON’T JERK OFF TO ME.”
So, despite my own hmm/ugh/what?/yeah baby!/eh relationship with my breasts, I rarely think about the fact that, as Caitlin says, they could kill me. I got tested for the BRCA gene in the post-Jolie wave and was relieved to find that I was in the clear. But I realize how lucky I am, as this is not the case for an overwhelming number of women, especially those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
Every woman’s experience with her boobs is specific and personal. As you read Caitlin’s book, I hope that you reevaluate and appreciate your relationship with not just your boobs, but your body as a whole.
—Rachel and her boobs