The sound of a young man screaming Lara Lungs permeates through the corridor of my high school. The scream is directed at me, I’m used to it now, it’s become a daily occurrence. I don’t turn around. My checks are beet red, revealing the intense shame I feel for my prematurely developed body. My classmates at the sound of the scream are all now staring at me, well staring at my tits to be exact and there is no where to hide. I clutch my books to my chest and run to my next class.
There is no solace or relief in the class. It’s science class and the teacher struts through the room strategically looking over my shoulder and down my shirt. I imagine he’s trying to be discreet but he fails royally. Everyone in the class is on to him. And again everyone is looking at my tits.
The term Lara Lungs was coined by a boy in the 10th grade, one year older than me. The nickname stuck. I actually believe at the time he thought of it as words of endearment and I accepted it as such. I was being paid attention to after all. What better indication of my value than being paid attention to by an older boy, a semi-popularity one after all? Did it matter that what I was being noticed for was my tits? My body revealed a sexuality that I did not yet know I had and yet one that I learned years earlier was where my value lied. So if that’s what I was good for, then this was more validation of such. And the validation continued.
Young girls being taught that their value lies in their body parts is misogyny at its finest and a cruel inhumanity. It robs young women of their healthy sexuality. We are sexual beings and our sexuality is one of the purest expressions of our humanness, our godliness. But being hyper sexualized and valued for only our body parts represses that expression. It makes it shameful, uncomfortable and unknown. I know that now. I didn’t understand that then.