The Science Of Choosing Battles
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Science Of Choosing Battles

"'Boys will be boys' is the phrase that kept beating against my cliff side of my mind, eroding away my last nerve."

The Science Of Choosing Battles

I once went to a psychic who told me "Everyone has a good and a bad side. It's okay to see the negative in people. It's just about how big and how important that part is." The science of choosing battles is much like this. There will be good and bad consequences to each actions, but how important are those sides to you is what makes the decision. This was reminded to me recently when I got fired from my job of more than a year because I did not wear a bra.

I want to make it clear that I am not angry, and that I understand why I got fired. The business was not mine, and I was paid to work for my boss therefore what I wear while working at this establishment is not completely my choice. He had the authority to fire me, and he was fighting for his beliefs, just as I was fighting for mine. I disagree with his beliefs, but I respect his right to have them. This is why for the first year, I did wear a bra. I don't wear one anywhere else, but I wore one there because I was afraid that if I didn't I might be objectified or fired, or in this case, both. During the last few months, I felt comfortable with the people I worked with. They are my friends. I did not discuss whether I had to wear a bra with my boss because, to me, the person I work for should be able to decide the uniform that they can see, a shirt, a hat, and maybe even pants. What I wear under my clothing should be no one's business but my own.

So I decided to not wear a bra which has always been more comfortable to me. No wires poking into my side for 5+ hours. No need to make untimely adjustments to my chest throughout the work day. Recently I had been working maybe 20 or so hours a week, so comfort was nice. That and no one at work, customers or staff, was complaining. I was not being objectified, I felt happy to be around people that did not care, because they shouldn't, in my opinion. I have gotten two promotions in my time working there. I was always early for work except maybe twice because of traffic or snow. I did what was told of me without complaint. I was the best employee I could be, and that's how I liked it because I take pride in everything I do.

So when my boss had a female coworker tell me that I should wear a bra, I was in shock. He did not want to say it to my face, nor did he really want me to know that it was him saying it. Why, after months, was it suddenly a problem? Was this an ultimatum? My first reaction was to laugh and say "No, no, no. HA! No way, this is not seriously happening." She explained to me that he had just figured out that I was not wearing a bra and that it might be a distract to the boys I work with so I have to wear one. Let me make this a little more clear. What was being said, in my mind, was that because there was a chance that the boys would be too busy drooling over my chest, to the point where they might make a mistake, it was my responsibility to change. I had to change, not them, me. I didn't understand this because since when were other people's thoughts and actions my responsibility? The rage, discomfort, and disappointment I felt from this realization is hard to put into words. To make it worse, all the males I worked with saw no problem with this.

It was not my decision to be born with boobs, but still, I am being punished for it. I thought about apologizing for making the mistake of feeling comfortable and safe in my work environment, but to tell them not to worry because it won't happen again. I cannot feel safe in an environment where I would constantly have to be worried about what the males were thinking about me. That is the kind of environment women have to live in every day. It is the environment that makes us afraid to walk alone at night, it is the fear that keeps that other headphone out of our ear. It's the fear that keep our guards up, because if a man cannot control himself around us, not only does the world blame us, tell us to change, but sometimes, we do as well. "Boys will be boys" is the phrase that kept beating against my cliff side of my mind, eroding away my last nerve. I was not being inappropriate by not wearing a bra. It never crossed my mind that I wanted inappropriate attention from this because, to me, this was normal. They were the ones being inappropriate, thinking inappropriate thoughts. They should change.

It’s unfortunate that because I was born with tits that I should be sexualized from nine years old when I was told by my own family to start wearing a bra, then to the world. The world could not wait until I reached double digits to start imagining me naked. It is sick. So I put it down, a while ago in fact, the stigma of sexualization, and I will not pick it back up now. It’s unfair that because people cannot stop sexualizing women, we take the consequences for it but, as in the phrase of America, this is the land of the Free and home of the Brave. You cannot have freedom without being brave, whether it be from something like leaving a job that stifles your beliefs, leaving a husband who beats you, or leaving a family that hurts you. It is all the same principle.

Not knowing who I would be if I stayed in this job after this conversation, I told my manager that if my boss would not let me stay bra-less, I would quit. I understand the science of choosing battles, which is why when I first started and I was told I could not wear shorts for the same reason, I complied. Or when my coworker got yelled at for wearing legging (not transparent, and worn solely for comfort,) I decided to keep my mouth shut. Making enough money to remove myself from that negative environment at the time seemed more important. Now, I felt as though who I am was being put on trial. If I gave in to this, if I decided to be obedient to the will of men one more time, I knew it would compromise everything I believed in. I would not be able to tell women to never give up on fighting inequality if I myself gave into oppression now, for a paycheck.

People will tell you "Wearing a bra is not that big of a deal, you should have just done it." To that, my rebuttal would be that if wearing a bra is not that big of a deal, why did I get fired for not doing it? It must be a big deal then, to me, to my boss. People will tell you that your side of the argument is not a big deal because then you will doubt yourself, your convictions, and be obedient. Where you sit on a bus is not the big of a deal, but African Americans used to be arrested if they did not sit in the back. Nothing that can get you arrested, get you fired, is ever not a big deal. There is always an underlying principle, I know it, and they know it too. Even if they cannot admit it.

I will not be obedient. I refused.

Before I could even come into work to talk with my boss about it. He had my manager message me and tell me I was being let go. I'm okay with this. I'm glad someone had the chance to show the other women I work with that you don't have to be obedient. Even if I'm going out, I'm going with my pride intact, and with it, the pride of all women who cannot leave these environments, for one reason or the other.

There is this poem I fell in love with last year called "If We Must Die" by Claude Mckay. It was written about the fight for equality in the black community in 1919. The last lines are my favorite.

"Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!"

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments