Open Letter: Big Bust Shame
Dear World (but Most Especially ABC & Fox):
This isn’t so much about showing skin on plus size models as it is about showing cleavage of plus size models. Because, in our society, it is often perfectly acceptable for an A or B cup to wear tops that just barely cover their nipples, but should a lady with a larger cup size wear a neckline even hinting a cleavage line, suddenly we’re up in arms about ‘appropriateness’?
The size of my breasts are indeed larger than average, but that does make them ‘excessive’ as in ‘excessively tawdry’. My breasts, by virtue of their relative size, are no more inherently sexual than smaller ones, despite popular opinion. And yet I am constantly accosted by the ‘appropriate’ police when it comes to clothing, especially in office and professional situations while my small-breasted colleagues receive naught but praise for necklines that cut far, far deeper and hide far, far less than anything I’ve ever worn (including many of my bras). I have even been asked at pool sides when wearing a bathing suit top that covers a significantly higher ratio breast than the average bikini top in the area to ‘cover up’ and ‘be modest’, as if the very existence of breasts the size and shape of mine is an offense.
My breasts are not — ARE NOT — offensive. They are not lewd or tawdry or shameful. Suggesting otherwise, however, is incredibly offensive.
Also? Since we’re having a little breast rant right now, a few other things I’d like to ‘get off my chest’ so to speak:
- Stop STOP STOP asking me if my breasts are ‘real’. Or ‘natural’. Especially in that little *winkwinknodnod* way that suggests whatever I say you’ve already made up your mind.
- When you ask me my bra size and I tell you, BELIEVE ME. I am NOT lying to you when I say I’m a 32G/H. I am not trying to scandalize you or show off. Educate yourself about bra sizing: it is not what you think it is. A 32D and a 38D are absolutely NOT the same cup size with a bigger band. The letter in a bra size is a ratio indicator, not a static or interchangable cup size with a standard volume.
- If you’re going to talk about ‘appropriateness’ to a large-busted woman, examine your hypocrisy first. Compare what they’re wearing to what the small-breasted women are wearing (especially in the office, where this sort of oversexualized shaming of large-busted women is rampant).
- Stop telling me how ‘lucky’ I am. Especially when I talk about my chronic back pain, about the outrageous cost of bras that fit me (when and if I can find them at all), or about a social and retail industry that fetishizes my body but does not actually make clothing that fits me. From where I stand, your B or C cup seems pretty ‘lucky’.
- The next person who tells me I have the ‘breasts of a porn star’ is going to get kicked. Hard. Male or female. If you are male, you’re gonna get kicked in the groin.
The Lane Bryant commercial is no more sexualized or outrageous than a Victoria Secret ad. Anyone who says it is is a hypocrite. Check them out side by side:
Go ahead now and tell me which ad is too sexual. Breasts are breasts: the only sexual scales relevant to them are ones of personal preference.
Tired of the big-bust shame,