Heckler August 01, 2012
Illustration: Simon Letch
IT IS perhaps unsurprising that men's magazines are breast-obsessed (and give these ''lady lumps'' so many different monikers that Urban Dictionary should be kept at the ready). Maybe men have their personal preferences, though, not possessing a Y-chromosome I am no expert on this particular matter. One would, however, expect females to have a little more sympathy for the fact that breast size and shape cannot be altered without either intense surgery, or seriously cunning bras. Why, then, do women's magazines and shops insist on offering such mixed breast messages?
In the past, the desired breast sizes remained constant for long periods, altering only with women's liberation movements and new technologies. In the 1920s bras were designed to flatten out the chest, then in the '60s came falsies and the Wonderbra, designed to heighten cleavage. Now it appears there is a different desirable breast-size for every season. We are at once told to purchase the lifting Genie Bra that adds volume to the chest, while being exposed to the open magazine taunting of women who have had boob jobs to attain such cleavage.
Such ludicrously padded bras are on the market that I am convinced they could function quite well as protector boxes, should male cricketers become keen to adopt the trend. A recent article by New York fashionista Simon Doonan sparked great media debate when he wondered, "Small Breasts: Can they make a comeback?" (and presumably sent all women scurrying to their stationery drawers to retrieve their old small breasts - so lucky we kept them!). With this kind of breast-size schism being bandied about we best not miss a single issue of Vogue - God forbid we exit the house in our modest-size March breasts when this month is promoting a full bust! Are women expected to have some keepsake cupboard devoted to detachable limbs and body parts for every occasion? Stashed in our wardrobes amid our old tie-dyed T-shirts and acid wash jeans should we keep inherited corsets and powdered wigs, in case these particular trends roll back round again, too?
Why do magazines promote body shapes and sizes like fashion trends? People aren't life-sized versions of those children's flip books where bodies can be mixed and matched - ''Today I think I'll opt for my large breasts, thicker waist and those curvy thighs that belong in a Rubens painting.'' It's just not possible.
So, I say we leave behind those pathetic chants of the 1970s (''I must, I must, I must improve my bust!''), and instead live by the poetic words of Lil Jon and Shake What Your Mamma Gave Ya!