(Don’t) show us yer tits

May 29, 2008

wanna see my tits?Renegade Evolution has an interesting post (link here) about that very gendered thing, the bra. Or, to be specific, one particular aspect of it: the lining. It seems that Playtex has introduced an additional little piece of foam lining in the bra cup – to disguise hard nipples. Shock horror outrage! Teh Wimminz have nipples! And they get hard! Ohz noez!!!1!eleventy-eleven!!1!!

As Ren says, Playtex have been “long known for their attention to modesty and the use of the word in their advertising” but I wonder quite what this is really all about. Is it, perhaps, an attempt to ‘help’ women take another step closer to appearing about as anatomically correct as Barbie, further objectifying and curiously de-sexing us on the way? Or is it Teh Menz who are offended by our natural bodies’ reactions, and wish us to cover ourselves to spare their blushes? Whose modesty is it anyway, to coin a phrase…

I have a hunch it may actually be some kind of twisted amalgamation of the two. On one hand, women are being told that we may be embarrassed to discover – suddenly! – that we have nipples. On the other hand, perhaps it’s because of the risk of inflaming the manly-men’s passions, poor lambs: maybe they’re just unable to control their wild, animalistic urges if confronted with even the faintest shadow of a nipple through a bra and (presumably) top, and need to be shielded from this dangerously provocative sight.

Either way, it strikes me that underlying all this is probably yet another marketing ploy to make women feel worse about their bodies and spend more money we don’t have, on stuff we don’t need – purely to satisfy an entirely fabricated ideal, another fictitious norm to which we must all submit in the name of safe, unthreatening, homogenous conformity if we are to attain the goal of male approval. Assuming that’s what we’re seeking, of course…

Sorry if I’m ranting here but the fact is, the only time I am likely to feel embarrassed – and it’s not  embarrassment for myself – is when I have to interact with those (very few) other people who insist on talking to my breasts rather than my face – and they, I suspect, would stare regardless of how well (or otherwise) my nipples were concealed.

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(Cross-posted at The F Word on 29 May 2008)

©2008 Helen G

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