Cleavage’s Coming Out Party
One difficulty for the naturally large-breasted is the double standard; even in an asexual tank top, they are looked upon as more sexual than women with smaller chests, both objectified and shamed for their genetics (which, by the way, they have no control over). This reaction involves a mixed-up cocktail of evolutionary biology and Victorian standards, complicated by weird media expectations. Ever hear the rumor that Anna Wintour doesn’t like breasts? Ever seen a runway model? Messages operate at two extremes, telling large-breasted women they’re the most desirable women ever because of their mammary glands, and also that they’re wrong and gross freaks who will never, ever be able to fit into designer clothing.
That’s why the ballsy, breast-proud exposure of the likes of Hendricks and Vergara feels like non-conformity, rather than over-sexualization. They’re representing for those of us stuck in the middle, who have been made to feel like we have something to hide, or that we’re only our chests. They’re representing for those of us who got sent to the principle’s office in seventh grade just for wearing a tank top, or who were doused with water in eighth grade for making the mistake of wearing a white T-shirt.
Maybe it sounds ridiculous, taking a concept so simple and banal as dressing for an awards show in 1-percenter Hollywood, and turning it into a righteous reclamation of body politic. But it does a lot for those of us who’ve struggled with this our whole lives. And when anyone in the public eye wears their chests with confidence—whether it’s Kat Dennings, Zooey Deschanel, Tina Fey, or Padma Lakshmi, all of whom let their necklines go free—it’s a welcome bit of encouragement. Don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years.