A reader with a wicked sense of humor emailed me this link to an article written by a British woman who was fitted with fake (prosthetic) breasts for a few days, and then went about her usual routine in Oxford just to see what kinds of reactions she’d elicit.
The article is of the light and fluffy variety, and I don’t have much of a quibble with it, except where the author (Clover Stroud) acts throughout the piece like she’s genuinely shocked that some men would practically cause an accident in the street just to stare at a woman with big chest who is wearing a low-cut top.
I’ve addressed the issue of women showing cleavage before, in my post about the controversy over WaPo fashion writer Robin Givhan’s July opinion piece on Hillary Clinton’s wearing of low cut tops over the summer, and what it supposedly symbolized for women in politics. In that case, I don’t really think Hillary was trying to get that type of attention so much as I think she was trying to soften her image (which I wrote about here) in an effort to look more feminine, and less buttoned-up and stuffy.
Clover Stroud, on the other hand, had the fake breasts ‘installed’ and wore a low cut dress specifically to generate a reaction, although she seemed surprised that the reactions were so obvious, and at least in one case, “menacing.” I don’t understand her not expecting the blatant reactions she received. After all, a, ahem, well-curved woman wearing anything low cut who walks into a room full of men is just like someone walking into a theater and yelling “fire!” – you’re gonna get attention, and some of it will be of the variety you don’t welcome.
Someone in the comments section of Stroud’s article suggested that in the interest of fairness that the Daily Mail should also have a male author stride about town wearing tight jeans and ‘enhancements’ just to see the kind of reactions he’d generate. I laughed and thought to myself that it’s highly unlikely a male would admit to having to wear ‘enhancements’ in order to get women to notice ‘certain things’
But in the unlikely event that such an article were written, it’d be fun to read, because I think you’d find that women have the same visceral internal reactions to a nicely built/put together man, but that they respond to it outwardly in very different ways than men do. Most of the time, you’d probably see their real reactions seconds after the man passed them by rather than as the man is looking at them. Maybe it’s just from my upbringing in the south, but the women I know don’t want the guy to see that they’ve noticed ‘the goods.’ They’ll usually wait until after he’s passed by to say something about it to a friend or make a funny face if they’re alone. I’m not saying any of this so as to sound critical of one way of reacting over the other, just making note of the differences.
Interestingly enough, I was doing a search in the search engine I have here for the word “cleavage” so I could find what I’d written about this before, but mistakenly went to the Google search engine (which I use more than any other search engine) and said to myself “what the heck – let’s see what comes up in Google for the word clevage.” Would you believe there is actually a Wikipedia entry for cleavage?
Just when you thought you’d seen it all …