by Cassandra Gagnon
In a recent issue of Vogue UK, there was a particular article entitled “Desperately Seeking Cleavage”. Clever in name, but problematic in content. In it, it decided to make the claim that showing bust was no longer fashionable. Now their point was, to be fair, that the bra industry has seen a decrease in push up bra sales and more acceptance for the smaller chest.
A lot of this has merit. Push up bras are having a decline and bralettes are being carried in more stores in more styles. Furthermore, different cleavage trends, such as under boob and side boob, are becoming more popular compared to traditional top cleavage. This is credited to both body positive rhetoric, and, quite to opposite, the rise in online harassment of women.
But Vogue tried to credit it to changing gender roles, stating, “Rejecting the stereotypes of gender has been brought sharply into focus, with the days of women as eye-candy, their sexuality positively smouldering rather than subtly played out, officially over.”
Now the first two reasons create no disagreements. Body positive rhetoric has been spoken and marketed to a point where people throw it around without knowing the real consequences, like sustainability or feminism. So obviously smaller bust sizes are being celebrated. As far as online harassment goes, look at an Instagram comment section of any celebrity where cleavage is shown and you’ll be surprised (or not, if you’re me) what people will say with an online account as a disguise.
However, while not a disagreement that these comments happen, there is the problem of suggesting that online trolls determines what body parts are in fashion. This is where Vogue’s explanations of gender roles comes into play. They say women no longer have to be sexual objects, that they can be subtle and still sexy, no longer eye candy. But this says that having a chest that basically always creates cleavage is objectifying.
As Twitter user @h0llyb4xter said, “I’m glad Vogue has declared the cleavage over because it gives me ample time to get rid of my old boobs and get new ones from Topshop.”
Vogue has been known to have feminist ties: Their first official endorsement of a presidential candidate was a woman (Clinton of course), they are always siding democratically (where many feminists identify), and they often say messages of girl power.
However, it’s a fairly generic feminism. The kind where you can say that certain female body parts, specific in size and function to women, are out of style but still cover the free the nipple movement. You cannot say “tits won’t be out for the lads, or anybody else for that matter”, and say you are looking from the perspective of empowering women’s sexuality.
So to my A cups, B cups, E cups, and up out there: a magazine, even at Vogue’s level of influence, cannot tell you that a body part of yours is not trendy. Bodies are not a trend to be exploited to sell bralettes or be cutting edge. Wear your own chest how you want, it’s not an accessory that will be stored away in your closet next season.