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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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45 Responses

  1. Donna L
    Donna L January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

    God. Another one for the “women can’t win no matter what” category.

    I do hope this doesn’t turn into another 300-post thread about breast implants. (But if it does, I’m sure it’ll be all trans people’s fault!)

  2. Azalea
    Azalea January 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

    I can’t….Im fucking pissed. I grew this J’s naturally years of painful ass mammory/pectoral growth and two breastfeeding stints gave me the unreal 34Js I have. They kill my back n shoulders but they are as real as my heart, brain and lungs. Im not a sex worker Im not a barmaid but somehow growing naturally large breasts determines my career choice and social life. FUCK THAT!!!

  3. Jenna
    Jenna January 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    Not new, but still bleak. There is no right way to be female it seems. I’m glad for the heads up about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was planning on watching it, but now I think I’ll pass…

  4. igglanova
    igglanova January 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

    I, for one, look forward to the day when men finally shut the fuck up about other people’s breasts. You have a unique sexual taste! Sweet, me too! THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED TO HEAR ABOUT IT EVERY 6 SECONDS.

  5. Anna
    Anna January 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Oh, we have come such a long way since the “real women have curves” era. Everyone will have their turn to be objectified!

  6. Esti
    Esti January 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Not really on-topic, but the description of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is not remotely accurate. There are some fairly graphic rape scenes that are relatively short, and there is one very brief consensual sex scene. There is nothing remotely akin to “sado-masochistic porn” in it, and I think anyone who believes the rape scenes were intended to be titillating kind of missed the point.

  7. Caperton
    Caperton January 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm | *

    Jenna: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo does include some very, very intense, potentially triggering, scenes that involve nudity–and I actually have a post coming up about that–but only the most twisted fuck on the planet would see them as “bursts … of porn.” There are certainly reasons not to see it, if you choose not to, but the threat of a titty show isn’t one of them.

  8. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    The very idea of a “trend piece” about anatomy is itself disgusting. It positions bodies — women’s bodies, or bodies assumed to be women’s bodies because people tend to impose their conceptions of gender whether it fits people or not — as commodities for consumption.

    Trend pieces should actually be about inaminate objects. Monochrome ties are out! Motif ties are in! This is a trend piece! It’s actionable information. Folks can make purchase decisions in tableware and windowdressing and clothes based on what’s in and out — of course, feeding all the while a highly unequal consumer society, etc.

    But the media’s creation of body trends is just inherently wrong. It’s not fair to the presumed female object: women can’t just pick their anatomy based on trends, and shouldn’t have to even if they could. It’s not fair to the presumed male subject: my sexual subjectivity, first, shouldn’t be exclusively a product of kyriarchal privilege; it’s a human right. And second, they don’t speak for my preferences and neither does a marketing survey. I am neither wierd nor wrong if what I find attractive doesn’t match the media’s narrative.

    Finally, the whole positioning of bodies (only women’s bodies) as consumables is just fucking gross. My sex partners are not, and have never been, bodies. They’re people. The body and the mind are not separate units.

    In the far future if we can all have some advanced technology craft the bodies we want and I can look like Spock for one partner and Nightcrawler for another, then I’ll look forward to the return of the body-part-trend-piece.

  9. figleaf
    figleaf January 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    Not to sound tetchy here but WTF? Simon Doonan simply doesn’t sound qualified to explain the ways women are sexually attractive to men.

    Seriously, he sounds like little kids trying to explain the “mushy” parts of a movie they had to watch with their parents.

    It’s like listening to a straight person try and tell you that the more a gay man cross-dresses the more attractive he becomes to other gay men.

    Um, no, that would be as stupidly ill-informed as Doonan’s speculations about men and breast preferences.

    It’s not that there aren’t some men on the planet who think big breasts are great. Heck, there are gay men who think female-impersonators are hella hot. But characterizations like that are, oh what’s the word again? Stereotypes? And like a lot of stereotypes about “others” with which you have little in common, it’s kind of not really true about very many people the stereotypes are supposed to typify.

    A real WTF, though, and a real reflection of the power of stereotypes, is that reflex feeling we get when they’re repeated in ways we’re not conscious of. So when someone who’s main credentials appear to be “creative ambassador for Barneys New York” says something about men and giant hooters you reflexively assigned yourself to the “itty bitty tittie club.” Even though if you wear a B-to-C cup bra then, yeah, you’re not. Doonan just says you are.

    Stereotypes, they’re powerful, insidious stuff. Also, stereotypes? They’re what people make up when they don’t have an f-ing clue.

    What I really want to know, though, and what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, is how much of peer pressure and sex and gender stereotyping originates with people like Doonan who, rather than speaking with authority are basically faking it?

    figleaf

  10. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm |

    Figleaf, everyone who tries to do what Doonan is trying to do is basically faking it, in the sense that desire is personal and we can all only speak for ourselves. There is no authority in desire.

  11. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

    That article is so insulting. One of the worst things about it is that it completely erases so many people (as Jill points out). Big breasts would still exist on a lot of people even if no one had any breast surgeries. But perhaps many of them would be the “wrong” kinds of people or the people that do not exist in an analysis of “wat is hawt.”

    And Kate’s piece is great.

  12. Donna L
    Donna L January 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    And Kate’s piece is great.

    I only wish she hadn’t brought up The Crying Game. That was — I’ll just say unnecessary.

  13. figleaf
    figleaf January 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not objecting that Doonan is mistaken about “what straight men really like instead.” (Because who knows!?!?! “Straight men” is a pretty big sample to try and characterize!)

    Instead I’m objecting to his making blanket declarations about anybody based on stereotypes, Saturday Night Live sketches, National Inquirer covers, and maybe Disney movies.

    figleaf

  14. benvolio
    benvolio January 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    For a guy who’s worked in fashion, Doonan’s assertion that big breasted women have been ‘in style’ or ‘in-demand’ is particularly laugh-worthy. Because it’s been so freaking easy to find a woven garment in my size to fit over my large breasts all these years.

    Douchenozzle.

  15. Dominique
    Dominique January 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    My tits are not, nor were they ever, a fashion accessory. Get some bangles and leave me out of it. Thank you.

  16. figleaf
    figleaf January 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

    Aaand now that I’m back from getting my rear windshield fixed (not a euphemism) it occurs to me that the whole “men’s fascination with big boobs” theory is only as timeless as the ‘winger notion of “traditional marriage.” To the extent they were true at all they only really existed between the early 1950s and the early 1970s.

    In other words, once again, the meme is great stereotype fodder but not particularly true.

    figleaf

  17. firelizard19
    firelizard19 January 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    Yeah, I read that article on Slate a minute ago, before clicking over to Feministe, and just found it odd more than anything. The guy was having a lot of fun with breast puns, but that seemed to be the only point. Though it was *really* weird and skeevy that he equated violent rape scenes with porn. I mean, what kinds of issues do you have to have to think that’s supposed to be a turn-on rather than a shocking and painful thing to watch?

  18. sabrina
    sabrina January 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    just want to chime in and say that the girl with the dragon tattoo is most definitely not about sado masochistic porn, and anyone who would have taken the time to read the fucking book would understand that. There really is no excuse for missing the fucking point by that large of a margin. As to the breast comments, I’d have him know that my natural DDD’s are not a fucking fashion accessory so much as a back breaking pain in the ass.

  19. Tess
    Tess January 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

    The only men who make stereotypical comments about women’s breasts are the one’s who don’t know what they are talking about. A women can have large breasts and they can be PERFECTLY natural. I don’t know how many times I’ve been objectified for my naturally grown D-cups. No, I’m not a stripper, nor a prostitute. I have a PhD in criminal law and I teach at one of the most highly acclaimed law schools in the country. Don’t give me crap because of my genetics and heritage, because I’ll throw it right back at you.

  20. Corazon
    Corazon January 21, 2012 at 2:05 am |

    “As far as my pals were concerned, boulder boobs were for barmaids and strippers. Cool girls like Twiggy, Ali McGraw, Mia Farrow, and the above-mentioned degenerates were all highly desirable, despite being small of tit.”

    Ahh, the virgin/whore dichotomy. Still alive and kicking even in the second decade of the 21st century.

  21. j.
    j. January 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    Simon Doonan wrote an equally creepy and smarmy piece about going through some of Marilyn Monroe’s old clothes (I can’t remember how he had access to them) and sneering at how she was much “fatter” than everybody remembers. Oh, and he has a new book out called Gay Men Don’t Get Fat.

  22. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated January 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |

    Kate might look up Jimmy Murdock, if he’s still alive. He put Chippendales together from the relayed request of a fourteen-year-old feminist, and might be game to do an actual restaurant.
    Sexualization of mammaries became a quiet horror to me after an acquaintance was murdered and her breasts cut off, among other indignities. I’ll never lose my suspicion of the “tit man”.

  23. kungfulola
    kungfulola January 21, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    Simon Doonan wrote an equally creepy and smarmy piece about going through some of Marilyn Monroe’s old clothes (I can’t remember how he had access to them)

    He has had a long career in the fashion industry. He wrote Confessions Of A Window Dresser, about how he got his start designing window displays for high-end department stores in NYC. Much of his horrible attitude makes sense when you consider it in context of someone who makes his living off of appearances and shallow spectacle.

  24. Elena
    Elena January 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |

    And for anyone who’s actually seen Performance, Anita’s boobies are not tiny–I’d say they’re mid size for that era. Michele was 14 when that movie was filmed, so yeah, hers are very small.

    I’m not even going to comment on the objectification/overall silliness of this article. It’ll just get me too worked up. And really, who made Doonan a tittie expert? Did he earn a Ph.D in boobology from FunBags U? AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRR…I’m sure he’d point at me and say “barmaid! slut! hussy! stripper! trollop!” this piece just makes him sound like such an eejit.

    keep your opinions away from my boobies. mmkay?

  25. Azalea
    Azalea January 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm |

    women can have large breasts and they can be PERFECTLY natural. I don’t know how many times I’ve been objectified for my naturally grown D-cups. No, I’m not a stripper, nor a prostitute. I have a PhD in criminal law and I teach at one of the most highly acclaimed law schools in the country. Don’t give me crap because of my genetics and heritage, because I’ll throw it right back at you.

    Exactly, I can’t tell you how pissed off I was when I read this. The stereotypes don’t stop; being a POC (check), being a woman (check), being a working mom (check), having large breasts (check). At some point you’d think the ridiculousness of these stereotypes would just go away. He isn’t even the first to suggest that if a woman hasl large breasts that aren’t sagging they’re fake, or she’s a sex worker, or she “gets around” like the size of my breasts dictate how many sexual partners I’ve had, what I do for a living, whether or not I’d be an alcoholic/bar groupie etc (barmaid, seriously?! wtf is a barmaid?).

  26. Dao
    Dao January 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

    This reminds me of articles on hair. Every few years an article is published in some fashion magazine on how curly hair is in style. Well, I’m so glad my curls are suddenly in style as if they’re some fashion accessory.

  27. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

    I have a PhD in criminal law and I teach at one of the most highly acclaimed law schools in the country.

    Not that I disagree with your point, but I’m curious. Advanced degrees for attorneys aren’t called Ph.D.’s; the equivalent law degree would be a J.S.D. (or S.J.D.). Do you mean you have a Ph.D. in criminology? That’s not exactly the same thing.

  28. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    Dominique 1.20.2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink
    My tits are not, nor were they ever, a fashion accessory.

    I am a huge fan of this. Thank you.

  29. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm |

    @Donna,

    More recently some law profs call the jsd/sjd degree a phd and some programs including Berkley I think are calling that advanced degree a phd particularly if there are any interdisciplanary aspects to the degree. probably makes the degree more marketable.

  30. BigRed
    BigRed January 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |

    His misconception is imo incapsulated in:

    “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is, as those of you have seen it will be painfully aware, intermittently enlivened with startling bursts of no-holds-barred sado-masochistic porn.”

    Unless I miss something there are a forced blowjob and a rape — nothing masochistic about that — a lesbian make-out scene and two heterosexual sex scenes — neither nor. I am not a fan of marginalizing someone bc of their opinion but I believe that this interpretation gives a clue to his pov.

    More generally: between twiggy and double-Ds, I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive — guess I have my own hangups.

  31. Xeginy
    Xeginy January 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    More generally: between twiggy and double-Ds, I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive — guess I have my own hangups.

    Did you just say that thin women and women with large breasts (DDs) have “unnatural bodies”?

  32. igglanova
    igglanova January 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

    More generally: between twiggy and double-Ds, I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive — guess I have my own hangups.

    *spits*

    Oh dear, here we go. I have more than a few friends of the aforementioned shapes who would be rightly pissed if you’d said something this insulting to their faces. Shouldn’t rightly be considered attractive? Goddamn, man, those are fightin’ words.

    Please tell me you don’t actually think that the cause of feminism is propelled forward because you have a slightly different opinion from the ‘mainstream’ of where the boundaries of acceptable femininity lie.

  33. DonnaL
    DonnaL January 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    I’d love to hear an explanation of the “unnatural” comment.

  34. Caperton
    Caperton January 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm | *

    More generally: between twiggy and double-Ds, I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive — guess I have my own hangups.

    Aaand now I’m having flashbacks to my single days, when guys would try to impress us with their sensitive-guyness by saying earnestly that they didn’t understand why all those shallow guys were into big boobs, since these sensitive guys thought big boobs were gross and little boobs were wonderful. This would, of course, always be delivered to my thinner, prettier, blonder, less-endowed friend, while I looked down at my D-cups and told them I loved them anyway.

  35. igglanova
    igglanova January 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm |

    Aaand now I’m having flashbacks to my single days, when guys would try to impress us with their sensitive-guyness by saying earnestly that they didn’t understand why all those shallow guys were into big boobs, since these sensitive guys thought big boobs were gross and little boobs were wonderful.

    It’s so fuckin’ weird, eh? Like these people are so literally incapable of thinking in a way that does not prioritize the male gaze that they think ‘well this is what I find attractive’ is a legitimate statement of support. Dumbass, the fact that women are coerced into conforming to a standard at all is the problem! Yeesh. Women’s lot in life is not advanced if you simply move the goalposts on what men consider hot or not. For fuck’s sake.

    I mean, that scene in ‘Mad Men’ where Don Draper comforts his wife by telling her that ‘some men like thick eyebrows’ was not supposed to show us how enlightened he was.

  36. Tori
    Tori January 22, 2012 at 12:53 am |

    More generally: between twiggy and double-Ds, I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive — guess I have my own hangups.

    Guess you do.

  37. Glass
    Glass January 22, 2012 at 7:36 am |

    I just fail to see how either of these unnatural bodies should be attractive

    My partner as well as her mom and aunts all have DD or larger breasts naturally and the back pain and discomfort to go with it. So if you actually meant how this sounds you should probably go fuck yourself now.

    ‘Kaythanksbye

  38. Devorgile
    Devorgile January 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |

    One thing that really bothered me about Doonan’s article is the assumption that the size a woman’s breasts happen to grow to somehow TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT SHE IS LIKE AS A PERSON. Jobs as barstaff or strippers are to be held only by large-breasted women, and ‘cool girls’ must be ‘small of tit’ apparently.

    On another note, I could not think of one media portrayal of a ‘cool’ female character that wasn’t directly linked to her sexiness (in contrast to the dozens of leathery-skinned male action heroes who are revered as supremely cool) – until I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth Salander is one badass motherfucker. Doonan seems to have realised this and concluded ‘oh hold on, a woman can’t be cool without being sexy, since sex appeal is a woman’s only valuable quality! so how does this chick get away with it? it must be that itty bitty titties are in this season!’

  39. Azalea
    Azalea January 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

    Glass @ 37, Thank you because that…how the hell. Who thought that was ok to post on a feminist website?

  40. Azalea
    Azalea January 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

    DonnaL 1.21.2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to hear an explanation of the “unnatural” comment.

    I can tell you what that means, since I was a little girl I was told I would probably grow up to be heavy chested like my mom and aunts and there would be people who would have something snide to say about it. Well, by the time I was a teenager and it became clear I was already heavy chested and it would probably get heavier, “boob jobs” were well known. I was told my chest was fake (skinny girls dont have heavy chests). Pfft Now that I have a small waist, my heavy chest and heavy bottom I have an “anime” body, yup, my entire body is fictional because , society says so. You dont get to have my shape at my weight unless you paid for it apparently. Thats why the talk of unnatural and unattainable body types make me very uneasy. I was a DDD before I was 18 and they’ve grown since to J’s. All natural but my “unnatural” looking body type is very much so all real. Im not the only woman in the world built like this but because my natural shape isn’t shown much in the media its “unreal” and according to some people on the internet unattractive.

  41. Azalea
    Azalea January 23, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    And just to be clear, I am no longer a skinny girl, I have a small waist/back but Im not skinny anymore. Still, big breats have been deemed fake, now big butts are being deemed as fake too.

  42. shfree
    shfree January 23, 2012 at 12:35 am |

    Well, unless someone’s body makes little “click wrr” machine sounds when they walk around, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say their bodies are natural.

  43. miga
    miga January 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    True story, y’all:

    My mom took my little sister and me bra fitting. The attendant was helping my sister (who has always been well endowed) with her fitting while I looked around. When my mom called me over for my turn the fitter took one look at my small chest and laughed something about me being the “other end of the street, now”, simultaneously mortifying both myself and my sister in one fell swoop.

    This article feels like the same thing.

  44. lacyuu
    lacyuu January 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

    I read through the comments in the article and was scared how one commenter suggested every woman with a DD cup or higher should get breast reduction to reduce back pain. First, I got an E cup myself and I don’t have back problems (thanks to a well-fitting bra, I noticed many women, including me, wearing the wrong size, whenever I wear one of my less-well-fitting older bras the back pain returns). And suggesting an extremely painful surgery which carries risks for everybody who doesn’t fit in a certain pattern is just the same as saying women with very small breats ought to get breast augmentation. I don’t want to live in a world where there are only B and C-cups (I guess the fashion industry would be happy though, this is already the standard for many stores)

  45. David
    David January 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    I am a male of some years. I have thought about women’s bodies all of my waking life. Not all men are obsesses with size when it comes to breasts. In fact I believe that many are not, that this notion was sold to us by Hefner and his ilk and has come to be supported by critics of men and so the beat goes on…. Most men I know and have talked with are in fact goofy about breasts of any size, if the women who have them like their own breasts and if the women respond to their mate touching, etc, if they enjoy the male’s appreciation of their breasts, if they make them available for appreciation in a good and whole hearted way. Personally I am intimidated by too much….I just wish women enjoyed their breasts as much as I would like to

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