I am increasingly concerned about the state of my breasts. Not size-wise or shape-wise or 'oh God, why must all bra straps forever be slipping down'-wise. Just, I'm starting to think our boobs are to our bodies what canaries are to mines.
This feeling started a few weeks ago when my Sunday editor Kim Knight wrote a cover story about a new book on breasts. The author is a journalist called Florence Williams who found fire retardant in her breast milk, and I basically came away from that story with the impression that boobs are like spongy magnets for all the bad stuff we come in contact with. (I immediately threw out my baddie-laden body cream and bought two bottles of Living Nature stuff instead.)
Then I stumbled across a disturbing factoid, which has been around for a while but I'd never really absorbed before: the average bra size in New Zealand has risen from roughly a 10C, to a 12D or DD, in two years. TWO YEARS. (An NB for the uninitiated: the numbers in front of the letters indicate dress size, roughly. So a 10C is a size 10 woman with size C boobs).
Staff at the Newmarket Bendon store said: "We are also seeing young girls coming into our stores with larger busts much more often now."
Not sinking in for you? You're kind of 'meh, and?'
Read it a few more times. Really think about that leap. 10C to DD.
If all you know about bra sizing is that bigger is better, and you can't visualise the difference between a C and a DD, then I offer this link as an educational aid. Please use it in the spirit it was intended.
Ugh, I just read one of those women's' diaries, and I know I'm going to have my plastic surgery nightmare tonight. (It started after I watched a tummy tuck op in the flesh, so to speak, for a story. The nightmare involves me waking up with wounds, giant boobs and a new face, and a bottle of my own fat beside the bed. Terrifying).
There are all sorts of reasons as to why this is happening. We're getting bigger all over, of course. Bra manufacturers may be vanity sizing - tweaking what they call various sizes, to make customers happier about their busts. They deny they're doing this, though. Women are getting implants, but surely not in enough numbers to drive up averages that dramatically.
The other, and really quite scary theory, is that something is affecting the way our breasts grow. It may be connected to the fact that puberty is setting in increasingly early. It may be connected to the whole spongy magnet thing. We don't know, and it looks like we won't know for a good while yet, because - as mentioned in that news story - no-one is doing the research.
Have you noticed that breasts are getting bigger? Does that concern you at all? Got any theories as to what's going on? (Please keep it clean).
- Auckland Now
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