Equal Time Fall 2019

Page 30

Features

SIZE MATTERS (and I’m Living Proof ) Why the business of boobs is busting out from “bigger is better.” Story by SOPHIE SCHLOSSER | Illustration by SOPHIA HAUTALA

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ou’d think a Victoria’s Secret in every American mall would basically guarantee a bra for every pair of breasts nationwide. However, once you pass the iconic feather-winged mannequins with perky, pintsize chests in favor of the tables overflowing with itchy grandma bras, you start to realize how Buddy the Elf felt growing up with his North Pole peers: ridiculously large. It wasn’t long ago that ample assets were big business, with breast enhancements far outnumbering reductions because of the perceived correlation between busty and beautiful. Lifestyles keep evolving, though, and in recent years, smaller breasts have proven conducive to more robust exercise, better back health, and the ability to button up shirts without giving people a frontrow seat to the ugly bra you bought at the old lady department store. Apparently, Victoria’s Secret hasn’t realized that most of the female population still squeezes into bras that are traumatically too small. The practical solution nowadays: breast reductions. It’s entirely possible that the bra industry hasn’t focused enough on accommodating larger-breasted women, ultimately making big

boobs seem unfashionable. This explains the monumental rise in breast reductions over the years – according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, breast reduction surgeries rose by 157% between 1997 and 2013. But that alone doesn’t account for why young women have been looking to reduce their chest profile. I was once one of these young women desperately searching for an answer that would solve my diminishing confidence caused by my breast size. At 15, I faced my biggest fear: getting fitted for a bra. “34 EEE,” the sales lady announced after unfurling the soft yellow measuring tape from its death grip around my torso. “Unfortunately, we don’t carry bras in your size, but I can give you the names of some special stores for girls like you.” Girls like me. My heart sank. I slumped over in the corner of the dressing room, eyes closed and imagining the reflection of my 34EEEs overtaking the three-way mirror. I needed smaller boobs. Stacey Folk, the Denver-based plastic surgeon who ultimately performed my breast reduction, has seen an anecdotal jump in teenage breast reductions over the past