I read this quote and it sent my blood pressure through the roof. “Remember, if you are large breasted, you’re likely to be overweight, and the fat in your breast is usually directly proportionate to the rest of the fat in your body,” says Amanda Wheeler, MD, breast surgeon at Stanford Health Care and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. This is one of the more irresponsible comments I have read coming from the medical community. I am a runner, dancer, yogi, and a natural 31G. Does that make me overweight? I used to think I was an outlier until I started delving into the research. There are hundreds of thousands of women who are well-endowed but not outside their desired size. Does boob shaming exist?
The terms plus-sized and overweight are outdated, inaccurate and offensive. Like many women, I am angered at the lack of options for those of us who are forced to live with standards that no longer fit women of today from retailers and larger brands. The average American woman wears a size 14, reports SF Gate. The average bra size in America is 34DD — up from a 34B in 20 years time according to a 2013 study by retailer Intimacy. 65% of women are now considered “plus-sized.” Stores like Lululemon, Nike, Victoria Secret have publicly announced that they will not be manufacturing bras for those of us who are in the above the D cup category. The industry has not changed with the needs of females today.
The female breast size fluctuates on average 10% per month due to time of the month, what we eat, natural weight/gain and loss, and heating up due to exercise. For a B cup, this is not a big deal but for a 32DDD that is a full cup size. For years, I would wear two sports bras. In the study published in The Journal of Female Health Sciences, the researchers outlined the world of boobs. Not surprisingly, caucasian Americans had the highest breast fullness, with a volume of and a cup size higher than an F (larger than D in the US). The researchers stated that obesity played little part in the relative size of breasts — the average breast volume was found to be large regardless of body weight, with even athletic and slim women being large-breasted.
It brings me back to the topic of boob shaming. As girls, we each come into our new bodies at differing times and rates. I was a late bloomer who went from a small B cup to a DD over the summer of my 15th year. I was bullied and accused of getting surgery. Since then, I have gone in multiple times to get a reduction each time opting out. 85% of girls say that their breasts hinder them from playing a sport. So while I am sure Dr. Wheeler’s comments were not meant to be distasteful, we need to find ways to empower women to not feel self conscious of the chests they were “blessed” with.
Elyse Kaye –Founder and CEO of Bloom Bras and Aha Product Solutions has spent 20 years developing brands through product innovation for companies such as Black& Decker, HoMedics, Nine West, P & G and House of Marley. She is a runner, dancer and yoga instructor. For years, she sought out a sports bra that worked and after research found that there were countless women like her who were active without a solution. She wrote the business plan for Bloom Bras 15 years ago and brought together a dream team to bring her vision to life