All Your Retro Needs Are Here!

Thanks for the Mammaries
By Dixie Feldman, Contributing Writer

The fabulously flat-chested Myrna Loy
The fabulously flat-chested Myrna Loy
One of my favorite things about classic films is the soothing normalcy of all the bosoms. In the Golden Age of Hollywood there was a reassuring diversity and sanity where breasts were concerned. Sure, in the Fifties we were treated to some pneumatic marvels, but for every Jayne Mansfield there was an Audrey Hepburn. These days, popular culture gives us just one ice cream flavor, and in two superhuman scoops.

Today when you’re graded on your curves no one wants an A , cup, that is. We live in a world where a D-plus means you’re far from failing, and perfectly adorable little bosoms are wilting under waves of public apathy and their owner’s own self-loathing. While many men will quote the great Will Rogers by proclaiming they’ve ‘never met a breast they didn’t like,’ the truth is we’ve all lately been schooled to believe chests must be super-sized to make the grade.

Nowadays there are humungous boobies everywhere you turn. They bob in and out of blouses like two bald men on a raft, they protrude from billboards, and they say a fuzzy, pixilated hello every time robotically wild girls dutifully lift their shirts from the streets of New Orleans to the sands of Ft. Lauderdale.

It’s almost impossible to tell the women’s magazines from the men’s magazines, or from those on photography, music, fitness or motorcycles. Periodicals of every description have at least one pair of breasts pushing up, peeking out, or playfully handheld by their coy celebrity owner. So why are newsstands hawking the hardly newsworthy, secondary sex characteristics found on half the populace? Why do movie posters bludgeon us senseless with hefty preternatural chests that stretch credulity as much as sweaters? (Remember the poster for I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? I still don’t know how Jennifer Love Hewitt was able to stand erect, much less fend off a psychotic killer.) Why do physicians who presumably champion healthy physiognomy place ad after ad suggesting your average-sized breasts are in desperate need of slicing open? Just when did such big boobies become such big business?

Classic starlets from Mansfield to Hepburn prove beautiful women come in all cup sizes.
Classic starlets from Mansfield to Hepburn prove beautiful women come in all cup sizes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like bosoms as much as the next guy. (Some of my best friends are breasts.) I recognize that sex sells. I even understand that our economy is built on building up insecurities and seducing us to purchase what we don’t have and now desperately need. Fine. Breasts good. No problem. My problem is not with bosoms but with the domination of these large, largely fake, manufactured mock mammaries. Mass media and the proliferation of pornography on VCRs and the Web have acclimated the population to see and expect a fabrication of female form that rarely really exists. Slim women with two mammoth mounds of fat protruding from their svelte carbo-scoffing bodies are no stranger to the scalpel. Big ole tetherballs tethered fixed and firm on otherwise pliable God-given frames inundate us day in and out, so much so that when a real bosom sheepishly rears its silicone-free heads it appears inadequate and even weird.

Most television ta-tas are cantilevered into Wonderbras or so surgically amplified that there’s nary a flat chest left on the flat screen. In shows like Baywatch and their ilk, there’s likely more saline on the beach than in the ocean. Pamela Anderson and her V.I.T.s have left us thinking the caricature is the norm. Now lovely ladies from nine to ninety are wanting breasts up to snuff, padding themselves with those flesh-colored, chicken cutlet-y inserts you buy at drugstores or disfiguring their figures with sacs with a twenty-year shelf life.

While it’s fitting that breasts be appreciated, even celebrated, that celebration turns sour when respect is replaced by an irreverent drive to build a better mantrap. These features great and small are wonderful even when they’re Wonderbra-less. Breasts are fantastic just the way they are. The real miracle is not to be found in a Miracle Bra, but in the gorgeous, genuine variety of fabulous flesh in the mammary mosaic.

Dixie Feldman is a writer and public speaker, television personality, and die-hard retrophile. She is currently working on a book about The Lost Art of Being a Dame.

2 Comments to “DOUBLE DIP”

  1. on 22 Jan 2013 at 8:13 amdc

    Fabulous, yes. Flat chested? That’s about as accurate as people claiming Myrna was thick legged. Myrna’s perfection, physical and otherwise, inspired the life size statue at Venice High while she was still a student. Six months ago someone posted a Thin Man youtube tribute (?) entitled Myrna Loy braless nipple pokies – with over 11,000 views, evidently her flat chestedness is still inspiring! Myrna is the poster child for the axiom that the perfect breast should fill a champagne glass (those come in different sizes also, don’t they?). Your column reminds me – without Howard Hawks (Jane Russell’s cantilevered bra) & Hugh Hefner (his magazine shortly thereafter), I wonder if the large breast fetish would ever have gone mainstream? Obviously there was an untapped market! After their influence, not even Jean Harlow or Mae West could measure up. I prefer Billy Wilder’s comment about Audrey, “This girl will single handedly get rid of the tit shot!” I guess that was before Raquel’s arrival.

  2. on 22 Jan 2013 at 8:15 amdc

    Howard Hughes, not Hawks, so sorry!

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