The Curve New York show was tremendously fun. I feel Taylor-Swift levels of gratitude that I was an attendee and I hope to be part of more industry events in the future. I'm obsessed with the new styles I saw and I will always be enthusiastic, supportive, and curious when I hear of companies or individuals creating products in a full bust size range. I wanted to reiterate this again because what I'm about to communicate is a little difficult.
I saw a line at Curve that I've worn before and that I'm a huge fan of. I've read positive reviews from other bloggers about their bras and I was contemplating ordering another one of their sets with my next paycheck. I'm a big supporter of their company and was eager to see more of their bras in person. They didn't disappoint. I saw a model wearing a new style and the colors, the cut, and the material were all adorable.
However, when I opened their catalog, I was horrified. Their marketing material included photo after photo of "sexy situations" where a model posed seductively in their product. There were no playful tones, confident stands, or encouraging, happy smiles. Instead, I saw pages full of risque looks, suggestive imagery, and overt body language. Nothing turns me off faster than opening a catalog for a D-G line and seeing a bunch of softcore porn snapshots. I have a complex relationship with my body and buy lingerie for myriad reasons, but the primary one isn't to look like a prostitute.
When a bra manufacturer creates a promotional campaign with images that are overtly and exclusively sexual, they're playing into a cultural fantasy of what large breasted women are like. Instead of reflecting the complex reality of living with a full bust, they reinforce the stereotype that every D+ woman is a slutty sex goddess. This might seem obvious, but I live with my breasts day in and day out. They're not a cute accessory. They're not something I only have on "date nights". They're sexy, but they can be decidedly unsexy too. Especially when this one physical characteristic is sexualized over and over...by strangers. By co-workers. By old guys at bars. And now, by a company I thought understood the needs of full busted gals.
Full busted girl in sweats. The complexity!
I know I must sound like a Puritan. Believe me, I understand that some lingerie is meant to be sexy. I want to feel smokin' hot too! I also believe that every woman, no matter their size, should have the opportunity to feel sexually attractive in their lingerie. From an AA to a K cup, I would like every woman to strut their stuff. Additionally, I appreciate publicity photographs where there's an element of sex appeal. I love flipping through the pages of the Elomi and Masquerade catalogs for exactly that reason. The full busted or full figured women look glamorous, elegant, and sophisticated, as well as sexy. The 'characters' in those campaigns aren't one-dimensional sex objects; their sex appeal is one part of a greater 'story' about the lingerie and full busted bodies.
Joan Harris: Busty AND Competent
This one ad campaign hasn't changed my mind about their product or their brand more generally. I understand that WHAT they make and HOW they sell it are two different parts of their company. I still believe their designs are phenomenal and I'll be buying their bras in the future. I'm just a little disappointed this time around. I suppose I feel the same way I do when I'm at a bar and a strange, leering guy offers to buy me a drink. Thanks, but no thanks.