The Daily Mail Vs Corsets

The Daily Mail has been at it again. It published an articles about the terrors of corsets and how bad they are for women to wear. They even quoted a specialist on the subject, a philosophy MD, not a real doctor at all.
Vollers have written an excellent article about this. Follow the link to read more:

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Tanya Sweeney on how the Irish bust went BOOM!

By Tanya Sweeney
Saturday Aug 6 2011

There was no denying that the new bra was infinitely more comfortable than the 36E I walked in with. But a H-cup? Monstrous. A recent, tearful visit to the bra shop set Tanya Sweeney on a mission to discover why our breasts are now bigger, with the average woman matching our cover girl Georgia Salpa’s DDs.
Georgia Salpa: A natural 32DD
Retail therapy, form of cardio, pick-me-up … suffice to say that shopping is great sport. At least, it’s all fun and games until you find yourself crying in a changing room as I did recently.

Yet it wasn’t because I had a dress stuck over my head or the button on a pair of jeans did that damning, accusatory pop.

It was because I felt like a full-blown circus freak, someone who deserved billing in between the bearded lady and the sword-swallowing conjoined twins at a county fair.

I had just been told in a London lingerie store that my bra size was a very grotesque, unnatural-sounding — oh God, Sweeney, just type it — 32H.

If you’d told my 12-year-old self that I’d be using tissues in a bra changing room for crying and not cup-stuffing in my 30s, she’d no doubt have been dead chuffed.

But as with much of adulthood, it’s not half as much fun as you thought it might be.

“That’s not normally the reaction we get in here when we tell people that,” murmured the assistant as she hoisted my boobs into an industrial-standard haulage device.

Yet humiliation burned through me. I wanted to flee, even if it meant incurring two black eyes.

There was no denying that the new bra was infinitely more comfortable than the 36E I walked in with. But a H-cup?


Later, I went home and typed the damning bra size into Google Images, to get some kind of visual reference point. Let’s just say I’d reached a few ‘specialist’ Russian sites within a few clicks and leave it at that.

Let it be stated for the record that I had many, many reservations about writing an article of this nature, and specifically about disclosing the above information.

It’s all a bit … you don’t need me to tell you. A bit First World Problem.

As grating on some ears, no doubt, as “money just sticks to me”, or “no matter what I eat, I can’t put on weight”.

No good ever came of talking up an overabundance of cleavage, unless you’re a particularly tiresome, attention-grabbing kind of celebrity. Yet it’s time to debunk some myths. When it comes to boobs, the Lord giveth … but then, believe it or not, He taketh away.

The down sides

No doubt you’ve already heard about the backache; the inability to wear shirts; the women who make bitchy sideswipes out of the corners of their mouths.

What you might not have heard about is the more mundane aspects of having a larger chest. The constant need to wear a bra. The fact that Topshop and Oasis are, for the most part, out of the question. The inability to escape looking matronly.

The feeling as though you’re carrying two bags of shopping, 24/7. The quiet coveting of a more streamlined, minimalist silhouette. The assumption that you’re a certain type of girl.

The sheer exhaustion of saying to female pals, for the umpteenth time, “If I could give you a handful, I would”.

There have been times when I’ve been standing in a group, waiting for a photo to be taken. One guy disappears from view, murmuring, “I’m sorry, but I just need to…”, before he reappears behind you, cupping your chest without warning, your face a mixture of confusion and trying to be a good sport.

A word in your shell-likes, gents: just because they’re there, doesn’t give you licence to treat them — quite literally –as funbags.

Ah, the greatest myth of them all — that men are turned on by sizeable boobs. This is received as stone-cold wisdom, but the reality is often much different.

Men tend to look on big boobs as they might Everest; something they might like to have a crack at, albeit only in theory.

In truth, the men I encounter seem terrified, even intimidated by them. Is it a weird power thing, or are they simply afraid of death by flesh-drowning?

I’m not alone

Yet here’s the curious part — when I hauled myself back from London to Ireland (no excess baggage costs, mercifully), and disclosed my moment of ignominy to a few friends, their reactions were extraordinary.

“Pfft, sure I’m a 30F,” shrugged one size-10 friend. “Pshaw, I’m a 34G,” claimed another, a toned size 12. So ashamed is another pal of her natural G-cup size that she removes the labels from her bras, lest she wind up in a car accident.

The thing is, these girls would never be classed by anyone as busty or pneumatic.

Their chests appear unremarkable — and I mean this in the nicest possible way.

Conversely, Georgia Salpa — feted for her boobs — is a 32D cup, according to her new card at Andrea Roche’s model agency.

At her largest, professional walking cleavage Jordan was a 32FF.

Even Christina Hendricks, whose breasts seem to enter a room several moments before she does, is reported as a 32DD.

There is something very wrong with this picture.

Our cups runneth over

Breasts are getting bigger, both here and in the UK. In 2007, Marks & Spencer began stocking J-cup bras.

Research states that the average bra size in the UK has gone from a 34B to 36D. Compare this to the bombshell era of the 1950s, when the average woman wore a B-cup.

Earlier this year, specialist company Bravissimo launched an L-cup bra, after 18 months of research and production. What’s more, Bravissimo research has shown that at least 60pc of women currently wearing a C-cup should actually be wearing a D-cup and anything up to an F-cup.

They also estimate that the average bra size is more likely to be 34E rather than 36D.

“Since the first Bravissimo shop opened in 1999, we have seen a steady flow of women around the UK who need an L-cup bra,” says Jo Lee of Bravissimo.

“There is a total misconception that it’s unusual to be big boobed and small bodied, yet we’ve been contacted by more than two million women since we started in 1995, the vast majority of whom are naturally small in the body and big in the bust.”

Closer to home, Clodagh Weber founded specialist lingerie company Bramora on Dublin’s Earlsfort Terrace six years ago.

She opened the store after noticing a glaring hole in the market after being unable to find wedding lingerie in her own size.

Bramora gets up to 40 customers through the door a day, most of them looking for anything from an FF to a HH cup.

As it happens, the 32H — of the Russian specialist websites fame — is the first size to sell out in any range. It is, in Clodagh’s words, a shop for bigger busts, not bigger ladies, as might be the general misconception.

“Since we opened, only four women have come into the store wearing the right size,” she admits. “Some of them have been a size six and tiny, but have fitted into a 28G or a 28F.”

The surprises come thick and fast in the changing room.

“Women who come in wearing a 34B leave with a 32F, while a person who thought she was a 32B can often turn out to be a 30C or DD. Some 99pc of them come in with a bra that’s too big on the back and not big enough on the cup,” Clodagh adds.

I wanna be a C!

Yet given that women’s identity is largely bound up with her dress size (and, by extension, her cup size), these tearful changing-room episodes are more common than you might think.

“I’ve had women proclaim, ‘There’s no way I’m a D-cup!’ as if it were a problem, and they wouldn’t even try on a D-cup bra,” says Clodagh.

“They don’t want to think of themselves as bigger, even though the right-sized bra will make them look smaller. They get really upset, mainly because their whole identity is caught up in being a C-cup.

“People in their 50s and 60s come in and assume they’ve been the same size for years without getting measured. And yes, we’ve had tears,” she adds.

Well, I can relate. When women think of themselves as a certain size for a prolonged period of time — be it ‘I love my little bee-sting A-cups’ or ‘I’m a very average C-cup’ — to find out that you’ve become a D-cup or higher is quite the adjustment.

Aisling Holly, MD of Dublin cosmetic surgery company The Hospital Group, has also noticed a rise in the number of women — particularly over 30 — looking for breast reduction.

“People often decide to do it for medical reasons, such as backache, or to make their lifestyle more comfortable,” she explains.

“Little things, such as going to the gym or finding clothes to fit properly, can be very uncomfortable.”

In a way, it smacks of the vanity sizing that’s rumoured to have besieged the high street — the idea that clothes’ measurements have been altered by manufacturers to allow a size 16 person fit into a morale-boosting size 12.

After all, given that the number part of a bra size pertains to a torso/back measurement, while the letter part indicates the volume of the cup, a 30F sounds, in theory at least, preferable to a 36D.

Boob engineering

However, the manufacturers deny that this is the reason for the cup-size conundrum. Besides, we can safely assume that bra manufacturers know what they’re doing.

And it’s not an easy job if you consider the contents of an article, entitled ‘Brassieres: An Engineering Miracle’, that was published in the February 1964 issue of ‘Science and Mechanics Journal’.

It said: “The challenge of enclosing and supporting a semi-solid mass of variable volume and shape, plus its adjacent mirror image, involves a design effort comparable to that of building a bridge or a cantilevered skyscraper.”

And, given that a DD+ cup now has 31 design components — 10 more than a smaller size and a vast improvement on models from past decades — it’s also safe to assume that bra designers wouldn’t change their modus operandi for the sake of vanity.

Clodagh notes: “In my experience, the changes in size are because a lot of people haven’t been wearing the right size bra for years.

“They’ve gone to the high-street stores and been measured with a tape, whereas we prefer to fit people into bras to establish the size. I’m not sure it’s a vanity sizing thing, as most women don’t like to hear that they are bigger.”

Is it a fat thing?

But why this quantum leap through the alphabet?

Of course, today’s young bra shoppers are the first generation born to women who took the Pill.

To date, there is no research about the effect of sustained hormone ingestion on subsequent generations and their cleavage. However, it is known that taking the Pill — concentrated amounts of oestrogen, and sometimes progesterone –affects breast size.

Ask anyone on the Pill about the unexplained tantrums and zit breakouts, and they’re likely to acknowledge that, yes, this is one not-unwelcome side-effect.

The men in white coats agree. Professor Mark McLean of the University of Western Sydney says lifelong exposure to the Pill is a factor in the increase in bust size.

“We know oestrogen stimulates breast ducts and causes tissue to proliferate,” he says.

“The whole reason breasts develop at the start of puberty is because that’s when oestrogen starts to kick in. Anyone on the Pill is then being exposed to more.”

Another theory states that rising obesity levels are to blame for the rise in breast size. Certainly, at a size 14 and with a 33in waist, my H-cuppers aren’t staggeringly out of proportion with the rest of me.

Nutritionist Sarah Keogh notes that, given that 66pc of Irish people are overweight, the fat will invariably go on to the breast as well as the stomach and thighs.

“Our ovaries produce oestrogen, but a lot of oestrogen is produced by fat cells, so the more fat you have, the more oestrogen you will produce,” she explains. “This does trigger breast growth and puberty.”

Yet this doesn’t explain how a size six Bramora customer can be a 28G.

Another more disturbing theory that has been floated is that the food we eat has changed our bodies; specifically, that xenoestrogens — man-made chemicals found in everyday items like food preservatives and make-up — might be responsible.

In 2002, research published by the Environment Agency in the UK showed that an “exquisitely potent” form of oestrogen, which is believed to have entered the rivers through the urine of Pill and HRT users, was responsible for changing the sex of half of all the male fish in British lowland rivers, and could be contaminating the water supply in the UK.

“There’s little direct evidence but lots of indirect evidence that xenoestrogens have an oestrogenic effect and affect the growth of human breast cancer cells,” says Dr Ian Fentiman of Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine in London.

“But to take that on and say what the impact of this is on human females, well, it’s a bit more difficult to say.

“We’re doing some work, which seems to show that you can see evidence in relatively young women that they’ve had exposure to a variety of mutagens and the body has had a response to those.

“It may be that if you get an exposure to xenoestrogens at a young age, there may be an even more profound effect. The young breast is very sensitive to a whole variety of stimuli. But none of it is yet proven,” he explains

As to the idea that increased levels of hormones in milk are a factor, Nina Ni Dhuinn from the National Dairy Council says this is mere urban myth.

“Irish milk is subject to so much regulation and is quality-tested right through the process so that the milk Irish people drink it pretty natural and pure.

“It complies with EU regulation and our dairy comes from grass-based farming, so it’s a hell of a lot better than in many places.”

Boom and bust

Whatever the reason, Clodagh of Bramora observes that younger girls are coming into her.

“They are definitely a lot bigger than I might have been at that age. When you think of what our parents or grandparents cooked and ate, I do feel there’s a link between food and this. If whatever they’re feeding chickens is making them bigger, what’s it doing to us?”

Says nutritionist Aveen Bannon of the Dublin Nutrition Centre: “I don’t think there’s enough scientific evidence out about hormones in food and breast size, but what is a probable cause is weight.

“Hormones are not added to foods (in the EU), so it’s hard to make the link between animal diets and ours.”

As with many things in life, what comes up must come down — and not just with regards to gravity.

Already, the backlash against the hourglass figure can be seen on the horizon; the frenzy surrounding ‘Mad Men’ actress Christina Hendricks is losing pace, while the heat surrounding plus-size beauties is dying down.

This 1950s silhouette du jour — extolled last year in every couture house from Prada to Louis Vuitton — may well be out of fashion in a couple of seasons’ time.

Scientists will no doubt continue to scratch their heads over this curious new phenomenon for years to come.

In the meantime, gents, keep your hands to yourselves as we ladies get to grips, so to speak, with this new world order.

Or, at the very least, try not to look as though two Dobermans have just climbed up your trouser leg whenever you meet a pendulous pair at close range.

Andy Warhol may have said that any more than a handful is a waste, but nature’s endless bounty is seemingly here to stay, so you had better get used to it.

You and me both.

– Tanya Sweeney

Excert Taken from: Independant Magazine

The night I became a burlesque queen

This is a recent posting from the Independent written by Dierdre Reynolds.
The night I became a burlesque queen
Fishing out her fishnets, Deirdre Reynolds was beguiled by a tantalising mix of song, sparkle and striptease ‘Burlesque is closer to theatre than erotica’
Burlesque photo
Wednesday June 15 2011

Friday daylight fast fading, I’m hotfooting it to a city centre night spot to kickstart the weekend by shaking a tail feather — nothing unusual about that. Unlike a regular girls’ night out, though, this time there’s likely to be actual tail feathers involved.

Unglamorously hauling a bag of fishnet stockings, high heels, strapless bras and nude knickers, I’m off to join the stars of Tease — Dublin’s newest burlesque and cabaret soirée. And while ‘Deirdre Von Teese’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, for one night only I’m gearing up to be transformed into an all hip-swinging, lip-syncing, glove-stripping sex goddess — or at the very least, try not to flatline from mortification in front of my friends in the front row.

In Tinseltown’s most recent big screen musical Burlesque, Christina Aguilera plays a small-town girl with a big voice (what else?) who stumbles upon an anachronistic cabaret club which flips her fortunes in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.

Corny as it may sound, in Dublin’s after-dark desert of samey night clubs thumping with chart tunes, greasy kebab joints and tacky high street fashion, Tease is the same sort of eye-rubbing mirage. While at street level the after-work crowd is just starting to loosen its collective tie, once you descend the steps to Break For The Border’s basement club you may feel like you’ve suddenly awoken in some kind of Boardwalk Empire-themed dream. Girls in corsets, pearls and fascinators mingle with men in pinstriped suits, braces and fedoras over cool cocktails and hot jazz against a crushed red velvet backdrop.

On stage, a curvaceous redhead — the lead singer of house band Madame Anne and the Teasers — is purring out such loin-loosening numbers as ‘Mad About the Boy’. Only the smoking ban stands in the way of the full Prohibition-era effect — replicated by more pulmonary-friendly puffs of dry ice instead. Tease may take place below street level — but to call Dublin’s neo-burlesque scene an underground one would be a misnomer.

Since the birth of The Tassel Club (which has since relocated to London) seven years ago, the city has been under the spell of Twenties vaudeville-inspired entertainment. Between the Irish Burlesque School, Secret Boudoir photography studio, Dublin Burlesque Ball and even an annual hunt to find Ireland’s Next Burlesque Star, it seems everyone wants to become the next Dita Von Teese.

“Burlesque thrives in times of recession,” explains Tease co-founder Edel Kelly, mercilessly yanking on the ribbon zig-zagging up the back of my black and red corset. “Whether you’re on stage or in the audience, it’s a chance to get dressed up and escape all the doom and gloom for a night.”

To the uninitiated, burlesque involves tarty women swinging their nipple tassles. But burlesque is about tease, not sleaze — we even have security on the door to make sure no ‘undesirables’ or stag dos wander in. Anyway, there are usually more women and gay men in the audience than leering guys!”

Good to know, as I anxiously wriggle into fishnets, frilly French knickers and red high heels for my debut on the Tease stage. With its tantalising mix of song, sparkle and sometimes striptease, the monthly club plays host to Ireland’s new generation of showgirls (and boys) — as well as international burlesque and cabaret acts. Already, Ireland has (s)exported top burlesque performers Miss Bella A Go Go, Ms Harlot Deville and singer Camille O’Sullivan to the global stage. Now more and more regular girls here are taking a page from Bettie Page too, by twirling their tassels at burlesque dance classes and stripping off for pin-up photo shoots.

“Burlesque lets women indulge in their two favourite childhood pastimes — dressing up and make-believe,” adds Edel Kelly.

As resident Tease make-up artist Emma Farrell says: “Why be ‘Jane Smith’ when you can be ‘Azaria Starfire’ or ‘Sapphira Swan’? Why wear a Topshop dress when you can swan around in a silk evening gown, pearls and red lipstick à la Veronica Lake?”

‘Women learn to embrace their curves and feel sexy and confident,” adds boudoir photographer Edel, who also takes sensual near-nude snaps popular with women ranging from brides-to-be to cancer survivors. “It’s a really liberating experience.”

Confidence-boosting as a burlesque makeover may be, my corset is remaining firmly fastened as I follow renowned Dublin performer Mz Epiphany DeMeanour on stage for a impromptu routine. Luckily, it’s early in the night and there are only a few non-plussed soundmen, fellow performers and my own wing women to witness my pathetic first foray into the world of professional seduction — wiggling, shimmying, shaking and twirling to Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’.

Sweating and contorting as I try to follow Epiphany’s lead, I look like I’ve got a fever, alright — though not in a good way. Still, even divine fan dancer Mz DeMeanour — aka interior designer Sinead Curran — got her big break by winging it.

“I was working front of house at The Tassel Club when the organiser asked me to fill in for a performer at a show in Limerick,” says Epiphany. “I figured nobody would know me, so I agreed. I got up on stage in a showgirl costume with a live band — and somehow got through it.”

As her foxy alter ego, Epiphany dexterously protects her modesty with pristine white ostrich feathers — managing to leave something to the imagination even when totally naked. Yet even the most talented burlesque starlets have been denounced as nothing short of glorified strippers by some. “It’s not about what you take off, it’s about how you do it,” argues Epiphany. “Ultimately, a burlesque performer and a stripper are both girls on stage taking their clothes off — the difference is how they do it.”

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been exposed to bad performances calling itself burlesque,” she adds. “Burlesque is closer to theatre than erotica,” chief Tease Edel agrees. “A typical performance might include expensive costumes, props, music, dance, comedy and, yes, occasionally striptease. Unlike strippers, burlesque performers often do it for fun and spend more on their act than they make.”

As the venue fills up with a mixture of couples, groups of girls and the odd single bloke who hasn’t read the poster properly, sure enough there follows a series of extravagant strip routines you’re unlikely to find on stage at Stringfellows — from a sex-kitten cat burglar to a naughty nun driven to desire by a pair of ‘devil gloves’.

But don’t worry, ladies — there are male performers too. To the Bond theme tune, three burlesque buachaillí with a licence to thrill slowly disrobe until the lights are killed at the critical moment.

To para-pinch a line from the aformentioned Burlesque flick — the basement club may not have any windows, but from where I’m sitting it may just have the best view in town.

See and

– Deirdre Reynolds

High Street Retailer says Hourglass figure is coming back

High street retailer Debenhams has revealed that Britain’s perception of what an ideal woman should look like is changing.

After five decades of worshiping tall, thin, slim-hipped women, society is moving towards favouring the traditional hour glass figure, sales figures suggest.

Demand for shape wear saw a sales peak of +225 percent last year, creating the impression of a classic Marilyn Monroe style figure, as well as women’s clothes, which create the perfect body silhouette.

Debenhams spokeswoman Michelle Dowdall said: “It looks like big busts, big hips and narrow waists are on their way back.

See more at