There’s a piece up on FailedMessiah about a kiruv organization giving a model a breast reduction in their photos. It’s so terrific because it exemplifies something I’ve long known but never really seen articulated: large breasts are considered immodest in the religious community. It’s bizarre. On one hand, a woman’s primary role in that world is basically biological- having children- but at the same time, too prominent proof of her female biology is considered shameful.
When I was a teen, I was introduced to the standard “minimizer” bra, sold out of Borough Park basements, and, apparently, de rigueur for any generously endowed religious female. This bra was not your typical Wacoal-style “reduce an inch” garment. It was a Victorian-inspired chest death trap of steel that bound one’s chest so tightly, it could make Pamela Anderson resemble a boy of nine. I have never seen anything like it at Macy’s, but all of my large-breasted religious friends adored this bra.
Surrounded by unspoken messages of shame, with thin, child-like bodies celebrated as the standard of beauty, I thought large breasts were an unfortunate embarrassment. A gross, animalistic bounty. I was shocked, when I entered the secular world, to discover that large breasts were generally considered an asset.
That pervasive shame rears its head in extraordinary ways….Printable Version