Nope. Just nope.
Earlier this week, Vogue UK teased an article in their December issue titled "Desperately Seeking Cleavage,” in which the editors suggested that cleavage is currently “over.” Writer Kathleen Baird-Murray went even further, saying, that in terms of fashion, “The tits will not be out for the lads. Or for anyone else, for that matter.”
Both sides have decent points, but Vogue’s defense of their argument rings particularly hollow. Though well-intentioned, their stand against cleavage doesn’t empower women. It does the exact opposite.
Let me start by acknowledging that I know how this is going to sound. “Look, a man is writing an article in defense of boobs and women wearing low-cut tops. What a surprise!”
But my male gaze aside, that doesn’t mean that Vogue is right to treat a common female body type as some kind of fashion accessory that can be discarded when it’s out of style.
The Vogue article itself does try, in an odd way, to make their anti-cleavage stance sound like they’re trying to protect women. The author states that, “Rejecting the stereotypes of gender has been brought sharply into focus, with the days of women as eye-candy, their sexuality positively smouldering rather than subtly played out, officially over.”
And, while that sounds vaguely pro-woman, one has to wonder — why does Vogue view cleavage as the only fashion gateway to treating women like eye-candy? Why don’t they seem to have any problems with any other type of revealing fashion trends?.
Instead, they only picked one area of the female form to label as “creepy” — breasts.
Why is that? Why can Vogue show me miles and miles of uncovered legs and backs, but a woman’s big boobs are somehow pandering to men?
What Vogue may not have realized is that, by declaring cleavage “out,” they were playing into the stereotype of how fashion magazines routinely promote unhealthy body images to women.
When Vogue tells ordinary women that their cleavage is a gross, unsubtle mess, it just adds to the body-shaming that they claim they’re fighting.
Vogue has NEVER been a friend to women with curves, so when they treat those curves as something that can be discarded before the next fashion season — lest you look so 2016 — it just reinforces the idea that fashion magazines have no tolerance for women that don’t look like Kate Moss.
So, ladies, do what you’ve been doing for years. Ignore Vogue. Ignore their unrealistic and impractical opinions on beauty. Ignore fashion that’s designed for window displays and not anyone you know personally.
Will you sometimes encounter creepers who struggle to maintain eye contact when you wear a low-cut top? Yes, you will. But you shouldn’t let those men — or Vogue or anyone else — stop you from dressing however you want.