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Surprising Science

Cup Runneth Over

The average American bra size has increased from 36C ten years ago to a whopping 36DD. Is this extraordinary surge one of the “up sides“ of a nation in the grip of an obesity crisis?

“Earlier this week, Women’s Wear Daily gave ‘breast men’ (and women) everywhere something to celebrate: Bra sizes are up! Way up! While the median size just 10 years ago was 36C, the median American rack now fills a porn-ready 36DD! But don’t throw a party yet: As basically everyone who’s covered the spike so far has pointed out, this is not a good thing. In fact, the consensus is that we’re buying larger bras because — you guessed it — we’re fat. Amy Odell at The Cut is so sure of this that she treats it as a foregone conclusion: ‘Our boobs are bigger because we are more obese, of course.’ Of course! Wendy Atterberry at The Frisky spins the news as a silver lining to the puffy cloud that is our national weight problem: ‘It’s no secret that Americans are getting fatter each decade (obesity rates have doubled since 1980), but the news isn’t all bad. The upside to our bigger waistlines? Bigger bustlines to go with them!’ At least Margaret at Jezebel is onto something when she points out that obesity alone is unlikely to have caused a ‘sudden 7.7 percent increase in sales last year.’ Huh. Could it be that obesity isn’t the sole — or even the primary — factor here? Considering that in the past decade, cup sizes have ballooned while band sizes have stayed static at 36, it seems likely that this isn’t just about weight gain. Sure, when we put on a few pounds, we’re liable to store some of that fat in our breasts. But doesn’t it stand to reason that bulking up would also make us at least a bit bigger all the way around?”


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