Ladies, your breasts hold more mystery than meets the eye
Boobs are a big deal.
At least the British Royal Family seems to think so, with Kate Middleton nipple queries blowing up Google’s search engines this past week. There hasn’t been such a storm in an Earl Grey-filled teacup since Prince Harry decided to strip and show his goodies to the whole of Las Vegas.
So in honor of Kate, Janet Jackson and all the indecently exposed breasts that came before them, take a stroll through Nipple Gate and celebrate the humble boob.
So what’s all the fuss about lady bumps? They’re just lumps of fat, right? Wrong. A breast is actually a cute, compact milk factory. Breasts weigh, on average, 1.1 lbs and contain about 20 lobules full of hollow cavities connected to tubes that carry milk to the nipple, according to the Science Daily website. And boobs don’t aimlessly float on top of your ribcage. Ligaments, connective tissues and fat hold the mini milk machines in place.
But the boob god did not create all boobs equal. In fact, 40 percent of women have one breast a whole cup size larger than the other, according to recent British research reported in British newspaper, The Daily Mail. Interestingly, it’s almost always the left boob that’s bigger.
But hormones can raise boob irregularities even more, and boobs tend to be most symmetrical on days 14 and 16 of the menstrual cycle, according to Cosmopolitan’s website. Cosmopolitan should know, given that the magazine just brought out its own lingerie line.
The average breast size inAmericais currently a 36C, but be warned: As many as 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra, according to aVictoria’s Secret poll reported in Time Magazine. Wearing the wrong size of bra could damage your health and cause back pain, indigestion and headaches, according to Cosmopolitan.
The right bra is really important, especially if you’re a runner. I won’t tell you what happened to my nipples after running a half marathon, but steer clear of jogger’s nipple and invest in some good support. Research from the University of Portsmouth, England, found that boobs can move up to 8.26 inches up and down and side to side during exercise. That kind of movement weakens ligaments and causes sagging.
And stump out that cigarette while you’re out buying a sports bra. Chemicals in cigarettes break down body elastin, according to Cosmopolitan.
If you like your shape, Cosmopolitan advises sleeping on your side, as sleeping flat on your face can change your breast shape over time. And if you don’t like the shape of your boobs, you aren’t alone. The LiveScience website reports the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery performed 316,848 breast enlargements in 2011. Surgery for Gynecomastia, or male “breasts,” is also on the rise and affects 40-60 percent of the male population, according to the ASAPS website.
Regardless of your size, it’s important to check your boobs for any obvious changes in texture or shape. Research published in the BMC Medical Genetics journal found that seven genetic markers affect breast size, with two of these directly linked to breast cancer. One in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, Breastcancer.org states.
But let’s not get too down in the dumps. Boobs are fun, right Kate? Well, theU.S.topfree movement thinks so. Topfree supporters advocate for changes in the law so women can bare their breasts in public, just like men. According to Marie Claire’s website, it’s actually legal to show off your boobs in New York, although you can be arrested under public nuisance laws. The site also reveals the average erect nipple is taller than five stacked quarters.
So, armed with your new appreciation for all things “boob,” let Ms. Middleton know she’s got a great pair next time you vacation in France. Then pull out some quarters to see just how well she takes the compliment.
Iona Holloway is a magazine journalism and psychology dual major, although she wishes she were enrolled in bra studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University instead. Her column appears every Wednesday. She can be reached at email@example.com Twitter: @ionaholloway
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