I realize now that this is probably the most intimate article I’ve written for Feminspire, but I have no shame, and I’m here to explain why you shouldn’t, either!
This week I’m talking about those lovely chicken fillets you stick inside your bra to increase your bust size. I’m not focusing entirely on them, as exciting as they are, but I think they are a great place to start illustrating my point, which we’ll get to in a minute.
In case you haven’t met me in real life, and I know probably 100% of you haven’t, I have a very boyish, athletic figure from years of sports and a gene pool destined to make me never fill a bra. I’ve grown up seeing women conscious of having small breasts, have (on more than one occasion) proclaimed I’m going to have breast augmentation, and now, in my twenties, I’d love to say that I don’t care anymore what people think about the way I look.
But, here’s the thing: despite myself, I do care about what people think. From a young age (and I can only speak from my perspective and upbringing) it seems like girls are conditioned to want to look a certain way and to have a particular type of body. As a teenager, my nickname was Twiggy. I felt self-conscious looking through magazines and seeing women who had actual cleavage, then I’d look down at myself and see a skinny white female with none at all.
I feel like I’ve really grown up and accepted my body shape since then… or at least I thought I had, until recently. A few months ago, during a period that was pretty rocky for me and my self-esteem, I discovered that a now-ex boyfriend had said I was perfect apart from my small breasts.
Wow. Salt in the wound or what?
So, in a moment of feeling like I’d been kicked in the gut once again, I bought some of those chicken fillets that you stuff down your bra to get instant va-va-voom. At this point, I had broken up with aforementioned man and had decided I wanted to do it for me. This is seemingly contradictory, especially because my confidence had been rattled recently, but I wanted to do something to just make me feel like a new person, or something like that.
Some people cut their hair or dye it. Others get new clothes or try out a new type of makeup. Apparently, I like to put slabs of… whatever the heck chicken fillets are made from into my bra and feel the crushing weight of womanhood on my chest!
And now I come to my point: upon Googling the term ‘chicken fillets,’ I ended up on a forum where one of the posts was from a guy, who complained about them being “false advertising.”
I only ever speak for myself, but do you really believe I’m padding my bra for you? The lead me into a whole train of thought and made me consider another new “falseness” in my life. At the grand age of 24 I finally figured out how to apply false eyelashes, adding a new staple in my ‘going to anywhere but work’ beauty regime. Here’s the thing: every year, Superdrug (a UK drug store) sells 4 million pairs of false eyelashes, and this statistic increases with their ever-growing popularity.
I can’t say I’ve ever had anyone make the connection that, somehow, false eyelashes are linked to attracting a man; instead, they are generally treated as just another accessory. For me, I personally love the aesthetic they create, just as I love wearing eyeliner, contact lenses (for vision, and because I don’t love glasses on me) and why I dye my hair.
So, why is one sense of falseness so much worse than another?
If a woman wears mascara, dyes her hair a natural shade and wears contact lenses, society seems willing to accept this as okay. There is nothing wrong with her, she is just conforming to expectations. No one bats an eyelash (excuse the awful pun). If a woman wears a full face of makeup, maybe dyes her hair a few shades beyond the natural and then wears full eyelashes, we must make an example of her. Maybe she’s a tart or a slut for standing out from the crowd? Note that she is doing what Woman 1 is doing, just differently.
In an article about false eyelashes, here’s one comment that stood out to me: “Ladies, get a grip and just use mascara. You look ridiculous and guys think you’re DTF and desperate for attention.”
Why is one level of falseness is acceptable and the other level is not? It’s not as though we walk around as a bare-faced society, all of us with our natural hair colours (and natural, uncut hair). People cut their hair because certain styles suit them more. People dye their hair because maybe their natural shade is boring and they don’t want to be bland! Some people wear makeup because they want to enhance what they already have.
When I wear my chicken fillets and false eyelashes, I wear them with pride. I know my eyes look bigger and my lashes look like they were pulled straight off Bambi, and I know that I’ve got a secret on my chest (oh ho), but whose place is it to judge me for doing something so harmless? Why are my decisions so much worse than those made of most women every day to cover up the little imperfections or add some color to their cheeks with blush?
I think we all just need to give each other a break and move away from judging each other’s appearances. If a woman is wearing a lot of makeup, maybe she’s doing it because she is happy that way. I know my fillets and I are going to make a concerted effort to stop thinking of other women as being shallow for wanting to do the same things that a lot of us do every day. Perhaps if my bad relationship had been healthier and happier, I wouldn’t be writing this ode to falseness now. But frankly, I wouldn’t change a thing about my past, only temporarily change parts of my face from time to time!
Written by Becci Yare