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Read Letter

Breast Size

My dear Jil, it’s a self-esteem issue, not a biological issue. You’ve allowed the size of your breasts define your self-esteem and that’s not really healthy. Breast-size is a genetic lottery draw. You had nothing to do with it. Your genes determined the size of your breasts. That genetic scheme manifests cup-sizes, creating a mammalian alphabet system of measurement. And so you have cup-sizes A to D, the D and the like doubling in on themselves to accommodate larger cup sizes like DD.
Are men attracted to only women with large breasts? Of course not. Men’s tastes are not generic despite media impression. Or women with smaller cup sizes will not be getting married nor have boyfriends. And that’s the point I’m making to you, that you can’t allow a biological marker define your esteem and essence. There’s more to you than your breast-size and if you don’t get that, you’ll be making the same mistake as a trollop. She defines her worth by her physicality. You’re doing the same too, albeit in reverse. In other words, you’re sexually objectivising yourself. Isn’t that a cultural mindset you attack in men?

Beauty is a cultural phenomenon. It’s always been defined by culture. The concept of absolute beauty is a moon shot. What is regarded as beauty in China may not be so considered in Europe. And what is considered beautiful in Europe may not be considered so in Africa, or the Arabian Peninsula.

Beauty is also defined by the times and the seasons. In Victorian time beauty was voluptuous. The Raphaelite conception of beauty held sway. It’s why the paintings contained full-figured women. But from the 60s on, the European fashion industry began to define beauty in terms of slimness, even as skinny. Remember Twiggy? If you don’t, Google her up. She was the sixties super model.

The problem is that nature reproduces from a genetic bank not from cultural templates we come up with. And so there’s no point trying to define yourself by the cultural standards out there. You were already who you are before those cultural policies were promulgated. There’s nothing you can do. Be yourself. And if it troubles you so much and you have the money, go for plastic surgery. Or use padded bra. But these won’t necessarily solve your self-esteem issue.

To be honest with you the people who define those standards are indeed few. Think of the editors at Vogue. Add a handful of fashion designers and then some, and you have the arbiters of culture. The only problem is that the parameters are so narrow and so ephemeral, if not whimsical. It hardly takes into cognizance intellect, philosophy and other dimensions of arbiters of culture.

If truth be told, these definers of beauty will themselves fail the test if the test were applied to them. If you critically analyze the objects of beauty presented as definition of beauty, you’ll find they are more of anomalies. They choose women and young girls with peculiar looks – the ones who don’t look like everybody. In other words, you are defining your self-worth by rarities of genetic rolling of dice.

These people are nature’s anomalies. Today, it’s unusual long neck, tomorrow it’s high cheekbones. And day after it’s what we’ll ordinarily call “ugliness”. They shifted the concept of beauty to “interesting face”. That can mean anything. The emphasis is rare physiological feature. The parameters are based on the ability to stand out and so draw attention to merchandise. It’s wholly commercial. And so the models can never be average or look like ordinary women. How many women look like models! It’s why there’s a counter-cultural push for “REAL WOMEN”. Dove commercials for example feature “real women” – curvy, voluptuous women with folds and manifolds. I’m just saying be who you are and find beauty in what you are, not somebody else’s idea.

There was no plebian referendum on beauty, was there? And there are so many stars and celebrities with small breasts. Lupita Nyong’o, Zoe Saldana, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss, Olivia Wilde, Keira Knightley, Cameron Diaz, Taylor Swift, Kristen Stewart, Claire Danes, Natalie Portman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus, Ema Watson, Charlize Theron… These women have proven over and over again that it’s not breast size that determines social acceptance.

As an intellectual, I’m particularly intrigued by the Peterist model of beauty, which in conception is actually transcendent. He cited “inner disposition” as definition of beauty. To be honest he did recognise Brazilian hair, jewelry, fashion and what not as beautification implements. But he insists these cannot be the definition of beauty. And that makes sense. The Peterist model insists a very wicked woman in Chanel suit and diamonds is as ugly as it gets. Solomon would weigh in and call the Channel bag and jewelry misplaced ornamentation. That the contrast of the ornamentation and character renders the wearer of bovine quality. That’s a nuanced rendering of, “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” And so Peter talks of a beauty that “comes from within”.

He also placed beauty on the x and y axis using quality and time as parameters, and plotted a graph. Mere physical beauty of course fades with time. No one has ever succeeded in the struggle against time. He then plotted transcendent beauty – what he called “gentle and quiet spirit”, as well as humility. He says these – humility, gentle and quiet spirit, have a much higher potential to last. In other words, a physically beautiful but temperamental and prideful woman will not cut it on the Peterist scale. The Peterist conception of beauty includes godliness by the way.

I will rather you use the Peterist model in your conception of beauty rather than the Vogue definition. The Vogue model is rather unstable. The Peterist model has survived millennia. At the end of the day, beauty is what is inside of us.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |


Tags : Beauty

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