So I was driving on South Neil Street the other day when I happened upon two giant boobs. By my best recollection, they were the biggest breasts I’d ever seen.
Perhaps you’ve seen them, too:
It’s an advertisement for a local plastic surgeon, and as billboards go, it meets most of the criteria in an effective ad (e.g., a dominant, eye-catching piece of art; few words; a clear message). But each time I drive past it, I get a little more sensitive about it.
At this point I should note that as a red-blooded, heterosexual American male, I typically do not have a particular problem with suggestive cleavage, nor do I consider myself a prude. And as a male, I fully realize that I’m part of the problem — the problem being a culture that places a ridiculous emphasis on a woman’s body. I get that. And as men we must accept the responsibility for a large chunk of it.
As a father, what rankles me is the message that this sends to my three daughters. Adults can handle it — or so the argument can be made. If someone wants breast augmentation or reduction, I’ll never argue that it isn’t appropriate for her. That’s not the point.
I’m referring to kids. What I want is for my daughters to never feel like their bodies are in some way imperfect. Abnormal. Unacceptable to others.
No matter whether they’re flat-chested or large-chested, my daughters should feel that either way is just fine, thank you. And if they one day decide to have their breasts go under the knife, I will be supportive of their decision.
But I don’t need anyone — a business, a magazine, a TV ad, a community, and especially another male — sending a message to my girls that their bodies are in any way deficient by “societal norms.”
I suspect I’m in the minority here. Many folks — men and women — won’t think twice about this billboard, given we’re all bombarded routinely with ads that show much more skin — and with blantant sexual overtones — than this one.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
Call me a prude if you must. I’ll accept that. But I reserve the right to argue about advertisements like this, and what they’re contributing to an issue that’s very real to many girls and women.
So tell me what you think. Does this ad bother you at all? Should I just forget it, relax and enjoy the picture? Believe me, I’ll be pondering your responses the next time I’m driving south on Neil Street.
Tony Bleill is the managing editor of Chambanamoms. He has three young girls who challenge him every single day — and he wouldn’t have it any other way.