Ladies, are your breasts too bouncy?

What's the best way to sell sports bras? Show breasts with no sports bra!

Published March 3, 2006 2:00PM (EST)

We couldn't let the week go by without calling out the evil genius responsible for the U.K.-based Shock Absorber sports bra, whose attractive and pseudo-scientific "Bounce-ometer" Web site has been making the rounds in the blogs this week. The bounce-o-meter lets users "measure" their breasts' bounce, but instead of using boring graphs or formulas, the site uses a Flash-animated simulator to show snug, motionless Shock Absorber-bra boobies next to floppy, unsupported naked boobies.

This is so cunning I can hardly stand it. The site offers visitors a naked female torso, complete with bouncing breasts. Then, those people who are turned on by bouncing breasts and those who are shocked to see bouncing breasts in a nonporn setting e-mail the link to their friends or write blog posts about the site. (Here's a snippet titled "Not quite porn, but it'll do ..." by monkeypup: "The Shock Absorber Bounce-ometer is just about the coolest sports-bra ever. Why? Because it has a site that lets you pick bust size and level of activity and then lets you watch a chick wearing a sports-bra run. And for comparison? It has the same chick running without a top on. Yeah, I hear ya. I'm a dirty perv. What ya gonna do?")

And so the free publicity rains down on the Shock Absorber's head (or breasts, as the case may be). But it gets better: As a result of the hype, women who might actually want a sports bra will visit the site. And there they will find not just naked tatas, but sports-bra scare tactics. The site's animated intro announces that "unsupported breasts bounce up to 14 cm during exercise. Unsupported bounce may lead to permanent damage." Of course, the way to prevent this permanent damage is to swath yourself in a Shock Absorber, as demonstrated by the rock-hard mammaries in the handy bounce-o-meter simulation.

The weird thing is, the unsupported breasts in the bounce-o-meter don't even look as bouncy as real-life unsupported breasts -- the nipples ricochet around alarmingly, but the breasts' undersides stay weirdly stationary, even on the F-cup breasts. Maybe this is intended to inspire customer anxiety -- my boobs bounce even more than that! Maybe I need three Shock Absorbers! Or maybe Flash isn't quite up to the challenge of simulating the female form. Whatever the reason, the bounce-o-meter is probably best used for titillation purposes; those who are genuinely worried about breast health should probably look elsewhere.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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