How fast do your boobs bounce?

Recent discoveries in the field of breast wobble. Plus, a line of plus-size bras from singer/actress Jill Scott.

By Kate Harding
May 30, 2008 7:00PM (UTC)
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Lots of news in the world of bras today! OK, two pieces, actually. But how many did you read about yesterday?

First, we have the delightful (though somewhat misleading) headline "Breast Wobble Could Hold Key to Women's Chest Pain." A recent study by Dr. Joanna Scurr, a leading authority on sports-related breast movement (seriously), found the speed at which your boobs bounce when you're running is more likely to cause breast damage than the amount that they wobble. How did she figure that out? After having her subjects run on treadmills with sensors attached to their girls, "She plotted the distance traveled by the breasts and calculated the speed at which they moved up and down, in and out and from side to side."


Even though that sentence cracked me up (see also: "the points at which the breast was in the process of accelerating or decelerating"), there's a serious purpose to measuring boob travel. Scurr found that 50 percent of the women suffered from exercise-related breast pain. And her research has the potential to help women in numerous ways, including by influencing the design of sports bras -- lingerie manufacturers have already expressed interest in working with her. As someone who hit DD in eighth grade and went on to develop what I now lovingly call the Rack of Doom, I welcome any advances in sports bra technology.

Even better news for my big-busted, and generally bigger, sisters: A new line of bras is coming your way from plus-size retailer Ashley Stewart, "inspired by" singer and actor Jill Scott. Scott, blessed with her own Rack of Doom, described her unmet needs as a consumer to the design team, and they created the Butterfly bra accordingly. (Nice work if you can get it, huh? I'd love to get paid to design bras, but unfortunately, I can't sing or act.)

I can't resist mentioning that Scott's needs -- a bra that wouldn't dig into her shoulders and would smooth out her back fat rolls, according to the promotional video -- actually sound to me like the result of wearing too large a band size, not the wrong kind of bra. If you have the right band size, it should be doing most of the work, which will keep the straps from cutting into your shoulders; and the majority of all back-roll issues can be solved by pulling the band down lower across your back. No. 1 cause of the band riding up? It's too damn big. As the owner of Lee Lee's Valise, an awesome plus-size boutique in Brooklyn, N.Y., explains in this video, that's a common mistake for large-busted women to make. Cup sizes go up along with band size, so the cups on a readily available 40 DD might fit you, when what you really need is a much harder to find 36 F.


But setting that PSA aside, the Butterfly bras are reportedly comfy, much cuter than the "grandma" bras the well-endowed are usually stuck with, and more affordable than many brands that offer bigger sizes. That's worth celebrating, even if Scott probably could have saved herself the trouble of becoming a lingerie designer by getting properly fitted for a bra.

Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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