Breasts are back. If you're Rihanna. Or under 40

But don't think you can just put your lady lumps in any old underwired M&S number. Oh no


Ladies, you may breathe a sigh of relief!

Actually, you may want to start by just breathing, now that you’re permitted to unfurl the bandage tape, unlace the corset and free your bosom from the bonds of a sports bra one size too small.

Boobs are back.

We know this to be true because the New York Post – a publication owned by Rupert Murdoch – has declared it so.

The paper reports that Rihanna “risked bursting out of her voluminous red dress as she hiked up her lady lumps” at an event last week, marking the official Return of the Breast.

For those of us unaware that our “lady lumps” – a term that, frankly, makes Trump’s descriptions of the female anatomy seem positively poetic – ever went away, it goes on to explain that “the perky little bosoms of supermodels such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have reigned supreme” in recent times.

The repeal of the big boob ban extends to this side of the Atlantic too. “Curve Your Enthusiasm: Big boobs bounce back” reported the Sun, another Murdoch title, this week.

This might seem like good news for the average Irish woman, whose bra size is 34C. But don’t think this means you can manoeuvre your lady lumps into any old underwired Marks and Spencer number and be done with it. Oh no. There are improvements to be made first. (Remember, ladies there is literally no part of the female anatomy that can’t benefit from the application of something cooked up in a marketing department by experts in making us feel bad about our bodies.) Consider enhancing them with “push-up bras, chicken fillets, clever make-up” or “glitterboobs”, as seen at Glastonbury, advised the Post.

The news that boobs have returned from their state of exile ignited a mix of relief and bewilderment on Twitter.

This repeal of the boob ban may not be unrelated to a story broken by the Sun and the New York Post, those august guardians of all things mammary-related, earlier this year.

“Staring at boobs may give a boost to male lifespans,” went the headline.

“It may seem like an inconvenience, or an invasion of privacy, to many women but staring at boobs creates a positive mindset in men,” stated the report. The science behind this was a 2012 study which showed that positive thinking helped men control their coronary heart disease, a study to which the Sun applied the age-old formula, “men + positive thinking = BOOBS”.

But before you pull your bosoms down from the box in the attic – where they’ve been languishing alongside the foot spa, bootcut jeans and the fairy tree lights – and unleash them on the nearest ageing male, wait! Because over in the Saturday edition of the London Times, another Murdoch paper (raise your hand if you’re spotting a trend here), it emerged that not all boobs are back.

Only those belonging to the under 40s: cleavage in the over 40s is out, journalist Sam Leith reported, in a helpful piece entitled, “What not to do, say and wear if you’re over 40: Take the Age Limit Test”.

“Obviously, it depends on the boobs, their support etc. But as a rule you want to avoid a great crepey, fake-tanned, cantilevered declivity, into which spare change, nephews and nieces, family pets etc might easily vanish,” he instructed, adding wittily that “this applies to women too”.

So there you have it ladies. Having boobs is fine if you’re Rihanna; not so much if you’re 50-year-old Salma Hayek (who, according to the same article, should also be booking herself in for a sensible short haircut right about now.)

Alternatively, of course, we could all decide we’ve had enough of this sexist, ageist, reductionist nonsense. We could stop being complicit in the policing of our behaviour and our bodies and simply choose to vote with our wallets. We could bypass whatever outlet is issuing the latest diktat about how the pay gap is our own fault, because we are not ambitious enough or because we have the temerity to get pregnant; or about the age at which we must forsake skinny jeans or cleavage; or about whether we need to have our labia minora trimmed; or about how often we need to apply luminiser to our vulvas (I wish I had just made that up, but alas it is indeed a thing: Google “the perfect V”).

We could loudly, and as often as necessary, reject the suggestion that everything from being raped, to being paid less, to being trolled on the internet, to men dying young is our fault. We could accept that the only “perfect body” is the one keeping you alive. And we could decide to embrace those bodies in whatever way makes us feel good, lady lumps and all. Boobs are back! And they’re madder than ever.

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