Has there been research into the shape of modern female breasts? & Are they contrary to nature

Agreed – not even two scientists agreeing makes a theory.
Here’s the definition from the American Heritage Dictionary

Seems pretty squarely within the definition to me. The fact that demonstrably two researchers in the field support it places it in a class aside from Random Wild Theories, though.

Anyone who thinks average breasts are orb shaped and perky has been looking at too many magazines or ignoring the effect that bras have on reshaping the breast.

In my mind, this question is along the lines of an earlier question about why breasts aren’t pointy-shaped like they were in the 50’s. The answer was simple - it was fashionable then, so nude magazines selected for the minority of women who fit the image and everyone else went for a bullet bra.

There are some websites out there focused on body image in which women submit pictures of themselves. Shape of a Mother is one. The women on those sites are not all that different from those in primitive tribes.

Since this is GQ, I’ll refrain from a rant about idealistic/unrealitic expectations set for body image and the damage it does to people of both genders.

I don’t see how it’s been repeatedly tested, widely accepted, or can be used to make predictions.

See the definition of “especially”

It has been used to make predictions, and there are lots of people who accept it, for what it’s worth.Not sure how you’d repeatedly test it, though I’d be willing to give it a try.


Translation: Boobs in their free-swinging and unhindered glory can function as effective buttock mimics for the purposes of attracting and keeping male gaze. They needn’t be tightly bound to form tight cleavage. The breasts needn’t be perkily orb-shaped, either. God knows most buttocks aren’t.

In any event, it works for me, intellectually and at a glandular level. . See Morris’ many books for photographic examples making his point.

It’s still not a theory unless it can be tested. If you call this a theory, then stuff like the Theory of Evolution could just be a guess. A theory, as used scientifically, has a higher standard than the normal use of the word.

I can easily find you two people that are considered experts in reputable fields that believe in astrology, creationism, even that the moon landings were fake. It doesn’t make it a theory.

Oh, and buttocks are not as attractive as breasts. How does that work?

Not until I get my research grant, dammit.

Perhaps its just one of those things that has changed slowly and we as humans try and find a reason for it when it just is mutation mutaion mutaion

Large breasts have been associated with fertility, for obvious reasons, and that may have been the tie to sexual attraction. I don’t know if buttocks are seen as a sign of fertility, but buttocks in human females could be breast-mimics. It doesn’t seem likely though. There are few sexual signals as strong to a man as a woman’s buttocks when she is bent over. Breasts would more likely be a follower, not a leader.

I’ve done a lot of basic research on this subject, and plan to continue. I’m not sure I care what the results are, but the research is very enjoyable.

In Russia, perky boobies own YOU!

Oh hell, they do here too… :smiley:

You don’t define “theory”. It seems to be a case of “I know a theory when I see it.” It’s difficult to imagine how to test this theory, or a great many others in the social sciences. There is, in any event, a world of difference between an attempt to explain human behavior and denial of historical events.

You don’t think so? I pity your lover.

By the way, I’m intensely busy. You’ll forgive me if I have to bow out of this, only because of time pressure. Formulating responses in a thread like this is vastly different from drive-by sniping (which I might still do), but for now I’m willing to concede that Breasts didn’t exist until Haddon Sondblom created them in the 1930s in a series of painting used as advertisements for Coca Cola. That’s why their characteristic colors are red and white. (1930s advertisers only cared about Caucasian customers. Later, the breasts of other races were created and colored by Peter Max.)

Buttocks and wide hips have been signs of fertility for a long, long time…

**Chronos **is exactly correct here. We’re talking about science, and you don’t get to bend the definition of theory just because your particular branch of study can’t produce the results necessary to qualify.

And this being a forum dedicated to giving factual answers to questions, it is simply factually incorrect to call the breast = buttocks hypothesis a theory.

Like many phenotypic characteristics, breast size and shape varies by population according to the genes of that population, and there seems to be a fairly large variation within any given population. I wouldn’t expect the average Han breast to be all that similar to the average “Serengeti” (Sub-saharan) breast. Nor would I expect Sub-saharan breasts to be similar among those various extremely diverse populations.

My limited (limited to intense review of National Geographic and the like) observation is that droopiness is more typically associated with age and not genes, but hey, what do I know? My other observation is that cultures which don’t hide their breasts flaunt 36 Longs as happily as 36 Ds, while cultures which cover breasts are more likely to flaunt the elite examples and disguise the less attractive ones with various sartorial machinations.

I should add that I believe there is some research suggesting that bra support worsens sag, perhaps by increasing atrophy of supporting ligaments. It may be that bras are helpful for larger breasts subjected to repeated jiggling such as with jogging (which may stretch out the ligaments), but as far as I know, braless cultures should, on average, have less sagging for the same breast size versus cultures that wear supportive bras.

See here for a French study (possibly suspicious, because those nefarious Frenchies might just be trying to get more women to expose their wares).

Sorry…missed edit window.

“De toutes ces mesures biométriques, il ressort en définitive que, contrairement à l’idée reçue, les seins ne tombent pas sans soutien.”

After all these biometric measurements, it appears definitively that, contrary to popular notion, breasts don’t fall without support. (Or something like that. My French is pitiful although this particular article perked up my interest in it some.)

Yes, there’s been research. There is no evidence that wearing a bra helps prevent sagging and maintain the shape of the breast.

Look at pictures of any NSFW: traditionally toplesswomen, who usually live lives full of physical labor. There is a variety of breast sizes, some are plenty big proportionately.** NSFW**: Zulu women (more), Embera women, Afar women, Dinka woman. Plenty of these women could have cleavage to rival Jennifer Tilly, in the right bra. Many of the young women have round, perky boobs.

Americans (and Brits) wear a much larger bra size on average than much of the world, but that’s mostly due to the fact that we are bigger all over. A women who usually wears a 36DD looks very different from one who wears a 32DD (who often gets called ‘small’), but proportionate to their body size they have the same amount of boob.

All boobs change throughout life - aging and later hormonal changes have an effect, but by far the biggest changes come with pregnancy. There is again no evidence that breastfeeding, or how long you do it, changes the appearance of your breasts - all of the changes to the breast have been made by two days after birth. As I’ve always understood it, and has been recently correbated by all my friends having babies, during pregnancy you see a large increase in the actual ‘mammary glands’ within the breasts. The helps increase your overall size, and might stretch the skin of the breasts. After you’re done breastfeeding, or if you don’t breastfeed at all, the milk-producing tissue shrinks back down - which often leads to a ‘deflated’ appearance, which may or may not go away as the skin tightens back up and fat up the space left by the actual breast tissue. The more pregnancies, the more likely it is that you won’t see a return of your former fullness, and I’ve always assumed that is why older indigenous women have breasts much more deflated in appearance than any of the older American women I’ve seen topless. Most of them have no access to birth control.

Now that I’ve been reading up on it - I find it very interesting that there are almost no cultures where habitual female nudity of the buttocks, genitals, and upper thighs is permitted, but that hundreds and hundreds of cultures in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific islands did (often until very recently - say 1930s-50s when ‘decency’ laws were enacted under colonial rule) or still do have traditional garb that leaves the female breasts totally exposed. I think Christianity and Islam are responsible for a degree of fetishization breasts have seldom seen before.

I skimmd the thread and didn’t see it mentioned: her breasts also wouldn’t have gotten as big outsidenpf modern society. One of the main mammory developers, iirc, is fat. Specifically, societies with high calorie intake from 10-16, tend to develop larger tits. No, I have no cite – although i do remember a study vaguely.

So, a natural bodily function might be to assign so many percent of body fat beyond a certain marker to the breasts for sexual development, but that goes a wee bit haywire when the body operates on a surplus of food.

Those with more body fat do tend to have larger breasts, but I’ve never seen anything that suggests eating more or at a certain age leads to larger breasts. Eating more just leads to more body fat, which is correlated with a] earlier puberty and b] larger breasts.

So far, all we’ve been able to come up with is that the huge difference in women’s breast size is mostly due to the sensitivity of an individuals breast area to estrogens - not the total amount of estrogens in most cases, although women who have both tiny waists and large breasts have been shown to have somewhat higher estrogen levels than women with wider waists or smalle breasts.

More body fat, more circulating estrogens, increase in breast size.

Larger breasts have also been correlated with larger amounts of ‘bad’ body fat (abdominal and intramuscular), type 2 diabetes risk, and a higher incidence of breast cancer. But I wish there was more research done on boobs - it’s always tiny sample sizes, sensational reporting.