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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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"Nipples on a C or D-cup can accelerate up to 45 mph in one second, faster than a Ferrari"

At ESPN Magazine, Amanda Hess takes on "the place of the mammary in the pectoral-dominated world of sports," beginning a few months ago with the first women's fight in UFC history, in which #1-ranked MMA fighter Ronda Rousey was given the wrong bra for her match and subsequently had to deal with both a neck-snapping choke hold and a breast about to expose itself to a lifetime of GIF immortality. Hess then gets into facts that boggle the mind:

Greek folktales spun the myth that a race of all-female Amazons lopped off the right breast in order to hurl spears and shoot arrows more efficiently. (In Greek, a-mazos means "without breast.")

Research shows a typical A-cup boob weighs in at 0.43 of a pound. Every additional cup size adds another 0.44 of a pound. That means a hurdler with a double-D chest carries more than 4 pounds of additional weight with her on every leap. And when they get moving, the nipples on a C- or D-cup breast can accelerate up to 45 mph in one second — faster than a Ferrari. In an hour of moderate jogging, a pair of breasts will bounce several thousand times.

The piece, a fascinating counterpoint to the diverse array of photos in the ESPN Body Issue, covers female athletes' extensive strategies (from different golf postures to $15,000 breast reductions) to deal with their boobs as well as the diminishment of opportunities that come with increases in chest size ("Busty ballet dancers are transferred to hip-hop. Postpubescent gymnasts get put on the rings. Runners are instructed to play in the water instead"). Also, a bit about the sports bra:

When Katherine Switzer became the first woman to don a bib at the Boston Marathon in 1967, science was unprepared to grapple with the female frame in motion. Critics warned her that the repetitive movement could cause her breasts to atrophy and her uterus to drop out of her vagina. (She ran the race in a flimsy fashion bra under a T-shirt and sweatshirt.) The sports bra wasn't even invented until 10 years later, when a group of women sewed two jock straps together and slung them over their shoulders. (An early version of the original Jogbra is now preserved behind glass at the Smithsonian.) The advent of the sports bra "was like the birth control of the women's sports revolution," Switzer says. Still, for the next 10-plus years, scientists stayed out of athletes' efforts to make their breasts stay put. Finally, in 1990, Oregon State University researcher LaJean Lawson invited female subjects onto a treadmill and filmed the results in the first-ever study of breast movement.
As I grew up, I was shifted from ballet to gymnastics to cheerleading in response to even the barest developments in my always average-small frame; I was saved from an oppositional relationship to my chest by the fact that I was not actually good at any of these things. Mad respect for the female athletes who deal with simultaneous ogling and wrangling on the daily.

84 Comments / Post A Comment

garli

When I was a college athlete the thing I really, really wanted someone to invent was a sports bra that kept your nipples warm even when you were damp. (From rain, or snow or playing on water based turf).Diving with super hard cold nipples is the worst rub burn times a million.

Onymous

@garli a wool liner? ...eh probably too abrasive.

garli

@Onymous It was a decade ago (i'm old as fuck?) but I went with the little hand warmers you buy for skiing in my bra.

rathermarvelous

Truth. I get "inappropriate" lightning-fast when the AC comes on at work. Also, underboob sweat. Can we talk about underboob sweat.

stonefruit

@rathermarvelous yes hi hello I am here for the conversation about underboob sweat?

rathermarvelous

@stonefruit It is the WORST.

RoxxieRae

@rathermarvelous ROFL This is a short conversation that really says it all.

Dancercise

@rathermarvelous
My best friend and I are on a dance team together. I have big boobs and a flat butt; she has small boobs and a round butt. We recently had a lengthy conversation about the pros and cons of underboob sweat vs. underbutt sweat.

fondue with cheddar

@stonefruit Ugh, underboob sweat. Every day when I get home from work, the bra comes off, the big t-shirt goes on, and it gets tucked under my boobs. Apparently there are companies that make cotton pads that you tuck under your bra, but I haven't bought any yet. It's a fantastic idea.

rathermarvelous

@Dancercise Did not know underbutt sweat was a thing, and yet I am glad of the knowledge.

garli

@Dancercise Woah, I have small boobs and a large rear and have no experience with under butt sweat.

Roxy Throatpunch

@rathermarvelous There are many summery days when I put deodorant under my boobs as well as under my arms. Underboob sweat is the stinkiest of all, I have found.

fondue with cheddar

@Roxy Throatpunch It is, especially when you have to wear bras several times between washes because you can't afford more and/or you have trouble finding good ones that fit.

I tuck paper towels under there all the time in the summer.

jenjenboben

@Roxy Throatpunch Does that work well for you? I might have to try that.

SarcasticFringehead

I mean, I know the whole concern about uteri/vaginas getting damaged through too much exercise is totally a social thing and not even remotely based in science, but it still kind of baffles me. They're all tucked up nice and safe in there! Men are the ones with their junk all flapping around in dangerous situations.

iceberg

@SarcasticFringehead

iceberg

@iceberg Shirvo is pretty much famous for the flopping around of said junk in its lycra home.

fondue with cheddar

@SarcasticFringehead I'm pretty sure cycling is the only thing that can hurt/damage a lady's genitals. Otherwise it's all boobs.

SarcasticFringehead

@fondue with cheddar And even in that case, I would imagine it's just as bad if not worse for men, but I'm pretty sure there have been a lot fewer concern-trolling articles written about that (especially back in the day).

SarcasticFringehead

@iceberg And I can't imagine that's comfortable, either. How many studies have been done on penis physics? I was going to joke about volunteering, but then I realized the best way to de-sexy something is to study it in a lab, so never mind.

iceberg

@SarcasticFringehead There's got to be serious chafing at least.

Boy Pinner BatSignal!
Does it hurt your junk if you wear underwear/pants that allow it to flop around? Is that why boxer briefs exist? Does your junk need to be tucked up snugly for comfort reasons or is it just aesthetic?

itiresias

@iceberg I had this conversation this weekend when I went on a run with my boyfriend. He said that yes, it's uncomfortable (at least to him) and that's why he prefers boxer briefs. For more athletic excursions, that's why the dreaded jock strap exists.

He, on the other hand, was utterly baffled that I, running low on the amount of underwear I packed for a beach trip, went commando on the run.

fondue with cheddar

@SarcasticFringehead Cycling is definitely worse for men.

I call bullshit on equating penis/ball bouncing with boob bouncing, though. Dudes' junk is so much easier to keep secure. Unless a lady is small-breasted, taming those suckers is difficult, if not impossible.

stuffisthings

@iceberg I think generally looser = better, because of [insert plausible sounding statement about evolution and cavemen]. But I might just be saying that because the trousers I'm wearing today are WAY too tight.

SarcasticFringehead

@fondue with cheddar Oh, I would never compare the two. It's just funny ("funny") to me when people make the argument that women shouldn't do sports because it'll damage their reproductive parts, while mostly or completely ignoring (a) actual issues re: boobage, and (b) how much more likely it is for men's reproductive health to be compromised by a sports injury.

ETA: basically, I agree with you on every point, but didn't make the distinction clear earlier.

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar I can't believe we just what about the menned ourselves ;)

SarcasticFringehead

@iceberg Crap - I'm going to have to put myself in feminist time-out for that.

fondue with cheddar

@SarcasticFringehead Yeah, my comment didn't quite reflect the shades of meaning in your comment. That's what happens when you switch back and forth between that and work. You're right, it's totally ridiculous! Patriarchy, man.

@stuffisthings I know looser is better because it cools the boys, which makes your sperm count higher. But according to the dudes who have been kind enough to talk to me about this stuff, loose boxers in the summer can mean scrotum sticking to your thigh, which is kind of gross. Right?

@iceberg Haha, we did! But rightfully so.

stonefruit

@iceberg My face is stuck in an actual Beaker-like, D: grimace at that picture. Good gravy.

iceberg

@stonefruit I searched for a GIF, so y'all could see the side-to-side flop, but no dice.

SarcasticFringehead

I also just thought everyone should know that because of this conversation, Gmail is trying to sell me men's thongs.

Jinxie

@iceberg For a second I was curious enough to do a search for footage, but that's probably not something I want to look up on my work computer. I can sure imagine it, though! flopflopflopflop

Black crow

@Jinxie If you all are no longer at work, a blast from the past
here. The glory of Linford Christie's lunchbox.

Jinxie

@Black crow Wow.

Jinxie

@Jinxie And now that I am home, I've done a google of "Matt Shirvington slo mo" and this is what I found. Well worth the wait!

Stupid Flanders

"In an hour of moderate jogging, a pair of breasts will bounce several thousand times."

This is why I wear two sports bras when I run. Always. Saggy DD cups and running are a tricky combination.

femwanderluster

@Stupid Flanders
ENELL!
I LOVE Enell sports bras, you will never wear two bras again! I'm losing weight again so I'm in the middle of my size range right now, 38DD, from my smallest at 34DD and my largest at 38DDD/F and I have 3 sizes. It's all about the hook'n'eye front closure, really holds 'em in, up and to your chest. Seriously, less than 1/4" movement when jumping up and down or printing for your life. I've been known to wear one when I want to forget I'm busty.
http://enell.com

femwanderluster

@femwanderluster ahem, Sprinting, not printing, for your life.

EpWs

I cannot imagine running a block in a non-sports bra, much less a marathon. You go, Katherine Switzer. Four for you, Katherine Switzer.

fondue with cheddar

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I could run a block in a non-sports bra, but it's really hard to run when you can't swing your arms.

...you know, because you're holding your boobs.

feartie

That cup size = volume of the breast is quite misleading. In fact, the volume of boobage depends on both cup size and back size. So a 30A and a 36 A will not be the same weight. The 36 will be heavier. You can find 'sister sizes' ie equivalent cup volumes if you go down a back size and up a cup size: a 30D is equivalent in volume to a 28E, a 38B is the same volume as a 36C and so on. This is all a bit confusing, so feel free to correct me if I've messed up somewhere.

edited to say: don't go with this when finding yourself a bra, particularly if you're in the hard-to-find range of the spectrum. Just because a 34DD will fit your 36E breasts in the cups, doesn't mean it's comfortable or ideal for your poor ribcage!

misskaz

@feartie YESSS I came here to complain "but cup size is relative to band size!!!" in all caps but thank you for saying this.

/thought I was a 32c all my life turns out I'm a 30DD.

fondue with cheddar

@feartie No, you're right! All the cup size is is the difference between the ribcage and the bust measurements.

KeLynn

@feartie - Seriously, how could anyone "research" that without knowing the basics of bra sizing?

itiresias

@feartie Yeah, I came looking for this too. I'm a 32C and no way are my tits nearly 1.5 lbs each.

Sea Ermine

@feartie I also wonder if the researchers took into account that 80-90% of women wear the wrong bra size (usually the band is 4-6 inches too big and the cups are several sizes too small). So not only are there different D cups but many (most) women wearing D cups shouldn't be. When I learned to fit myself properly in a bra I went from a 34A to a 30E but my breasts (and their weight) stayed the same. I wonder how they determined who was an A cup and who was a C cup, did they just look at them and guess based on the innacurate messages in magazines and bra adds about what kinds of breasts fit which sizes.

fondue with cheddar

@itiresias All I know is mine are heavy as shit. I've tried to weigh them but it's hard to do it accurately.

stonefruit

@fondue with cheddar Yeah, wait, how does one weigh one's dirtypillows accurately? Like, what are the steps in that process?

fondue with cheddar

@feartie I would love to know! It's hard to put the full weight down without feeling like you're leaning with the rest of your body.

mrsnurse

@itiresias Changing the subject a bit - where on earth do you buy your 32C bras? I thought I was a 34B my whole life but then I went to a fancy lingerie store and got a 32C bra and it's amazing. It's also way too expensive to buy any more of and I don't know where to find affordable 32C bras.

weathering

@feartie Thank you! I was reading this article and got to the "weight of breast is constant to cup size" bit and it was like a record needle screeching. "On the Hairpin?!" I thought to myself.

@mrsnurse My experience is that 32C bras are pretty widely available in the same places that sell 34B bras? Not as common, but still around? Am I wrong? It's been like 10 years since I stopped buying bras in department stores, but surely things haven't changed that much?

mrsnurse

@weathering Maybe I am shopping at the wrong stores? Or I'm blind? These are total possibilities, I'm a terrible shopper.

stonefruit

@mrsnurse I wouldn't quite call 32C hard to find, but I tend to shop for bras at Nordstrom's because reasonably attractive items in my size (32G or 32H) are just not carried anywhere else, and Nordstrom's lingerie section is just extensive. Macy's isn't bad either, but for my money, nothing quite matches Nordstrom's on this front.

(Although I just realized you might not be in the US?)

(I also just realized I said "front." Heh.)

aubrey!

@feartie Yes, I came here to say the same thing! Argh, people misunderstanding bra sizes make me angry.

@Sea Ermine I imagine that is a pretty big factor. How many people are wearing 38Ds or DDs because that's the largest size they can find, even though they are probably like 34Gs?

Beaks

@mrsnurse I can regularly find 32DDs at Macys, so a 32C should be possible. Easiest is when they throw a million bras on the clearance rack by band size and you can just paw through them looking for your cup size.

Greta Oto

@fondue with cheddar stand on a scale and have someone else hold your boobs!

ThatWench

@stonefruit
When I was a 34DD I was a regular department store bra-shopper. I just learned my favorite brand (Wacoal FTW) and then stopped by the clearance rack to look for my brand & size anytime I wandered near a department store. (Macy's and Nordstrom's both carry it; most of the other major department stores do, too.) Alternatively, places like Nordstrom Rack or even Marshall's would earn a quick paw-through from me to see if anything was worth trying on.

I will endorse paying for the good ones, though. I now shop exclusively at the fancy lingerie places, and it's worth every penny... in part because they just last so much longer. Plus, I don't have to trade-off between "cute" and "comfortable". If there's only one item in your wardrobe that you're going to pay top dollar for, I'd say it should be your bras. (Or your shoes, since those will really screw up your body for life.)

fondue with cheddar

@Greta Oto That's a great idea! I don't think it will be too difficult to find help with that. ;)

punzy

Two of the reasons I don't exercise! Also because I am lazy. I have a crazy supportive sports bra (Lynx sports bras are awesome and I highly recommend them!) that I wear playing games on the Xbox Kinect.

fondue with cheddar

@punzy That's why I never play Kinect when my boyfriend's teenage sons are over.

SarcasticFringehead

Really what I want to know is if boobs are really this complicated (I mean, I can see how the physics can get pretty complex), or if it's all just patriarchy.

fondue with cheddar

@SarcasticFringehead As someone with pretty big knockers, I have to say yes, they are indeed complicated.

They're even more complicated when you have an inflammatory condition which makes boob-bouncing result in stabbing pain, however you can't wear a sports bra because they cause the pain also.

theotherginger

@SarcasticFringehead I call patriarchy. as upthread commenters note: junk is way more exposed. HOWEVER as a lady of average to small size, I can comfortably lift weights in a shelf bra so would love to hear from others.

cuminafterall

@SarcasticFringehead Well the dudes DID invent all these sports for themselves, so it's kind of patriarchy? If women were in charge of inventing sports, we would've made them more accommodating to boobs, I'm certain.

Roxy Throatpunch

@SarcasticFringehead Yeah, I'm with @fondue with cheddar on this one. I'm a 36F, and these things can be stupendously complicated. Nevermind finding a sports bra that keeps them in place, I'd settle for one that just keeps them in my shirt. I hate wearing two at a time, but it's usually what I'm stuck with.

Also sleeping. I'm usually a side sleeper, but once in a while I'll want to lay on my stomach and...no.

fondue with cheddar

@Roxy Throatpunch I can lie on my stomach because mine go off to the side (I sleep nude). I have more of a problem with side sleeping because what the heck can you do with your arms? Your boobs are in the space where your arms should be!

weathering

@SarcasticFringehead I don't think breasts are objectively this complicated, but I'm totally blaming the patriarchy for the fact that we've managed to put people in space but still don't have straightforwardly-available sports bras that work. It should not be this hard.

stuffisthings

I can't click through to ESPN at work because "sports" but I'd be saddened if they wrote an entire feature about boob physics and failed to consult the video games industry, which has been intently studying these phenomena for decades.

iceberg

@stuffisthings Video game boob physics bear zero resemblance to reality boob physics, though.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg Video game boob physics are the same as Barbie boob physics.

stuffisthings

Hey I'm not saying they got it right but at least they gave it some very serious consideration.

lavender gooms

My zip-front sports bra gave into the strain and unzipped itself while I was jogging this morning. Thank god I was only running around the block so I could duck back into my apartment foyer and get everything hauled back into place.

:(

klemay

@lavender gooms This happened to me during yoga once! And it was right after the instructor lectured us for adjusting our clothing too much so I just kept going and ran out as soon as class ended. >.<

Jinxie

@lavender gooms Am now glad I didn't opt for the zip-front last time I went sports bra shopping. The 3-hook back closure one I got may have me nearly dislocating my shoulders trying to get into and out of it, but at least I know it's staying PUT once it's locked and loaded.

femwanderluster

@lavender gooms ENELL! seriously, hook'n'eye full front closure = heaven!

enell.com

apb
apb

Just here to mention my usual Public Service Announcement for large-busted ladies: ENELL SPORTS BRAS. They change everything about everything. Totally immobilizing in a comfortable way! I am totally not an employee, I am just a person who is able to run and exercise now in ways that were super, super unpleasant pre-Enell.

Roxy Throatpunch

@apb But...why so shiny?

(But also, THANK YOU for this.)

whimsy

@apb

I SECOND the ENELL Sports bra.... as an FYI I'm a 34-WAY OVER DD and I play ultimate frisbee.

I also like my new Shock Absorber bra! Not quite as supportive, however much more adorable if I have to change my jersey from white/dark on the sidelines..

femwanderluster

@apb Preach! I should get paid by Enell, I tell everyone about them!

fondue with cheddar

obligatory Monty Python clip (my boobs hurt just thinking about it)

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar Haha is it bad that I knew exactly what that clip was gonna be before I clicked?

also, OUCH.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg It's not bad, it's good! It's Monty Python. :)

femwanderluster

Just to reiterate:

ENELL!

enell.com

The only thing they could improve upon is color selection and, as mentioned upthread, the shininess. Otherwise? PERFECTION! I really don't give any fucks what the bra looks like because it is amazing and fits well and is THE most supportive friend my rack has ever had.

The smallest I have is a size 0 (34DD) in black, a size 1 (38DD) in black that I currently wear, and when I was heavier last year, I changed it up with an Ecru size 2 (38DDD/F).

I would never have worked out again and lost that weight if I did not have an Enell sports bra. The tits just DON'T move! And I enjoy feeling like I'm a B cup once in a while, so I'll wear one just farting around. It's actually helped cut down on oglers and street harassment because NOTHING is gong on in the funbag arena. Enell is THE BEST! Marry me, Enell, let's run away with our chests comfotably immobilzed into the sunset...

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