Vogue Invents a Brand New Form of Boob Shaming

August 6th 2016

Aimee Kuvadia

The September issue of Vogue has some unsolicited advice for women about their cleavage, particularly if it's of the wrinkly variety, Slate reports.

As if women didn't already have enough to be self-conscious about when it comes to their bodies, Vogue writes that “aging décolletés" — a euphemism for the skin between the breasts that hasn't maintained its elasticity — is "sounding alarms" in the female world of fashion.


A photo posted by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on

The cleavage consternation comes thanks to supermodel Bella Hadid wearing a Alexandre Vauthier red satin gown with a plunging neckline at a May movie premiere in Cannes, France, according to Vanity Fair. While Hadid earned rave reviews for the look, the magazine concedes there was a lot hidden to the naked eye in the image, namely the loads of fashion tape needed to achieve the "flawless" look.

On the surface, wrinkly cleavage may seem like a red flag to women who are under the belief they're aging poorly. But there's actually a scientific reason why this particular wedge of skin is more prone to damage than, say, the skin on our necks. According to Slate, cleavage skin is thin and fragile, meaning it's hard-hit by the aging process, sun exposure, and even scarring.

Still, Vogue asserts wrinkly cleavage is a clear giveaway of age, “especially in the morning, when it can look as though someone has performed origami, folding the cleavage into an accordion configuration of creases that can take several hours to flatten out."

One might assume a central goal of female-centric media outlets is to empower women by helping them feel comfortable in their own skin; instead, it seems like every week they are promoting some kind of unrealistic beauty standard, whether it be the "ab crack" (the new "thigh gap") or a perfectly structured jawline. In May, Vanity Fair sparked outrage with its Photoshopping of Rumer Willis' chin without her consent.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Women and Aging, found that only 12 percent of female respondents over the age of 50 were satisfied with their bodies. Of this number, about 80 percent felt particularly unhappy with the state of their skin.

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, author of a study on the impact of fashion and beauty magazines and a professor of communication at The Ohio State University, wrote in 2014:

“Women get the message that they can look just like the models they see in the magazines, which is not helpful. It makes them feel better at first, but in the long run women are buying into these thinness fantasies that just won’t come true.”