stories of 2014

2014 Best & Worst Breast Stories (NSFW)

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

There was plenty of boob news that could have made this list of 2014 best and worst breast news stories. Many hit on issues from past years; like public breastfeeding, celebrity cleavage, or pink ribbon campaigns. But a few stories stuck out for me, thanks to their stupidity or smart thinking.

Most of my picks for “worst” breast stories come from October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

#1 Worst: Fracking for a Cure

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Susan G. Komen partnered with an oil drilling company to custom paint drill bits in a sickly shade of pink. Critics of the campaign pointed out that the Komen’s own website claims chemicals used in fracking are linked to greater risk of cancers. This was a big-time pink ribbon fail.

2014 best

Image: Breast Cancer Action

#2 Worst: Fumbling the Ball on Women's Health

Turned out that all those pink ribbons on NFL fields and player uniforms don't add up to more money donated to breast cancer research. Others urged the NFL to dump the pinkwashing and turn their attention to October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

#3 Worst: Boobs for the Cure

This was a banner year for sexist social media campaigns to "raise breast cancer awareness." Komen launched a patronizing “singing mammogram” video. The Bra Cam (brought to you by the folks who created the Tweeting Bra last year) wanted women to know cleavage attracts attention (duh). A feminist endorsed “No Bra Day” acknowledged the inevitable sexist comments that resulted from a campaign asking women to ditch their bras for "awareness." None of these efforts raised a single cent for breast cancer patients or research. Meanwhile, women living with breast cancer continued to ask why the conversation is always about saving boobs and not lives.

2014 best

Image: Nestle Bra Cam Campaign

And now the good news...

#4 Best: Bras Don’t Cause Breast Cancer and Can Do More

Researchers at Fred Hutchison Breast Cancer Research Center (in my hometown of Seattle) put the bras cause breast cancer myth to rest. Scientists unveiled the prototype for a Bionic Bra that adjusts support to variations in breast movement. Some are predicting that 2015 will be the year where smart technology is fully integrated into our clothing, including bras.

#5 Best: More Choices in Lingerie, Places to Buy, Diversity of Models

Victoria's Secret wasn't the only place to buy lingerie. Bra vendors with fancy apps and algorithms (like ThirdLove and True & Co.) multiplied across the internet. Some even started selling lingerie at the office. New brands, like Nubian Skin's  "true nude" lingerie for women of color, were launched. And celebrities got on the lingerie bandwagon with Dita Von Teese, Britney Spears, Rosie Huntington-Whitely all presenting new styles of lingerie. Von Teese even offered designs for nursing moms.

Dita Von Teese maternity 
Image: Dita Von Teese Von Follies Maternity Collection

Meanwhile, established lines added diversity to models on fashion runways and in print advertising. Sports bra manufacturer Berlei picked athlete Serena Williams and Agent Provocateur choose Naomi Campbell to represent their brands.

Public response to narrow definitions of women's bodies was also more vocal. Check out the fun Sports Illustrated calendar parody below, and this group's reaction to Victoria's Secret Perfect Body ad campaign.

2014 best

Image: Swimsuits for All

#6 Worst: Breastfeeding Selfies Okay for Some, But Not Others

This was the year of the celebrity breastfeeding selfie, yet everyday nursing mothers faced discrimination in the strangest of places (like hospital and pediatric waiting rooms). Even the color of a mother's skin made a difference between social acceptance or rejection. All and all, it was a bad year for breastfeeding in general, with ordinary women feeling less supported and more pressured to stay out of the public eye.

#7 Best: Nipple Confusion 

Despite society's aversion to public breastfeeding (or because of it), no one seemed to mind Rhianna's exposed breasts at CFDA's annual fashion awards. But hers weren't the only nipples on display in 2014.

2014 best

Image credit: Larry Busacca

Chelsea Handler, Miley Cyrus, and Rumer Willis all flashed their breasts on Instagram and Twitter in support of the #FreeTheNipple movie and social campaign. Breastfeeding mothers also complained and won out when some social media sites stopped banning selfies of babes at the breast.

On the other side of the Atlantic, No More Page 3 continued to gather signatures on its petition to have The Sun remove its everyday sexist display of nipples on Page 3. And a Kickstarter campaign for the Bare Reality photography book of naked breasts, together with stories from their owners, was quickly funded.

bare realityBare Reality: 100 Women and Their Breasts
Image credit: © Copyright Laura Dodsworth

This battle for equality of bare chests isn't over. A much less circulated report claims women are breaking with the tradition of going top-free at nude beaches on the French Riviera. Not because of any public criticism either. Turns out they fear their loss of privacy, thanks to the proliferation of cell phone cameras.

It may be the end of 2014, but there's still plenty to know about women's breasts.

What about you? Which of these 2014 best breast stories is most compelling or newsworthy?  Do you agree or disagree with my list?

Featured image: Pink Fracking Bit

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