Breast Year in Review: Top 5 News Stories of 2013

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

The Breast Life's top 5 news stories of 2013 have much in common with a great well-padded, push up bra. They lift the boob dialogue to new heights, but when you take a closer look, you find something interesting but quite different underneath.

Here are my picks for the most curious breast news stories of 2013:

1. Celebrities go public with raising breast cancer awareness. Angelina Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy rocked the the world in early spring. Later in the year, Good Morning America urged Amy Robach to have an on-air mammogram which resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. But these very public revelations didn’t create any greater understanding of the disease. Instead, surveys showed they resulted in more confusion regarding screening mammography and genetic testing.

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2. Bra fittings get the high tech treatment.  Jockey Company came out with a new 10 cup numeric bra sizing system to replace the alphabet standard. Meanwhile, new companies like Third Love created iPhone apps to better measure women. Bottom line? There is no one system that perfectly fits every woman's boobs.

Top 5 news storiesNew Jockey Bra Fit Kit -- 10 Cup Sizes

3. Non-existent bra studies and research get mass publicity. Media outlets jumped all over a French bra study that claimed bras cause breasts to sag (or at least not wearing one makes a woman’s breasts more perky).  The problem here was that there was no peer-reviewed or published study. This news story was based on a radio interview transcript with a college professor whose theory, he admits, is not yet proven. Another very hyped bra story came later in the year, when Microsoft reportedly developed a bra that would help women curb their urge to emotionally over eat. Despite it’s popularity, this story wasn’t true.

4. New Affordable Care Act supports breastfeeding mothers. This headline is somewhat accurate, in that the new health care law allows reimbursement for breast pumps and fees associated with lactation consultations. But insurance companies still have discretion in deciding what kind of breast pump is suitable (manual vs. electric, and quality of pump); and what defines a lactation specialist can be arbitrary and inconsistent.

5. The more women change, the more breast stereotypes remain the same. India decided to ban lingerie mannequins in an effort to reduce rapes. There was more pressure to eliminate the The Sun's outdated Page 3 topless models, but the campaign has not yet been successful. Public outrage over public breastfeeding continued. Even a breast milk flavored lollipop created controversy.

On the flip side, men were presented with their own line of “sexy” lingerie. While a father lashed out at Victoria’s Secret for objectifying young women, the annual fashion show was still televised and women (presumably mothers and wives) continued to support the brand.

The New York Times was criticized for sexualizing breast cancer by running a photo showing a wee bit of a woman's nipple in a cover story about the disease. Meanwhile, breast cancer charities focused on boobs and cleavage in their awareness efforts. They even turned to social media (with a Tweeting bra) to better spread their message. Despite 20 years of pink ribbons, breast cancer rates continued to climb and disparities in treatment and mortality along racial and ethnic lines grew wider.

top 5 news storiesThe Tweeting Bra

This year was busy for breast news, as can be seen from these top 5 news stories. For me, it was just business as usual. There is always so much more to know about breasts than meets the eye.

What about you? What did you think of these top 5 news stories? What did you find to be the most interesting, enlightening, or frustrating boob story of 2013?

Photo credit: iStock Photo

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