Just Some Musings on the ABC’s

Mawaru Penguindrum Yuri Tokikago bathtowel

Let’s talk about bosoms today! Don’t worry… I’ll try to keep it safe, light, fun, and—to the best of my abilities—elegant.

Ranya Mordanova by Naomi Yang for French Revue de Modes #20
Ranya Mordanova by Naomi Yang for French Revue de Modes #20

In sexual attraction, breasts hold particular significance. Yet, only a few years ago (as well as today still), haute fashion actively shunned full breasts, and instead preferred less-endowed, androgynous looks, especially when it comes to chests.[1] Those gorgeous designer clothes are apparently for women who want to look as if they have breasts, not for women who have them. And, a 32C is “not Armani.”

A Freudian might suggest that full breasts, as representations of motherly femininity, play into the inner Oedipus complex of a man’s desire for his nourishing, well-endowed (metaphorically, and perhaps also literally) mother. Yes, her bosom would make you dream. But unfortunately, it would be not especially interesting—and probably even distasteful—to the editorials appealing to a different demographic.[2] As well, Carl Jung might explain haute fashion’s aversion to breasts as an Electra-complex-induced response by an industry targeted at young women, who harbor unconscious competitive ill-will and jealousy toward the mother figure for the affection of the father.

Luckily, all these psychosexual talks do not dictate our tastes totally.

mono bosom Edwardian fashion

True, there is still a lingering sense that flat chests are chic and classy, and bosoms de trop are often unfairly judged as déclassé. In fact, there is a history of such preferences—even back in the twenties, flatness was the ideal. Yet, if we rewind the clock just a bit, following the oppressive Elizabethan’s distaste for immodest flesh, Edwardian times actually enjoyed full, plump bosoms. The low mono-bosoms that are complemented by the S-curve were high fashion. Today, there is also a noticeable change toward size again… if ever so slightly and slowly.

Indeed, aesthetics and fashion are cyclic. Thus, as much as psychosexual motivations or biological instincts may influence tastes, attitudes of the times also play a role.

Revolutionary Girl Utena Juri Arisugawa

Mawaru Penguindrum Masako Natsume

Anime may just be the same. Take for example, Ikahara’s Revolutionary Girl Utena and Mawaru Penguidrum. Separated by over a decade, the two anime are beautifully fashionable and highly feminine in styles. Yet, the bosoms in Utena are almost all less-endowed or less emphasized than those in its spiritual successor, Penguindrum. This is likely a function of both genre and trends in tastes.

In fact, if we look across the board, we may be able to find a fascinating cyclic shift in sizes, or at least something ever-changing: flat, average, full, quite large, or even loli. Cute, are they not?


  1. In a previous post also on fashion and anime, there is a very nice video of the super gorgeous Karlie Kloss, whose form exemplifies this. Go check the post out!
  2. This post is written in response to the fun whimsy of 2DT:
This entry was posted in Anime/ Manga, Editorial, Fashion, Mawaru Penguindrum, Revolutionary Girl Utena and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Just Some Musings on the ABC’s

  1. Smithy says:

    I ♥ boobies! XD

    Size matters not, a gorgeous feminine woman can look beautiful no matter what her exact bosom size is. Besides, aesthetically it’s the overall picture and balance that counts. (To me, at least.)

    • Yi says:

      Hehe, I like them too. ^ ^

      Anyway, it’s hard to disagree with that. Plus, personality plays a huge role too in attraction (I know… This is super cliche), but I really do find people especially sexy if they are confident in how sexy they look. I guess their ideas about themselves just rub off onto me.

      But yea, back to bosoms. There are all shapes and sizes for every taste~

  2. Marina says:

    Ha! Congrats on actually fitting 2DT’s phrase into a blog post 🙂 I thought about doing it myself, but really couldn’t find a topic where I would actually say something so out of character.

    I, too, have noticed the recent trend for flat/small chests; I don’t know if you watch America’s Next Top Model, but every time there is a girl with a larger chest, she gets cut very quickly. It saddens me a bit since I have a sizable chest and would appreciate seeing some diversity in that area. It annoys me how often I have to go up a shirt size simply because something that fits me everywhere else stretches like crazy across my breasts.

    • Yi says:

      Since I have absolutely no talent in creative writing, I had to do something else for such a super fun little thing. It took me quite a while to finally come up with a topic, but I’m glad I did. Eroticism and dreams… and breasts. I guess it’s not too out of character for me. loll.

      I used to watch America’s Next Top Model, and I really enjoyed it! I think I watched up to like season 8 or 9. Then things got in the way and I kind of stopped. I think starting from a certain season, ANTM made a conscious push toward introducing “plus-sized models.” However, haute fashion is still very much a super skinny people’s world. and the winners tend to reflect that.

      But then again, high fashion is stuck in its own little world. What’s appealing does not necessarily follow it. I totally agree with you on this. It’s a bit narrow-minded that many designers do not try to think about all groups and sizes, and there’s an irrational distaste for being too widely “commercial.”

      p.s. I hope, as inconvenient as they are, large bosoms have their nice qualities as well. ^ ^

  3. Pingback: Just Some Musings on the ABC’s | The Top Animes

  4. Vucub Caquix says:

    I wish I could find where I read this before, but I’ve seen it said that bust size and attractiveness correlate roughly with economic activity. In periods of excess, thin is in. Think the Roaring Twenties, mid-late 90s, etc. When things take a turn, fuller figures become the standard. I think this was the case for the 30s, periods of the 70s, and very recently with the Dove ads.

    Funny to think if we could somehow apply this to anime.

    Just some idle thinking about one of my favorite parts of the body…

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I think I’ve heard you mention that before. It definitely sounds very reasonable and possible. I guess in a sense, people always desire what they can’t have.

      Anyway, if you ever find that article, I’d love to read it!

  5. kimaguresan says:

    Back in my theatre days and the costume classes, and costume builds, I did a lot of work on “Busts.” Not in the sense of busts as in this post, but the wooden and fabric female forms that we’d pin fabrics on to get an idea of how they would fit actresses. During class, I brought up that the busts all seemed to have smallish breasts, which started a huge discussion on the subject of cup sizes and modeling.

    As far as the busts went, the ones in the costume shop, and at the time industry standard, were based on B-cups. The industry seems to settle on a standard size for the time based on the average cup size during that time. This being the mid 90’s it was B, but near the end of my time in the costume shop we started to see busts in the C-cup range appear.

    During a private conversation with my costuming mentor, I asked about models and why they were expected to have almost no breasts, and her answer was simple. “They’re expected to be walking hangers, boobs just get in the way and ruin the lines of what they’re showing off,” she told me. I have no reason to dis-believe her, but I’m sure some opinion was in that sentence. I did take notice of the possibility that her years of experience were correct.

    Your post made me nostalgic for better days, at the least. At least society will keep things interesting with our shifting interests.

    • Yi says:

      Ooh how fascinating! Thanks for that little snippet of a directly relevant experience. ^ ^

      I read an article the other day (I think it was in the Guardian), and it was on a study of breast sizes in UK. Average sizes have increased over the recent years from 34B to 36D. Come to think of it, when I was a kid (about ten years ago), D cups were hardly seen everywhere, and nowadays, they’re not considered especially large. Your time at the costume shop very clearly reflects this as well.

      Also, I think your mentor nails it exactly! It’s all about that silhouette in high fashion. Whether that’s a good or even practical taste in aesthetics is another question. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that, sometimes I do wonder…

      Anyway, I love your comment! Thanks, Kimaguresan. ^ ^

  6. gozieson says:

    For me, something in between would be best, but given that I have been exposed to the many sights of a woman’s chest, I could definitely say that I wouldn’t want a girl who’s breasts are causing their cloths to bulge at the seams.

    You know those ecchi artwork of girls? Most of them all show sizes of women’s breast who look so huge that their backs may just break into two at any moment. I mean come on, it has been scientifically proven that large breasts may get you a bad back.

    Of course we’re talking about this realistacally, compared to the hundreds of thousands who have a fetish for girls which have extremely oversized boobs, I can’t say that I’m one of them though.

    P.S. I would make Kaede an exception though XD

    • ayame says:

      “For me, something in between would be best” – Same from me, too. There’s an ancient greek proverb that states ‘moderation is best’ (metron ariston). I’m on the small size and a bit thin and I don’t like it a lot -like those models, I don’t look very healthy, although I’m not thaaat skinny. On the other hand, I find huge breasts, like the ones in porn, too much. I couldn’t agree more with gozieson.

      The ideal for me is something that doesn’t get saggy and remains perky, but also is good enough that can shape an ever so slight line in between when you wear tops with a low cut. And well, natural is always prettier. Looking like you’re stuck with two immovable bowls on your chest isn’t exactly what I’d call elegant and pretty. (I appreciate adrogynous a lot, but this doesn’t translate for me necessarily in very small breasts.)

      Lastly, although I like psychology such claims seem to my eyes like reading to much into it, plus I get a feeling they’re a bit sexist :/

      • gozieson says:

        I think you’re no different than other girls. People tend to forget that men aren’t always interested in how a girl looks. It also depends on how the people around you perceive you or how you’d treat other people. It’s not really just about looks that make a girl shine, it’s also about her character and the way she displays herself. Not everyone has the guts to bare it all for the love of men, but always remember to be yourself at all times and always be careful when taking the next step.

        • ayame says:

          First of all, if I find my body beautiful or not doesn’t necessarily associate with men. My boyfriend loves my bosom the way it is. It has more to do with how I’d like to be.
          Secondly, plump breasts do translate to men paying more attention to a woman 99% And it’s not like I don’t understand them 😉 😛

        • gozieson says:

          Everyone’s opinions are different, and hey can’t a guy also voice out his opinions? It’s just based on my observations, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.

        • ayame says:

          Ofc you have the right to voice your opinion, but I don’t think I said something totally opposite to what you said. Men indeed aren’t always interested to how a girl looks like (especially if they’re in love with that girl). That doesn’t change the fact that men are more visual creatures than women usually are- meaning that they pay more attention to things that ‘pop out’ more. Don’t tell me that if a D cup passes you by, you won’t notice it and might even fantasize instantly.

          Character, as Yi says, and especially confidence is very very important. But usually there’s no label on you saying you are so and so from the first moment, so how you look like and how you dress, is the incentive for someone else to approach you or not.

        • gozieson says:

          My eyes would probably pop and roll out if I had passed by a woman with D cups…

          Well maybe not all the time, but your statement of men being more visual than women does have a hint of truth to it. Almost all of us rely on first impressions to figure out a person’s personality. But of course, first impressions would not get us anywhere instantly. We always have to be perceptive of the trends and the goings-on around us. But at the end of the day, it also boils down to whether or not we would like to openly comment about these kinds of things once we had a good look at something we find intriguing.

      • Yi says:

        Since we’re all connoisseurs of bosoms, I’ll just talk a bit about my preferences. Personally, I’m into anyone who is genuinely into their breasts. It sounds a bit abstract, but it ties into the whole confidence is sexy thing. And that confidence really can rub off on others.

        “Lastly, although I like psychology such claims seem to my eyes like reading to much into it, plus I get a feeling they’re a bit sexist :/”

        If you’re referring to the whole Freudian/Jungian views, I agree. They are sexist. (I don’t think it’s reading too much into it though… Sexual motivations are everywhere, especially when it comes to aesthetics.) Luckily, we don’t have to really believe in them, even though literature and popular media love to throw them around (especially Freud). Personally, I find there to be very little evidence for many of their claims, but I’m no psychologist.

  7. Aelesis says:

    I think the main thing that showed me how to appreciate busts of all sizes were a fleeting real life romantic experience… and Sono Hanabira. Hehe…

  8. hoshiko says:

    “In fact, there is a history of such preferences—even back in the twenties, flatness was the ideal” <- Really? I always thought the preference is on full bosom back in the days and that it was only recently that flat chest is becoming a popular choice due to the androgynous appeal in today's popular culture.

    • Yi says:

      Yep yep. It varies with the times in terms of high fashion, especially more so in the modern age I think. (An aside: I don’t think “high fashion” was a thing in ancient days, and I suspect going back far enough, societies in general all preferred more voluptuous, child-bearing vibe body types.)

      In any case, that little part was about the more relatively recent days. I wonder about the androgynous appeal though (in terms of facial structures too) and whether that was always around. That might make some fun research.

      Thanks, Hoshiko! ^ ^

  9. Koyot3 says:

    Great read. If I am correct however, the Medieval and Ancient Greeks emphasized beautiful women as “round” and “curvy” bodies. So I assume that the bosom is the same. These days, a thin, almost anorexia female body as beautiful. That would mean that the bosom would be fit for that body.

    But yes, the cyclic change of which bosom size is idealized over time ensures that all bosoms were once favored.

    • Yi says:

      Great point! My post is limited to the relatively modern age when high fashion became a much more distinct thing than general tastes. But yes, if we trace far back enough, body types that suggest a fertile, good child-bearing frames were favored in older civilizations. In a broader view, this trend toward thinness is quite recent (and perhaps related to economic excess of today). Thanks for pointing this out!

  10. Leap250 says:

    Didn’t know that even flatness had it’s glory days back then. I always thought the corset age dominated. Following that train of thought, are we now in the golden age where everyone appreciates whatever letter their chests are? ^^

    • Yi says:

      There’s a slightly growing trend in various high fashion designers toward more inclusion of the larger sizes, which I think is good–I think they tended to be too stuck in their own world.

      As for most people, I think we have always collectively appreciated all sizes and not had this sort of narrow aesthetics shown by fashion magazines and shows. ^ ^

  11. Akito_Kinomoto says:

    Ah, so DFC isn’t exclusive to Japan. xD

  12. I would say the same thing. Size does not matter
    As long as her personality is what im looking for or the one than i dont care much about the size of her boobs.. ^^

    but! I would say that toooo big is not my type haha

    • Yi says:

      I think we’re in agreement on both accounts here. I always say personality (confidence in your own appearance) is the most important. But yea, overly large breasts are not my thing… Although I think it might be because I tend to associate them with transplants and insecurity. (btw. my idea of overly large breasts are… really overly large breasts.) Otherwise, I’m fine with most sizes I think.

  13. Kai says:

    Flatness and full bosoms doesn’t really matter. Just bosoms doesn’t judge the beauty of a woman. They are, perhaps triumph in other parts of her figure, so breasts aren’t just only a woman’s weapon ;p

  14. feihei says:

    What a nice topic that I definately don’t see enough of. Indeed, this generation’s fashion feels more on the masculine side. Pop culture and modern clothing seem more manly than they did ten years ago. It seems that womanly features aren’t necessarily the ideal these days, and frankly, I can see why.

    • Yi says:

      Indeed. I think, with this generation especially, androgyny is in. I’d say it’s not necessarily masculine, but a blend of feminine and masculine. Traditionally womanly features aren’t ideal, but neither is traditionally manly features. It’s an interesting point for sure!

      Thanks for the comment, feihei. ^ ^

  15. Wonderllama says:

    I always appreciate a woman’s curves! There’s nothing more beautiful. My favorite pair belong to Sports Illustrated supermodel Marisa Miller. She’s done topless photos and some nude body painting shoots for the magazine. Google her if you don’t know.

    They’re real… and they’re spectacular!

    • Yi says:

      Marisa Miller is super sexy indeed! And I love her curves as well. Totally infatuated now~ (Especially after seeing those topless photos. ^///^)

  16. Overlord-G says:

    I pay more attention to the body over the breasts. Why else would I be find Tsubasa attractive despite her having a flat chest? One of my top 10 most beautiful anime women is Nadie for pete’s sake.

    In any case, breasts, though important in turning me on, aren’t necessarily all I care about in a babe.

    • Yi says:

      Flat chests are chests too! And they’re cute indeed. ^ ^ And agreed. The bosom is only one element to a woman’s figure, and that is only one part of her attractiveness.

      p.s. Nadie from?

      • Overlord-G says:

        El Cazador de la Bruja’s Nadie.

        • Yi says:

          Ahh, I suspected as much. She’s super lovely. I really like her skin tone too, as odd as that may sound, simply because it’s quite uncommon in anime to see such.

        • Overlord-G says:

          I’m guessing her skin’s that color because she’s half Latin, just like me. That may also be an additional factor as to why I’m attracted to her. If I were to meet a woman like her in real life, I’d be immediately smitten, and she’s only #10 on my list.

        • Yi says:

          “I’m guessing her skin’s that color because she’s half Latin”
          Oh I get that. ♥

  17. wieselhead says:

    an interesting post.

    Well, boobs aren’t everything that makes a girl attractive, but theycan be nice .
    My taste in sizes is differs between real life and anime / pvc figure style.
    In reality I prefer small or normal sized ones, bigger boobs are not that appealing to me, well a full cleavage is nice to look at for the moment, but gravity makes big boobs droop which might turn out as not very appealing over the years and there are other downside like dorsal pains for the women.

    On anime girls or figures I nearly like every size, at first I was more into dfc sizes, but soon I found a liking to the bigger ones, not bigger than the head is my only criteria in that regard 😀
    Anime boobs are a nice illusion of reality always nicely shaped with puffy nipples and bouncy, I really like that.

    • Yi says:

      Anime breasts tend to be quite impossibly “perfect” indeed; they’re also usually larger than their real life counterparts (unless you go the other extreme). But yea, I think you pretty much perfectly pointed out how anime and real-life differ when it comes to larger sizes. ^ ^

      Anyway, thanks, darling, for sharing your tastes, and the changes in them!

  18. Mikoto says:

    I find modestly endowed women and girls to be the most attractive and cute, so I appreciate anime, visual novels, and manga that draw their women in such styles. The more endowed can look rather sexy, but in the long run I prefer the former.

    Though the differences of real life and animation do come into play. Total flatness in anime can look super duper cute and attractive, while literal flatness is not that attractive in real life. By literal flatness, I mean that the women seem like they aren’t able to produce breast milk for their offspring. Of course, small sizes are still more preferable, but there’s a point where it goes overboard. Big breasts can be extremely attractive, but if it gets to the point where they look like two big implants, it’s kind of scary. lol But hey, I was always a leg guy, myself.

    I do agree with Yi, regardless of bodily proportions, a female’s level of confidence in her body can easily tip the scale.

    • Yi says:

      It’s so interesting to see all these various tastes. I take it you wouldn’t find the proportions of some high fashion super model sexy then; many of them are flat as washboards! It’s also fascinating to see how people’s tastes differ between anime and real life. And oftentimes, there is a significant difference.

      p.s. I’m kind of more into legs myself as well. ^ ^
      “I do agree with Yi, regardless of bodily proportions, a female’s level of confidence in her body can easily tip the scale.”

      Thanks for sharing Mikoto!

      • xxmikotonakadaixx says:

        Well, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t find them sexy. 😛 A pretty face can outweigh a straight edge chest. Besides, I prefer them smaller regardless, and I’m assuming these models you’re referring to have rather perky ones that are less than an A-Cup, yet still appear to give off a look of fertility, so yeah. lol Can’t really describe it that well, but the ones I’m referring to appear to have testosterone hit them rather hard. I guess the same goes for them as well, if it goes well with their individual body, they can also be very attractive. Anything can be their weapon when it comes to seduction I suppose. xD

        Yeah, it is interesting how different people’s tastes can be when it comes to anime vs. real life. I think it’s another great example of the fine line between fantasy and reality.

        • Yi says:

          You’re right about pretty faces. In the end, it’s all about balance I guess; consideration of everything.

          Anyway, the models I’m referring to actually don’t necessarily give off an air of fertility. In many cases, just the opposite, as high fashion loves that androgynous look. The ones that you’re referring to are, I think, one of the ideals of high fashion.

          Tastes are wonderfully diverse indeed. ^ ^

  19. Nopy says:

    Not that I intend to worry well-endowed women, but big boobies = droopy boobies soon enough. I think A-cup or B-cup is perfect for women. A C-cup is stretching it while I would question the gender of someone with an AA-cup, especially after seeing all those asian traps on the internet.

    • Yi says:

      I’d like to add that taking care of your breasts go a long way toward keeping the shapes one would like to have. C-cups are becoming more and more prevalent these days for various reasons, but they don’t always turn droopy!

      As for AA-cups, I think they can be attractive to many as well. There are sizes for everyone~

      Thanks for the comment, Nopy!

  20. jreding says:

    We briefly touched this topic already some time ago when we talked about Sengoku Otome 😉 http://bit.ly/HcektW . My impression is that many shows, even ones with higher aspirations than Sengoku Otome, today feature a wide range of different chest sizes to serve all tastes and preferences. I guess this somewhat pornographic aspect was not that widespread in Utena’s days as Otaku demographic was less important for the anime industry.

    Personally, I have an aversion against the gravity-defying type of anime chest which in my eyes is just a caricature. Apart from that I’d say it’s sometimes like comparing apples to pears (or should I say caterpillars to butterflies?) as many female characters in anime are still physically developing. An AA or flat chest might look less alluring for some on a grown-up woman but when it comes to young girls in anime it’s cuteness that matters!

    On a sidenote, Nanami, my favourite Utena character, seems to me quite well-endowed given that she is supposed to just hitting puberty: http://tinypic.com/r/33n95q0/5 !

    • Yi says:

      Yes, I agree. Especially with just generally higher production values, anime can now cover most of its bases in terms of taste, so we see a much more diverse range. It’s not limited to bosom sizes, of course. Outfits, fashion, hair, skin tone… etc.

      Personally, while sizes don’t matter too much to me, there is a point when it starts to seem ridiculous/ absurd, often leaning toward too large than too small. I can’t stand the gravity-defying (also biologically-defying, and even physics-defying) sizes either. They are not only a bit grotesque, but contribute to enforcing negative stereotypes of the typical anime fan—the sexually immature man-child with no concept of what actual women are.

      Also agreed about flat chests. Often, the angle it’s going for is cuteness (although of course, by now, many lolis are also sexualized).

      Love Nanami! She’s adorable and funny and such an ojou!

      p.s. I hesitate to call it a “pornographic aspect,” but I understand what you mean. ^ ^

  21. maybebornagain says:

    Hi, Yi. It’s been a while. Hope you’re doing well.

    “Luckily, all these psychosexual talks do not dictate our tastes totally.”

    Right. While I can agree with a lot of what you have to say, I can only rarely agree with what Freud has to say. Thanks for the article.

    • Yi says:

      Thanks. I’m doing… OK. Life fluctuates up and down quite a lot these days.

      Freud… is full of it in a lot of his theories indeed.

  22. Kari says:

    Excellent post! For once, I saw a blog that doesn’t stick to that sexist “bigger is better” thing about boobs! Damn, it makes me feel so unloved as a woman. I am a small size and lately I’ve been feeling very self-conscious about that… How good is to see posts like this, really made it clear!

    • Yi says:

      Thank you. I think there are a lot of advocates around that don’t stick to the traditional, outdated idea about attractive breast sizes. “Bigger is better” has always seemed super silly to me…

      Anyway, do not be self-conscious about your size! If anyone were to tell you otherwise, than that person does not deserve your bosom in the first place. ^ ^ Plus, small sizes are beautiful. ♥

      Cheers, sweetie. And thanks for visiting!

  23. Pingback: Round the Sphere | Anime Diet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s