Defying what one would expect, going by stereotype, from a gay men who works in the fashion industry, Simon Doonan took a break from telling us that gay men only eat salad, to express his horror at women with large breasts, those fatty protrusions that ruin the line of clothes:
The larger boob became the norm around the turn of the century, and it shows no signs of deflating. Radical rack augmentation is now ubiquitous, and to hell with the consequences. So what if you knock yourself unconscious while running to catch the bus? So what if you can’t fit into any trendy clothes because your waist is a zero but your bazongas are the size and weight of cantaloupes? It’s worth it to be the focus of male attention. Right?Hold up a moment. Women with large breasts, Doonan admits, can't fit into trendy clothes. Or, for that matter, classic/classy ones. Large breasts, even medium breasts, are, as it stands, unfashionable. Shouldn't this be enough indication that female well-endowed-ness is not in fashion?
But Doonan isn't content with the boyish build dominating the runway. He - a gay man - would much prefer it if straight men got aroused by what he finds chic. Find that offensive? Oh, you square. Don't you get that it's tongue-in-cheek? (Or as one Slate commenter puts it, "tong-in-cheek.") It's clever! Why? Because Doonan's British, Fashion, and Fabulous! Never mind that there are episodes of "Two and a Half Men" that reach more sophisticated levels of humor, that include wittier turns of phrase. Doonan strikes me as a good argument for scrapping the entire subset of humor known as "tongue-in-cheek," given how often this phrase is invoked to explain why we shouldn't be offended by something that's ultimately more unfunny than it is offensive.
If all of this would seem about as relevant as if a lesbian were to offer up praise to men with small penises (although the analogy would require lesbians to be prominent in a media-and-entertainment industry that celebrated the poorly-endowed man, making well-endowed men feel grotesque, but anyway), let us not forget that Doonan is merely - as the Friend to Women that all gay men inherently must be - voicing his opposition to the pressures on today's Woman to get her boobs did. Don't be offended, wimmins of bustiness. He's with us in our fight against the patriarchy!
The equation of large breasts with fake breasts - one Doonan takes for granted - comes from a fairly obvious source: the breasts under consideration are - unspoken rule - those of thin women. No doubt there are bra-purchasers headed for the triple-Es who got that way naturally, but - and this is the unstated if not entirely unreasonable assumption - these women are overweight, over 22, and thus not about to meet the standards of either high fashion or lowest-common-denominator that-which-men-find-hot.
The piece - which is probably more offensive to gay men than it is to large-breasted women - ends up eliciting yet a new level of misogyny. Rather than standing up for their right to like what they like, regardless of what a man who's not even attracted to any women thinks they ought to, straight men start weighing in on how large breasts, in their opinion, do not stand the test of time, and it's important to choose a wife on the basis of what will or won't sag. (Have these people not been to a beach? Everything on everybody eventually sags.) Then there are of course the kind of men who think that to be sophisticated and upper-class, they must express a preference for brunettes over blondes, flat-chested over curvaceous. A few women pipe in to mention that it's wildly obnoxious to discuss whether various naturally-occurring physical features are or are not in this season. But they, we must remember, are humorless females, unable to see that Simon Doonan is in fact medically incapable of removing his tongue from his delightfully British cheek.
OK, so two updates. One is that I think the way to banish the "tongue-in-cheek" defense for that which is gratuitously offensive and not even funny (even to people who like "South Park" and other genuinely funny but not-PC entities, etc., etc.) is to replace "tongue-in-cheek" with "head-up-ass." As in, "You're obviously missing that this column calling black people lazy, Jewish people cheap, was intended to be head-up-ass."
The other is that in the comments below, David Schraub points us to a lovely Kate Harding post, inspired by a Jessica Valenti tweet, that reveals that I was not alone in approaching the piece wondering how it would fly, so to speak, if women went about declaring small male anatomy the height of chic. But I still think the relevant comparison would be if there were an industry thought to be 'run by lesbians,' where lesbians - that is, women unaffected by the anatomy in question - were indeed well-represented, that sought to glorify modest endowment, and not in the name of making everyone feel OK about themselves, but rather of making the well-endowed feel crude and déclassé, as if they weren't merely formed like that, but had stuffed a large, phallic vegetable down their pants.