Snake Oil

Padding, Spandex, Social Profiles, and Other Bits of Fakery

Maybe I’m dense, but I just don’t get the fakery trend in our culture. It could be just our continuing infatuation with shallowness and outward appearances, I suppose, but it kinda bugs me.

Several different types of fakery have recently annoyed me popped up in my world, and because I’m a monkey with a keyboard and an internet connection, I’m sharing them with you. [Caution: Snark alert]

Fakery with Padding:

A couple of weeks ago, we ended up at a big department store because our oldest (12-ish) needed wanted some new bras. Having worn the ‘sports bra’ style previously, she wanted something that looked more like a bra. It took me a while to get that fact, and to relate it to my own attempts to look or feel older as a boy, instead of pointing out the obvious, that there wasn’t a need for it. So we cruise through the young women’s department until we find the underwear section, and what do we find?

With the exception of 3 or 4 bras, they’re all padded. As in, they look like boobs already, just from hanging on the rack. My first thought was “What the hell?”

What’s the point of a padded bra for a young girl? To make it look like you have bigger breasts, right? Or maybe it’s really protective padding? It’s dangerous to be a young girl?

Appearing to have bigger breasts is not what I want for my daughter at her age (at any age, actually). We had a discussion about the issue with her, and we eventually found some that were acceptable to both her and us, so our shopping trip had a happy ending. But I left the store shaking my head, wondering “Why do our little girls need fake the size of their breasts?”

And if girls are wearing these types of bras, what about those young boys who are their peers – what are they thinking when they see their classmates with inflated chests? As a former 12 year old boy, I can just imagine the types of conversations that are sparked by those magically enlarged boobs…

Fakery with Spandex:

Girdles for men? Body sculpting built into clothes? What a bunch of bullshit.

If you’re tempted to buy into this, let me clue you in: Nobody is fooled by this. And if you can take an honest look at yourself in the mirror, you can stop fooling yourself as well.

The same types of people who look at athletes and say “I wish I could do that” while sitting on their couch seem to be the same types of people who will shell out the bucks for some fancy underwearthat disguises the body, the same way that wearing lots of makeup disguises the face.

The way I see it, if you’re carrying around some flab, you’ve got two options. Option one, accept the way that you look, be proud of it, flaunt it even. Option two, ditch the junk food, get off your ass and start getting physical (cue Olivia Newton-John). There is a third option, you can go under the knife. We have a friend living in Australia who says that plastic surgery isn’t just for women anymore, there is a doctor who advertises couples discounts saying “Get a Male and Female Body lift in Sydney together.”

If you go with option one, kudos to you for accepting yourself as you are right now. Please move on to option two unless you want to be that guy for the rest of your life.

If you go with option two, congratulations on your decision to accept that for the most part, the way your body looks is dependent on what you eat, how much you eat, and how hard you play.

I decided some time ago that I wanted to be fit enough to keep up with my (future) grandkids, and that I don’t want my fitness level to limit my activities – I want it to increase the number of things I can do. And you know what? It doesn’t take hours in the gym to get and stay fit, as I used to think. My current workouts are short and intense, focusing on functional fitness, not building a better bicep.

Your mileage may vary. Of course, I’m wrong at least as much as I am right, so maybe the Standard American Diet and a spandex undershirt is better.

Fakery in Profiles:

I spend a lot of time on the web, and I’ve noticed another disturbing fakery trend in the ways that people choose to represent themselves in their profiles and profile pics. Many times in the last week, I’ve been on social media sites and clicked through from someone’s profile, only to find a completely different “face” for them – such as looking 20 years older.

If you don’t always look like you walked out of Glamour Shots every day, don’t post that as your profile picture. If you don’t wear a tuxedo all the time, don’t post that picture either. Skip the cartoon-ization too.

And in related fakery…

Fakery in Titles:

You can’t call yourself an expert, guru, maven, or thought leader. Other people can refer to you that way when you earn it, but introducing yourself to me as an expert is not the best option. Just sayin’.

I want to know what you do, not what you know. If what you do is compelling enough, I’ll want to know what you know.

Don’t be this guy.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

5 thoughts on “Padding, Spandex, Social Profiles, and Other Bits of Fakery

  • Also, FYI, if you have small enough boobs it is pretty much impossible to get a non-padded bra as an adult. I’m not talking “smooth over the nipple” padding, I’m talking “you must be so ashamed of your A cup, let’s make you a C cup” padding.

    How would it make my daughter feel if I walked around with pretend C cups when she is most likely going to develop a chest just like mine? Inadequate. The whole marketing machine serves to make us feel inadequate so that we will buy things to compensate.

    Whatevs. I just stopped wearing bras- certainly didn’t need them for the support- and people are going to have to learn to live with seeing a bit of “perkiness.”

  • I am really glad to hear another guys opinion on the bra situation. It is a constant battle to not make our daughter (and one on the way) to not feel inadequate. Our daughter is only four, and she sees bras and wants them right now. She says she wants to be like mommy, and we get that. It is sad so many parents just let their daughters wear whatever. So all in all, I am just glad to see another father giving his daughter guidelines and sticking with them.

  • totally agree with you and Robin’s comment. Have a small breast, I feel GREAT about it (thank you very much) and I too gave up on bras because I cannot find non-padded ones (which is when you think about it a loss for those companies who fail to address market need – Ah Ah). I was wondering why women would only ask for padded bras and I think I have one explanation from another tiny-breast friend: she hates it when her nipples show under her shirt so padded bras just covers that. WTF?!? Are we becoming such a fake AND uptight at the same time society that we feel so uncomfortable with natural body reactions?

  • I wear padded bras because I don’t want my nipples to show. Yeah, it is natural reaction, but so is most men’s reaction to my nipples. I don’t like to be oggled by men other than my husband.

    I’m not a prude, either. I openly breastfeed (entire boob hanging out sans cover) in front of friends’ husbands. They are respectable and respectful…unfortunately not every man is.

  • So to avoid men’s reaction to your nipples, you make your breast look bigger 🙂


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