Strange as it may seem, reality TV star Gok Wan deeply offended Australian women recently when he fronted an advertisement for department chain Target, using – shock, horror! – the word ‘bangers’ in it.
‘Bangers’ is a nickname the famously flamboyant stylist has affectionately coined for breasts, even designing a range of bras called ‘Banger Boosters.’ His recent ad – which uses the sentence, ‘Your bangers will never feel more loved’ to describe how it feels to wear a properly fitting bra – attracted a number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau, both about the use of the word itself (more commonly associated with lower quality sausages Down Under) and, rather alarmingly, about an openly gay man selling underwear to women.
Both Target and the ASB waved away any homophobic discussion, focusing instead on whether or not the word ‘bangers’ should be considered offensive and perhaps be changed to the word ‘boobs’, which is apparently less so (go figure). Happily the ASB ruled that Wan’s use of the word ‘bangers’ was not discriminatory, as well as the ad in question being considered both light-hearted and positive.
So in this day and age, what is and what isn’t considered offensive?
In her book Stacked: A 32DDD Reports From The Front, author Susan Seligson explores breast slang, its origins and effect on the general public in her uniquely tongue-in-cheek style. ‘Boobs’ is identified as the term with which most women are comfortable when discussing their bust – it’s widely accepted and deemed one of the least innocuous: ‘A woman might complain how her boobs ache, sag, or feel lumpy,’ she says. ‘But I strongly doubt anyone has ever shared concerns with a girlfriend about discomfort in her hooters.’
Seligson points out that a person’s class may determine the type of monikers he or she chooses to describe mammaries, and makes a terrific case for women’s distaste for testosterone-driven men’s choice to name their breasts after car parts: ‘airbags’, ‘headlights’, ‘bumpers’, ‘honkers’, ‘high beams’, and ‘snow tires’, to name but a few. Her collection of celebrity-inspired names also raises a chuckle; try ‘Brad Pitts’, ‘Eartha Kitts’, ‘Dolly Partons, ‘the Pointer Sisters’, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Ben and Jerry’ and so on.
When people actively choose such creative vocabulary to describe a woman’s assets, generally most people take it in the light-hearted vein in which it’s meant, unless of course, there’s a derogatory tone behind the sentence. Flat-chested women may obviously prefer that their ‘mosquito bites’, ‘pimples’ or ‘fried eggs’ are not pointed out to all and sundry, likewise well-endowed ladies might baulk at the names ‘funbags’, ‘lung nuts’ and ‘kahunas’. Overly crude can certainly be considered offensive – who would be proud of their ‘all-day suckers’, ‘c**k warmers’ or ‘chesticles’? Men likely hate the terms ‘moobs’ and ‘bitch tits’ when applied to their own chests. And adolescents may not be comfortable enough with their developing body for their breasts to be called anything overly familiar just yet.
So just for the record, here is a small selection of the never-ending breast slang that the team at Let’s Talk Breasts has found amusing along the way:
Enchiladas, balloons, knockers, puppies, cha-chas, jubblies, speed bumps, lady lumps, norks, boobies, babylons, baps, jugs, melons, coconuts, wobblers, Godzillas, pumpkins, love muffins, palookas, bazookers, gazongas,
and, last but not least, wopbopaloobops.
Or just say it straight… Be proud of your BREASTS!
by Bryony Sutherland
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