On the 4 train headed toward Utica, Brooklyn, I look up and notice an ad.
How to describe what should never be described? How to describe an advertisement that shames bodies and attempts to capitalize on a woman’s parts? How to imprint media’s peer pressure module to coax a woman to…..
For the low, low, CRAZY price of $3,900.
White woman in white tank top holds two clementines between white fingers against chest.
MADE IN NEW YORK, it says.
Same white woman in white tank top holds two grapefruit, one in each white hand, against chest.
“For other body modification, we also do liposuction, tummy tucks and Brazilian buttock lifts,” reads small print.
In the first photo with the clementines, the white woman is frowning. Her mouth is turned toward the floor as though an invisible wire had been threaded into each lip, causing it to droop.
In the second photograph with the grapefruit, the white woman is proudly showing off her white teeth. Her smile is large. Large like her breasts. After calling the phone number.
After emailing for more information.
After making an appointment and heading into the clinic to be cut into and accentuated.
I stare at this ad and then look around me to see if anyone else is noticing what I am noticing. How is this an emblem of NEW YORK, where we are a “melting pot” of so many types of bodies and minds and backgrounds and emotions.
Why would any of us want to pay the low, low CRAZY price of $3,900 to have a floatation device on our chests?
(That said, for anyone reading this, my intention is not to shame or dig at those who have chosen a breast enlargement. That is your right and your body and your money. I just think about how advertisements are crafted and the thoughts these images can leave us with.)
When I was in seventh and eighth grade, I stuffed my bra.
That’s not one-hundred percent accurate. I stuffed my undershirt, because I didn’t wear a bra until I was in high school.
My chest was flat like Delaware. Like North Dakota. Like the table I eat my breakfast, lunch, dinner on. My best friends called me: Mosquito Bites because…..(well, I think you get it).
I wanted a chest because they had a chest and so did Janet Jackson, who I had a deep crush on (a crush that extended to her brother, Michael as well).
I wanted a chest because I thought if I didn’t have one, something was wrong with me.
Because of Media. MTV. Billboards. Basically everyone around me telling me what a “woman” should like like.
This is what I was thinking about, upon seeing this advert on the subway.
I was also thinking that I certainly have altered my appearance to look/feel a certain way.
Would I pay the low, low, CRAZY price of $3,900 for any of these changes?
Every month, I dye my hair from what used to be titled dirty blond, to RED. I pay anywhere from $6-$12 for various tubes and developers.
When I first noticed this ad, I thought: What fruit would I want against my chest?
Kiwi? Lychee? Grape?
There is no hidden meaning to this ad and perhaps that is why I feel so impelled to write on it. Small breasts make you sad; big tits will make you happy.
How many other people have looked at this ad and wondered about their inadequacies? How many people eyeing this suddenly wondered if the fruit beneath their shirts were no longer good enough?
How many people?
How many other ads are just like this on other trains, over highways, interrupting television shows and in magazines?
What fruit are you?