Since this blog is written by middle-aged men, we trust that regular
readers will appreciate that our interest in ladies’ underwear is motivated
solely by a high-minded concern for the business lessons to be learnt from it.
Anyway, we were inspired to write this post by an article
in Britain’s painfully serious, left-of-centre Guardian newspaper, which shares our strong feminist commitment and
concern for Women’s Issues, on why British women’s breasts appear to be
...and, given our long-established advocacy of science, we
were particularly fascinated by its application of Archimedes’ Principle to
measuring the poundage of breasts – yet another practical application of
physics in the business world!
But the most serious point in all this is that the business
of women’s body shape illustrates how there can be a huge gap between the
perception of a product by its owner and its perception by its principal target
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars
have been spent trying to convince women that they are unattractive, and that
only the products offered by the people spending those dollars – fashionable
clothes, cosmetics, diets, whatever – can and will magically make them
Most infamously, women are told that they should be
emaciated, like “supermodels”, but the evidence actually shows that men – who
remain, for most women, the principal target market –usually prefer a fuller
More recently, women were told that artificial breast
enhancement would make them more desirable, but now even Hollywood, centre of
the “boob job” universe, is waking up to the fact
that, all other things being equal, plastic perfection is not as attractive as
Of course, size does matter, and the good news for men is
that the average natural bust is getting larger. The good news for women is
that bra manufacturers are now trying to meet the demand for this, rather than
trying to convince women that they are “too big”. Indeed, the production of
ever bigger bras has become something of an arms race, so to speak. For once, just
for once, feminists and aesthetically-inclined men can rejoice together.
The lesson in all this – and, yes, there is one – is that,
wherever there is a gap between perception and reality, there is a business
opportunity for the entrepreneur who can close it.