We all learned a little bit about breasts in biology class and a lot about breasts when we got them. But there’s still more we’re learning about our boobs everyday. Here are just 10 things we learned today, for example:
1. There’s a physics to bras
The over-the-shoulder boulder holder (as my mom has called bras since I was old enough to wear them) has some fascinating physics behind it. According to Discover Magazine, breasts can be supported by one of two ways – through encapsulation, via the old molded cups that fit around the breast, and compression – which is how modern sports bras work by compressing your lady bits tightly to your chest. The science doesn’t make it any more comfortable, though.
2. The weight of a D-cup is pretty heavy
According to that same Discover Magazine article, a pair of D-cup breasts weighs between 15 and 23 pounds, which they weirdly compare to the weight of two small turkeys. The more you know, I guess?
3. The “ideal” breast size has changed throughout history (which goes to show, there is no real ideal breast size)
Let’s get one thing straight: all breasts are beautiful. But in recent decades, with the boom in plastic surgery, bigger breasts have become more popular (with the exception of the ’90s Kate Moss era). Meanwhile, in ancient societies, smaller-breasted women were considered ideal. In Ancient Egypt, many hieroglyphs portray women with triple-A cup breasts, while in Greek and Roman culture, shapely woman with small breasts were considered ideal.
4. Some of the earliest cave paintings of the female anatomy were created by teens. No joke.
Early cave drawings from the late Pleistocene epoch, around 35,000 to 10,000 years ago, show plenty of pictures of ibex, bears, and other game creatures. But it’s also believed a great number of teenage boys of the time painted bare-chested women with ample breasts.
5. Nobody really knows why we have boobs
Seriously, evolutionary biologists are baffled. No other species shares the same trait. While some mammals produce breasts during lactation, we’re the only lucky ones who walk around with them 24/7.
6. But there are some theories. . .
Humans are the only mammals that show a sexual attraction to breasts, and the fact that women’s breasts grow at puberty, not at pregnancy, is also unique to homo sapiens. So what’s the big attraction to boobs? Dr. Larry Young, a leading neuroscientist who studies social bonding, says it has to do with the bond a nursing mother makes with her child. OK.
7. We’re growing fast
The average American woman’s cup size has gone up in the past 15 years from a 34B to a 36C. While some peg it to an increasing obesity epidemic and more women on birth control, the jury’s still out as to a definitive answer.
8. We have two women to thank for the best bra ever
The first sports bra was invented in 1977 by two women who sewed two jock straps together. The name for their new product? The Jogbra.
9. Bras used to be seriously painful (yes, more painful than the underwire of today)
If you think your run-of-the-mill underwire is painful, be thankful you’re not living in the 18th century. Bras of old used to be made out of such uncomfortable (and definitely non-animal friendly) whale bones.
10. We have working women to thank for the evolution of the bra
Corsets went out of vogue after WWI, when more women were working and needed to, you know, breathe.