Art and Design Review
Vol.05 No.02(2017), Article ID:76315,14 pages

Boobs Out! A Perspective on Fashion, Sexuality and Equality

Sarah E. Reynolds*

Independent Scholar, Glasgow, UK


Copyright © 2017 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: March 27, 2017; Accepted: May 16, 2017; Published: May 22, 2017


Society is facing many challenges currently with uncertainty about the implications for the economy (including the fashion industry) and equality of issues such as Brexit and the rise of the Right. This article takes the opportunity to survey current fashion trends and take stock of potential equality issues. This article discusses key trends in dress length, cut and footwear, and also how the big cleavage is such a key look currently. The key look for any young woman in the west currently who wants to look fashionable is “Boobs Out!”. We also discuss how women are wily and can use their bodies, including the revealing of lots of cleavage, to exert a powerful influence over men. This article discusses some of the safety issues relating to women’s outfits and how further research is required into these aspects. Progress and remaining challenges with regard to gender equality in fashion, for example the pressure to wear high heels, is also discussed.


Fashion, Sexuality, Equality, Cleavage, Breast Exposure, Sexual Distraction, Vagina, Buttocks

1. Sociopolitical Context

2017 is indeed a defining year in the political and sociocultural history of the United Kingdom (UK). The EU Notification of Withdrawal Act has been passed, which sets into motion a two-year timescale for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) in a process dubbed Brexit. The UK is facing almost certainly its most major political upheaval for decades. At the same time, Scotland has declared its intention to call a second referendum of leaving the UK, albeit amid uncertainty about what that would mean for its EU membership. Brexit has been dubbed a “decision of a divided country” (Dorling, 2016) , and might be seen to symbolize a rising Right-wing nationalism across Europe and North America (Stuckler, 2017) .

There has been a lot of discussion about economics and about health, and these are important areas. However, it is important to note that our equality legislation, embodied in the Equality Act (2010), derives directly from EU law in the Equal Treatment Directives. It is yet unknown whether or how the proposed Great Repeal Act may affect existing equality legislation. Fashion, which is a major industry in itself, is an important part of women’s gender identity (Entwistle, 2015) . Indeed, fashion, freedom of expression and equality often interact. It is also possible that economic changes as a result of Brexit could affect the fashion industry. Therefore, this is an ideal opportunity to assess where we are at, from a fashion studies perspective.

2. Overview of Recent Fashion Trends

Recent years have seen some very beautiful, glamorous and daring outfit choices by celebrities for formal events (Fields, 2017) . The UK is often not seen as among the leaders of daring fashion, having a reputation as a somewhat conservative country. Nevertheless, it was an English woman Marnie Simpson at the 2017 UK National Television Awards who took the see-through dress trend to a new level (Fields, 2017) by fully revealing her vagina. However, the BRIT Awards 2017 were somewhat disappointing in terms of daring fashion trends. Cami Morrone’s black dress with sheer material on the legs and full see-through breast exposure was fairly pretty. Meanwhile, Jade Thirwall wore a nice white dress with a split up one leg to the hip. Nevertheless, this felt a sartorial step backwards after Giulia Salemi’s heavy vagina cleavage in a double split dress at the Venice Film Festival 2016.

3. The Cleavage Trend: Boobs Out

Indeed, it appears that on a global scale celebrity eventswear may be taking a step backwards in 2017 away from some of the more innovatively daring trends of recent years. According to McKinley (2017) , “Deep v-neckline styles will be the new, sexy trend for the upcoming award season…My prediction is that cleavage will be the latest “new erogenous zone”. “Indeed, cleavage was the key trend at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards (as well as several other awards ceremonies already in 2017), and huge cleavage it was. Corvino (2017) commented “As beautiful as their dresses and faces may have looked, I gotta be honest with you ? all eyes were on the BOOBS”. Trends do sometimes go around in circles and the level of deep cleavage seen so far at events in 2017 suggests a return to the massive cleavage trend of the early 2010s as embodied for example in Mariah Carey’s 2012 Golden Globes dress and Christina Hendrick’s 2010 Emmys gown. Big cleavage is clearly sexually attractive and a glamorous sign of femininity. So, by showcasing massive breast cleavage, maybe currently at the expense of other looks such as the vagina cleavage, celebrities are hardly being conservative or unsexual. It is not a new look, however. For example, back in 1957, Jayne Mansfield deliberately upstaged Sophia Loren at a dinner party held in her honor by wearing a very low-cut dress that showed huge cleavage while sitting down for dinner and also showed one nipple when she leant over the table (Saxton, 1975) .

It may well be that after an experiment with other types of cleavage, such as buttock cleavage and vagina cleavage, formal events fashion may indeed settle for a period of time on deep breast cleavage as being a key way of showcasing feminine sexuality. Moreover, it has already gained social acceptability and in western countries, it is almost always acceptable for adults to show deep breast cleavage at smart and formal social events. However, we will have to see over the next few years whether the vagina does return, potentially in combination with breast cleavage. When considering cleavage level, it is important to recall that although many aspects of women’s fashion are more daring in modern times than the distant past, in many European localities breast exposure during the Renaissance period far exceeded what is common nowadays. Agnès Sorel instigated a trend in the 15th century French court of baring one whole breast above the low neckline of a formal dress (Canellas-Zimmer, 2005) . Indeed, up until the morally repressive Victorian period, very low necklines were fashionable across Europe. Indeed, exposed nipples frequently featured in French fashion plates from the 18th century (Duncan, 2012) . Therefore, the question is not so much whether breast cleavage fashion can go to new limits, but whether it can get back to the levels of several centuries ago! Regardless of this, one of if not the major formalwear trend right now is definitely “Boobs Out!”.

4. Other Key Current Formalwear Trends

In terms of red carpet footwear trends, there seems evidence of a re-emergence of classical 4-inch heel strappy stiletto sandals as a commonly selected option. Nevertheless, very high (5 or 6 inch, or even higher) heels have remained a key trend. For example, Reese Witherspoon boosted her petite 5 foot 1 inch frame at the 2017 Golden Globes with a pair of stunning 6 inch Louboutin Lady Peep platforms. A woman certainly looks stunning pairing a glamorous dress with very high heels. Indeed, the way they alter her posture makes her big cleavage look even more dramatic! Indeed, a 6-inch heel increases a woman’s height by between 2 and 3 standard deviations of young women’s height in many western countries, which is a very dramatic increase. However, there does seem more variation in shoe style and the ability for women to choose what they want to a greater extent.

One other noticeable red carpet trend through 2016 into 2017 has been the train. Trains also have a long history in women’s formalwear. Indeed, in the nineteenth century, formal court dress for women was not considered complete without a train. For example, King George IV of the United Kingdom prescribed that women’s court dresses had to have a train of at least three yards, which is 2.7 metres (Hertslet, 1929) . Nowadays, women wear trains in more specific contexts, principally as the bride in a wedding or at red carpet events. Nevertheless, some women will wear a dress with a train for prom or a ball, and some of these will opt for a long train. I have to admit I love a train and how glamorous, feminine and sexy it makes me feel. I wear one for my birthday every year and sometimes at other formal events. This is what my partner (now husband) had to say:

“Trains are a complex one. They seem to make women look and feel very feminine and sexy. However, it’s clear they do take floor space away and people can trip on them. If the world was logical, they would be banned, but they have such cultural value that they are allowed. The world expects others just to be more careful not to step on the train. When I starting dating Sarah, she told me she loved trains. I got used to it. At our first birthday as a couple, I stood on her dress and twisted my ankle, but she looked so attractive. We practised after that and there’s been no more accidents. We’re getting married and she’s told me she wants a train like I think it looks so beautiful”. I did marry him recently and yes I did wear a very long train for the ceremony and a medium one for the reception.

Indeed, in one poll (Allegria_vagina, 2016a) , 90% of respondents thought that a bride should wear a train on her wedding dress, although most (70%) thought the train should be bustled for the reception. Of those in favor of a train, 22% thought the train should be short, 38% medium, 16% long and 24% huge. Meanwhile, in another poll of black tie wear (Allegria_vagina, 2016b) , 88% of respondents thought that a black tie dress should be floor length. Of those favoring a floor length dress, 35% preferred no train, 31% a short train, 15% a medium train and 19% a long train. Meanwhile, in a poll on New Year’s Eve fashion (Sexyandscary, 2016) , 30% of those wearing dresses said they would wear a train. Among those attending a ball or other formal event, it was 39%. Of the 22 women attending a formal event wearing a train, 41% preferred a long train. In a smaller poll specifically on trains (Allegria_vagina, 2016c) , all respondents thought that trains were beautiful and 90% said that if only aesthetics were to be considered the longer the train the better. 86% thought that really long trains such as Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala dress looked amazing. Only 10% of respondents had never worn a dress with a train and 52% had worn one in a context other than their wedding. 50% said that they had worn a very long train and 31% each said that their average train length was medium and very long. Among those who had only worn a train at their wedding, 55% chose a very long train, 18% a long train, 18% medium and 9% short. Among those who had worn a train not just at their wedding, the average train length was very long for 13%, long for 20%, medium for 33% and short for 27%. Apart from weddings, balls or galas (54%) and birthday parties (27%) were the most common places for train wear.

Some people do have concerns about the safety of trains and some serious incidents have been reported in the media. Not all incidents will make the news. For example, in 2014 a British vicar broke his arm after tripping on the bride’s long train during a wedding ceremony (Galley, 2014) . A systematic survey of media reports is indicated. In this poll (Allegria_vagina, 2016c) , 21% thought they were very dangerous and 66% a bit dangerous. Among those who considered them very dangerous, 50% had never worn a dress with a train. Nevertheless, 33% of those who considered them very dangerous had worn one not just at their wedding, 33% had worn a very long train and 17% usually wear a long train for balls. Among all respondents, 54% had suffered a first-party tripping injury and 58% had seen someone else injure themselves second party on her train. Among those who have worn a long or very long train, 57% had seen someone injure themselves due to the respondent’ train. However, the fact that this is not higher than the whole sample figure is likely to be an artefact of the fact that 72% of respondents had worn a long or very long train. These figures may overestimate the overall risk of trains, since the longest ones are not worn every time. Interestingly, 17% of respondents supported a total ban on trains, while a further 34% said they should be banned except for brides at weddings. Indeed, 76% considered that brides look best with a very long train.

Fashion and Gender Equality

As difficult as it might be for us women to contemplate it, if we want to be equal, maybe we need to consider how what we wear affects other people. Before we reach any conclusions, substantial further research is required into the potential safety risks to others posed by various glamorous items of women’s fashion, and also the extent to which other people are having to be deliberately careful to avoid being injured by these hazards. Definitely, women’s clothing and its associated risks are not handled in policy in the same way as similar items that are not worn by women, as discussed for example by Barnish and Barnish (2016) in the context of the differential handling of stilettos and knives. This situation is mirrored across a wide range of items such as trains and sequins. Men’s fashion has evolved to be far less expressive than women’s fashion and this may raise equality issues especially in the presence of non-heteronormative sexualities. Indeed, it seems unfair that black tie dress codes minimize the difference between men, while allowing women the chance to shine. Possible, initiatives could be considered to allow men greater opportunities to show their individual personalities through what they wear, for example a broader color palate or more expressive waistcoats, as well as trying to develop some options in menswear that are more sexually provocative for women. Any dress code can lead to equality issues, however issues are most notable when one gender is required to wear something that harms their health (Barnish & Barnish, 2016) , while the other is not. An area of controversy in recent years has revolved around the pressure, and at times compulsion, for women to wear high heels at work and in certain social situations. It is important for such issues to be resolved internationally, and to not only focus on workplaces. Nevertheless, considerable progress does seem to have been made in UK workplaces both with regard to individual companies changing their policies in light of bad publicity and a media campaign, and governmental clarification that to force women to wear high heels at work contravenes the Equality Act (2010).

5. Casualwear Trends

In terms of casualwear and smart casual trends, in some ways they mirror formalwear trends but sometimes in a more toned down way. Some trends are specifically for casualwear, such as looks that draw on sportswear or swimwear for inspiration and those using motifs to make political statements. However, the big cleavage trend that has been so popular on red carpets already in 2017 seems to have crossed over well into smart casual fashion (Fashion Tag, 2017) . Indeed, at pretty much every smart casual social event I have attended recently, most young women have been showing medium to big cleavage―it’s certainly “Boobs Out!” time. For formalwear or smart casual, it just seems that one of the very hottest western trends right now is to show absolutely tons of cleavage. There is so much cleavage on show even I have sympathy for guys who are trying to maintain sensibel conversation―I will still show it though. However, for casualwear such as jeans initially, buttock cleavage has been suggested as a possible trend that could be resurrected (Fitzpatrick, 2017) , even though it is currently somewhat off the radar for formalwear. Sheer clothing, done to different extents, is also quite popular right now. In terms of footwear, there are some many popular options that it is hard to see one clear trend. Some women are favoring stilettos, some are wearing flats or kittens quite often and others are experimenting with an emergent trend for platform heels (Najarian, 2017) . The platform heels that some women are wearing for casual and smart casual wear right now are quite different in design from those worn for formalwear. Indeed, they tend to feature wide rather than stiletto heels and some are really platform wedges. Nevertheless, there are women who love wearing platform stiletto heels outside formal situations and this can be a truly stunning look. Indeed, this has been around for a few years now as an occasionally seen option, for example Taylor Swift’s Lady Peep 6 inch platforms back in 2014 (Shoerazzi, 2014) and from the same year Eva Longoria’s Olcay Gulsen 7 inch platform heels (Watkins, 2012) . Swift’s platforms were a particularly powerful statement since they made her an imposing 6 foot 4 tall. Indeed, it has been commented that “Heels in Hollywood have gone from symbols of submission to power as women on the up-and-up barely give shorter guys any pause” (Ginsberg, 2012) .

6. Boobs Out in Japan!

It is interesting to see how everyday fashion differs globally. Japan, for example, is still a fairly conservative culture, with even a small amount of breast cleavage still been seen as a bold sexual symbol. However, there is a very interesting recent trend there for a sexy version of the sweater. It should be noted that uptake of sexy trends among young Japanese women is lower than in western countries. In 2016, the key look was a turtleneck sweater with a window cut out (Mona_jpn, 2017) to reveal what we in the west would consider medium cleavage (the so-called “keyhole turtleneck”), but is likely to be seen as very big cleavage in a culture in which any cleavage is still seen as an extreme look. In 2017, the key look is “the virgin-killing sweater” (Hamill, 2017) . It looks innocent enough from the front as it is high-necked, but it is very open at the sides showing a lot of side cleavage. Meanwhile, it is backless and is usually styled to show buttock cleavage. Although regularly worn in real life, this look is based on a fashion trend for several years in Japanese anime cartoons (Anime Top Lists, 2017) ―it will be interesting to see how many real life women wear theirs open to show at least half their buttocks as many anime characters do, as opposed to a subtler hint of buttock cleavage.

It has been exported to other countries including Ireland (Buzz, 2017) due to its popularity, and in some places a dress version has been seen. It would be some serious fun for the boys of Temple Bar if the gorgeous Dublin girls start going out in these sweaters with their buttocks out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Irish version shows breast cleavage too. Another decidedly sexy trend in Japan currently is “fake camel toe underwear” (Yenisey, 2017) , which uses a synthetic implant to make it look like the outline of the woman’s labia majora is visible through her tight clothing. This is another trend designed to sexually arouse young Japanese men, who have been described as losing interest in sex and relationships (Haworth, 2013) . However, although the sight of “camel toe” is sexually provocative, the men may come to realize for example through media coverage that it is fake. Another hot trend in Japan that started in 2007, and may reflect the wider “bumster” fashion in the west, was the wearing of ultra-low rise jeans designed to show off all of the knickers at the front and a lot of buttock at the back. For example, this online forum (Snopes, 2017) shows a gorgeous young Japanese woman at the bowling alley wearing jeans low enough to reveal half her buttocks in a standing position and another wearing jeans so low to go shopping that her entire pair of semi-sheer panties are revealed at the front. Meanwhile, Japanese women are being encouraged to increase their stiletto heel wear (Demetriou, 2016) . Already, stiletto wear for work and social events is very common among young women from fashion-conscious major cities such as Tokyo. Indeed, in fashionable Tokyo, many young women wear high heels almost all the time including just to walk around town or visit a park (Mineta, 2013; Navidi, 2011) . A move towards increased uptake of sexually provocative clothing among a wider profile of Japanese young women, shedding the conservatism of the past, may help reinvigorate young Japanese men’s interest in sex and relationships.

Turn Me On!

One of my great frustrations as a modern young woman in 2017 is that, while most of my outfits, especially my smart ones, were created by designers largely to arouse men (which is fun and I have no problem with), there is nothing in modern men’s clothing fashion designed to arouse a woman. I wish there was a hot new trend that would flaunt a man’s body more, maybe something like “heavage” (which does get shown but very rarely), visible testicles or some form of penis cleavage. I would like to experience being physically turned on by my partner’s outfit at social events to the same extent as he says it turns him on if I show a lot of cleavage, wear stilettos or flash my groin/buttocks for example. There is nothing he can wear outside our house that makes me aroused. However, we have found a few fun ideas to experiment with while we can alone together in our house. We have customized a few outfits for him to wear in private that have cut-outs to show some of the testicles and sometimes he will put his penis out over the waistband of his jeans and leave it hanging out while we do things together in private. I enjoy these times when he can use his outfits to sexually arouse me, but regret that it is not socially acceptable for him to do such things to me in public, while it is socially normal for me to wear many different things that arouse him severely in public.

7. Sexually Distracting a Guy in the Gym

Nevertheless, it does give me pleasure how I can so easily influence a man’s mind and behavior. Let’s face it, there are many things that men are just better at. Yet, if women have a bit of fun and distract the guys with their outfits and bodies, it can create a more equal playing field. Yes, men, you can lift more than me in the gym, but can you do it with me doing star jumps and squat thrusts next to you in a very cleavagey sports bra (Laneri, 2016) and see-through yoga pants or buttock-flaunting booty shorts? These videos show some beautiful examples of what women can do in the gym or when working out elsewhere (Telly Tweets, 2017; Ohmygod 1986, 2015; SexyTVGirls, 2015; BikiniModelFitness, 2012) .

Sexually Distracting a Guy Playing Beer Pong

Also, yes you guys are usually better at beer pong, but what about if I do my utmost to distract you with my body while you are shooting? There are so many ways women can, and do, distract men during beer pong―after all it is a game in which distractions are encouraged, but women are much better at this than men. Showing cleavage is a classic distraction (Bryant, 2013) , but some women take this to the next level by revealing it suddenly by lifting their shirt as the man shoots (Comedy Central UK, 2014) or bouncing their breasts (Folan, 2011) .

However, using the groin or bottom as a distraction is certainly not off limits (Media_saver, 2013) . Some of the ways this is done are fairly moderate, but some are not. In the previous source, in picture 34, the women just turns around and points her jeans-clad backside at the man as he is shooting. In picture 7, the women have undone their jeans buttons to show their knickers at the front. In picture 8, the woman has dropped her jeans to show her knickers at the back and some buttock. In this source (Ebaums World, 2010), in picture 10, the woman is facing backwards in just underwear showing quite a lot of buttock, as do the thong-wearing women in picture 15 in this other source (Gurusmancave, Undated) . Picture 19 shows another really funny and tempting distraction in which the woman wears a short skirt and puts one foot up on the table in this case to show her knickers, although I have seen many cases in real life of women doing this knickerless! Some women take the distraction to its highest level by leaving off their underwear for a range of distraction techniques. In picture 2 of Gurusmancave (Undated) , the women have lifted up their tops to reveal their bare breasts without a bra, just hiding the nipples with their hands. Meanwhile in picture 15 of EbaumsWorld (2010) , the right-most woman has removed her bikini bottoms and is just covering her vagina with her hand. Some women do not afford their male opponents these small mercies. Some women will play beer pong topless or fully naked against men (Swift, 2014) ―in real life, this is not rare.

In one online poll of female beer pong players (Allegria_vagina, 2016d) , 28% of respondents said they would usually play naked facing forward with bare breasts and vagina to distract a male opponent, 20% would show cleavage and bounce their breasts, 16% would show cleavage and 14% would wear a short skirt without knickers and put their foot up on the table as the man was about to shoot to flash vagina. Other less popular options included playing naked facing backwards to show bare buttocks (8%), wiggling the buttocks facing backwards in a very revealing thong or bikini bottom (6%) and gyrating facing forwards in a bikini (3%).

8. Sexually Distracting a Guy Playing Tennis

Meanwhile, another poll (Allegria_vagina, 2016e) assessed what female tennis players would choose to wear in a mixed singles exhibition tournament with the women’s first team playing the men’s second team. The stated rules were that nipples and vagina must be covered in standing position and that see-through without underwear is not allowed. In terms of a top, 42% would wear a very low-cut sleeveless top while 25% would wear just nipple pasties. On bottom, 30% would wear a very short tennis skirt without underwear, 27% would just wear a thong and 24% would wear a very short tennis skirt with underwear. 91% of female respondents would deliberately try to distract their male opponent. The top five distraction techniques were wiggling their bottom at him while walking back to their mark (89%), showing cleavage (84%), making noises (71%), fluttering their eyelashes (69%) and flashing their underwear (61%). Interestingly, 40% would use perfume to distract him, 40% would flash their vagina on his serve (by moving to ensure she is not in standing position) and 34% would flash their nipples on his serve.

8.1. Sexually Distracting a Guy Playing Poker

Similarly, a number of female poker professionals admit to using cleavage to distract male opponents. For example, Celina Lin said: “‘Research shows that men cannot think as well under situations where blood may be going elsewhere!’ she jokes about flashing more of her cleavage the longer she remains in a tournament, ‘especially as we get towards the final table. I do whatever I can to distract them, and if it gets me further in a tournament, winning the trophy, I think there is nothing wrong with that’” (Burnett, 2016) . Meanwhile, one of the world’s most well-known female poker players Jennifer Tilly is renowned for usually showing huge cleavage during poker games, for example this amazing cleavage from the Poker Lounge (PokerXpress, 2017) .

8.2. Sexually Distracting a Guy in Other Games

It seems so petty and anti-women that some other games, such as chess (Carbone, 2012) , have banned cleavage. Women are smart and know how to distract a guy. Indeed, one high school administrator has blamed girls’ “distracting” outfits for boys’ poorer grades (Morin, 2015) . But should we not instead celebrate feminine wiles? Society has a long-standing pro-male bias, so surely if women can exert some level of distraction, that might actually create a more equal playing field. Moreover, some things such as cleavage are not always entirely deliberate if one is well-endowed and some women just don’t look good without it. Revealing nipples, buttocks or vagina could be controversial (but can be a gloriously sexual and glamorous exhibition of femininity), but surely a nice glamorous deep breast cleavage should be allowed, and if it distracts men, then it’s their fault and women should celebrate their influence. I am captain of a quiz team coming soon and I will strongly encourage my all-female team to wear tight sparkly mini dresses with lots of cleavage and very high stilettos.

One of my favorite moments from the movies comes from the Czech Film Muži v naději (Men in Hope) in which a beautiful female character plays pool against two middle aged men wearing a stunning red dress with deep cleavage and stilettos. Whenever the men are shooting, she leans over the table flaunting her cleavage to its maximum potential and on one occasion, she sexily removes her panties from under her dress just as a man is shooting and puts them on as a hairband, making him totally miscue the ball. For the rest of the game, the men look very distracted seeing if they can see up her dress. She knows their weakness and capitalizes on it.

9. Sexually Distracting a Guy in Exams and Presentations

At university, one of my friends knew that she would be sitting directly opposite a guy in an exam in a small seminar room and therefore showed deep cleavage to divert blood from his brain to his penis. Meanwhile another friend knew that she would be sitting directly in front of a guy on old-fashioned long benches without backs so wore ultra low-slung jeans with a thong pulled up very high. If he looked ahead just to the side of his exam paper, he would see her sparkly thong catching his eye and drawing it down to her almost fully exposed buttocks. Many other girls were a little more subtle, but still wore pretty thongs or panties pulled up to be visible above their skirts or jeans that flashed often around an inch of buttock cleavage. The old male invigilators would not dare comment on these girls’ outfits for fear of being seen as sexist or sleazy and the girls knew it and used it to their advantage. Almost every guy said afterwards that they had had an erection at least most of the time.

The competition would sometimes be fierce. For example, in one university course, presentations were marked relatively, that is to say against the other groups, until there were just two groups left. The first group (3 guys and 3 girls) had such a clever plan to seek advantage over the second group (who were all guys). During the break, the three girls from the first group and the girlfriends of the guys in the first group, all changed into very high stilettos and deep cleavage dresses and sat in the front row to get into the minds of the all-male second group during their presentation. The first group won by a few points. I would argue that it is to some extent not equal that men cannot express themselves through their outfits as much as women can and cannot wear sexually provocative outfits in public. However, it is not unequal or unfair for women to take advantage of their beauty and the outfits they have available to exert an influence on men. Deliberately avoiding doing so would be to suppress our femininity.


Society is at a challenging juncture politically and it is unknown how this will affect fashion and equality. Although some progress has been made with regard to some issues of gender equality related to fashion, some major issues remain. It is indeed not clear that current approaches to this have been largely successful. It is important to research and consider issues relating to the safety of women’s outfits that have largely been neglected, while not overlooking the marked social value these items have. Besides the long-standing trend for high heels, the dominant fashion trend currently appears to be big cleavage. This is a beautiful and powerful look that can be used both to showcase women’s femininity and exert an influence over men. Nevertheless, some women may feel uncomfortable about showing so much cleavage, and their non-participation might lead to alienation, or they may show big cleavage just because others are doing so without wanting really to do it. For now, the major fashion trend girls is: “Boobs Out!”.


SER declares no financial conflicts of interest. She enjoys wearing many of the fashion trends discussed in this article.

Cite this paper

Reynolds, S. E. (2017). Boobs Out! A Perspective on Fashion, Sexuality and Equality. Art and Design Review, 5, 115-128.


  1. 1. Allegria_vagina (2016a). Weddings. [Paper reference 1]

  2. 2. Allegria_vagina (2016b). Black Tie Outfits (Women). [Paper reference 1]

  3. 3. Allegria_vagina (2016c). Trains on Dresses (For Women). [Paper reference 2]

  4. 4. Allegria_vagina (2016d). For Females—Beer Pong Distractions. [Paper reference 1]

  5. 5. Allegria_vagina (2016e). Mixed Singles Tennis. [Paper reference 1]

  6. 6. Anime Top Lists (2017). Virgin Killer Sweater Anime Compilation 2017. [Paper reference 1]

  7. 7. Barnish, M. S., & Barnish, J. (2016). High-Heeled Shoes and Musculoskeletal Injuries. BMJ, Open 6, e010053. [Paper reference 3]

  8. 8. BikiniModelFitness (2012). BIG BOOTY Girl Home Butt Workout!! [Paper reference 1]

  9. 9. Bryant, J. (2013). 50 Sexiest Beer Pong Distractions of All-Time. [Paper reference 1]

  10. 10. Burnett, A. (2016). Revealing Clothing Really Helps: Pro Celina Lin Explains Her Breasts Are Most Definitely Part of Her Poker Strategy.

  11. 11. Buzz (2017). The ‘Virgin Killer Sweater’ Is Making Its Way to Ireland. [Paper reference 1]

  12. 12. Canellas-Zimmer, M. (2005). Histoires de mode. Les Dossiers d’Aquitaine. [Paper reference 1]

  13. 13. Carbone, N. (2012). Chess Championships Loses Sex Appeal with New No-Cleavage Rule. [Paper reference 2]

  14. 14. Comedy Central UK (2014). Ball to the Face: Two and a Half Men.

  15. 15. Corvino, K. (2017). The Golden Globes Red Carpet Was One Big Cleavage Contest and These Stars Won. [Paper reference 1]

  16. 16. Demetriou, D. (2016). Japanese Women Urged to ‘Empower’ Themselves in High Heels. [Paper reference 2]

  17. 17. Dorling, D. (2016). Brexit: The Decision of a Divided Country. BMJ, 354, i3697. [Paper reference null]

  18. 18. Duncan, E. K. (2012). The Naughty Side of 18th Century French Fashions. [Paper reference 1]

  19. 19. EbaumsWorld (2010). The Most Distracting Beer Pong Opponents. [Paper reference 1]

  20. 20. Entwistle, J. (2015). The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity. [Paper reference 1]

  21. 21. Fashion Tag (2017). How to Wear Deep CLEAVAGE in 2017? [Paper reference 1]

  22. 22. Fields, S. E. (2017). Cultural and Aesthetic Analysis of Some of the Most Daring Celebrity Fashion Trends. Art and Design Review, 5. [Paper reference 1]

  23. 23. Fitzpatrick, E. (2017). The Denim Trend That’s Coming Back from the Dead for 2017. [Paper reference 3]

  24. 24. Folan, C. (2011). Beer Pong Boobies. [Paper reference null]

  25. 25. Galley, J. (2014). Vicar Breaks Arm after Tripping over New Bride’s Dress. [Paper reference 1]

  26. 26. Ginsberg, M. (2012). Tower of Power: Tall Women, Shorter Men and High Heels of Dominance. [Paper reference 1]

  27. 27. Gurusmancave (Undated). Beer Pong Girls. [Paper reference 2]

  28. 28. Hamill, J. (2017). You’ll Catch Your Death in That. Japan Goes Crazy for Skimpy Sweater Designed to Drive Nerdy Young Men WILD. The Sun, 27 January 2017. [Paper reference 1]

  29. 29. Haworth, A. (2013). Why Have Young People in Japan Stopped Having Sex? The Guardian, 20 October 2013. [Paper reference 1]

  30. 30. Hertslet, A. (1929). Dress and Insignia Worn at His Majesty’s Court. London: Lord Chamberlain’s Office. [Paper reference 1]

  31. 31. Laneri, R. (2016). Get Ready to See a Lot More Cleavage in the Gym. [Paper reference 1]

  32. 32. McKinley, H. W. (2017). What Are the New Ways to Show Skin on the Red Carpet? [Paper reference 1]

  33. 33. Media_saver (2013). In Beer Pong, Let’s Face It, Guys Let the Girls “Distract” Them (35 Photos). [Paper reference 1]

  34. 34. Mineta, G. B. (2013). Things I Don’t Understand about Tokyo: Why Do Women Wear High Heels All the Time? [Paper reference 1]

  35. 35. Mona_jpn (2017). Keyhole Turtleneck. [Paper reference 1]

  36. 36. Morin, A. (2015). High School Blames Girls’ Clothing for Boys’ Bad Grades—We Are Scratching Our Heads. [Paper reference 1]

  37. 37. Najarian, T. (2017). Spring/Summer 2017 Shoe Trends. [Paper reference 1]

  38. 38. Navidi, N. (2011). Colombia Japan Matsuri. [Paper reference 1]

  39. 39. Ohmygod1986 (2015). Sexy Korean Gal Gym Cleavage. [Paper reference 1]

  40. 40. PokerXpress (2017). Jennifer Tilly at the Poker Lounge PokerXpress. [Paper reference 1]

  41. 41. Saxton, M. (1975). Jayne Mansfield and the American Fifties. New York: Houghton Miffen. [Paper reference 1]

  42. 42. Sexyandscary (2016). New Year’s Eve Fashion (Women). [Paper reference 1]

  43. 43. SexyTVGirls (2015). Claudia Molina-Gym-Busty Boobs Cleavage Hot Ass. [Paper reference 1]

  44. 44. Shoerazzi (2014). Taylor Swift in Christian Louboutin Lady Peep Platform Leather Pumps. [Paper reference 1]

  45. 45. Snopes (2017). Japanese Fashion Trends. [Paper reference 1]

  46. 46. Stuckler, D. (2017). The Dispossessed: A Public Health Response to the Rise of the Far-Right in Europe and North America. European Journal of Public Health, 27, 5-6. [Paper reference 1]

  47. 47. Swift, B. (2014). Natasha Belle Wicked Hot and Topless Beer Pong for a Ta-Ta Tuesday. [Paper reference 1]

  48. 48. Telly Tweets (2017). Neha Sharma Hot Cleavage Show in Gym. [Paper reference 1]

  49. 49. Watkins, J. (2012). Reaching New Heights! Pint-Sized Eva Longoria Cuts a Towering Figure in Crazy Seven Inch Skyscraper Heels. Daily Mail, 16 August 2012. [Paper reference 1]

  50. 50. Yenisey, Z. (2017). Weirdest Fashion Trend Ever Has Japanese Women Giving Themselves Fake Camel Toes. [Paper reference 1]


*SER used to be called Sarah E. Fields.