Do You Really Need to Worry About Cleavage Wrinkles?

Welcome to your newest fake body part phobia

We now have a new addition to our ever-growing list of fake body parts the world wants you to feel bad about: Cleavage wrinkles.

According to the New York Times: "Cleavage wrinkles are deep, vertical creases caused by hours spent sleeping on one’s side, where gravity forces the top breast to bend farther past the body’s midline than it should. The lines can also be caused by sports and push-up bras, which smush the breasts together and are often worn for hours."

First of all: Really, New York Times? Don't you maybe have some wars or a failing economy to write about? I know this ran in your Thursday Styles section, but surely, there are more pressing matters to be covered even there. Owling or something.

Next thought: Sleeping on your side is the best. I do it almost every night, preferably with my face smushed into my pillow. Also, I'm not light on top and I wear sports bras four times a week. So I'm pretty sure if cleavage wrinkles were a thing, I'd have them. 

But I don't, because they are not a thing. Just like ugly armpits, cankles, muffin-tops, and even waists. They were invented by the marketers of Dove deodorant, Spanx, and now, products like the ChestSavers bra ($56 to $78) and the Kush Support ($19.99), both designed to be worn between your breasts while you sleep to prevent the dreaded boob-squishing.

Because you know what's sexier than cleavage wrinkles? Sleeping in a weird-shaped bra with a "doggie bone shaped piece of polyester" between your girls. The ChestSavers bra inventor describes her creation as "kinky," but let's call a spade a spade: We're talking about mouth guards for your boobs. 

And here's where the New York Times really lost me. The article could have closed by questioning the beauty standard that demands women have grapefruit-sized breasts yet also expects them to be so buoyant that the skin above and around them never budges -- a feat of physical impossibility thus requiring cash expenditures on polyester dog bones or wrinkle fillers from your local plastic surgeon. Instead, writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner closes with the perspective of "one flat-chested woman," who sighs, “some people would be so happy to have cleavage that they would never think to complain about the wrinkles that accompanied them.”

This the-grass-is-always-greener explanation of body image issues pits women against each other and helps no one. Now all the large-breasted women who are stressing about cleavage wrinkles look spoiled -- when they're just responding to the tremendous cultural pressure that accompanies big boobs (that you can have your boobs but only if everything else about your body is small, flat and tight). And simultaneously, the smaller-breasted woman comes off as jealous and self-righteous, which does that camp no favors either.

If you want to be grouchy about cleavage wrinkles -- and I definitely do -- complain to the product manufacturers who created this problem and the New York Times for devoting 1,005 words to "solving" it. But let's not waste time eye-rolling at other women. Her cleavage wrinkles are your cankles, are my muffin-top... are somebody else's fictional body part hang-up. And we all need to work together to let these go -- before we get something new to worry about.

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