Nine-and-a-half-times out of 10 I completely agree with other feminists about what they identify as sexism. But sometimes I really do disagree and the lingerie shop in Sweden that asks employees to display their bra size on their name tags is one of those times. The chain store, Change, has asked their female sales clerks for the past three years to wear tags because it will help customers see what is right for their body type.
One employee, however, is not happy about it. She has contacted Sweden’s Commercial Employee’s Union, which found the bra size reveals “a clear case of discrimination” and could possibly be breaking Swedish law, although it’s unclear from the article in Sweden’s Local newspaper what law that would be.
I honestly think this whole thing is stupid. Really stupid. Let me explain.
I agree with blogger Ximena Ramirez at Care2.com, who wrote, “having employees walk around with their bust circumference and cup size on display is wholly unnecessary to help customers pick the best bra.” Certainly, anyone who wants a fitting for a bra, panties, a nightie, etc. could get measured the traditional way with measuring tape. That’s what most of us are used to doing.
But not everyone — myself included, when I was younger — is totally comfortable with a stranger putting their fingers around your breasts and butt. When I was first fit with a bra at age 12, that part made me extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed. Even as adults, some women prefer to eyeball it while shopping, especially when it comes to buying slips/nighties that involve taking your coat, shoes, etc. of inside a dirty, cramped dressing room.
Not everyone, especially men, looking at a saleswoman’s bra size and/or figure is some creepy old lech. I would wager a lot of men who are buying lingerie for their girlfriends and wives are totally eyeballing it because their lady has different sizes in her drawers. They may know she’s a 36C in her bra size, its helpful for a man to eyeball the busty saleslady to buy a large nightie, not a medium (or whatever) when he sees how her nametag explains how it fits. Salesclerks are there to help in this way; it’s a lingerie shop. It’s not like these women are forced to tell everyone their bra size while selling topsoil or vacuum cleaners.
So, no, making employees wear their bra size on their name tag is not “completely demeaning.” If it is done well — i.e. the opposite of what you’d expect your Hooters waitress to say or do if she was obligated to reveal her bra size as well — it can actually be discreet. To be sure, I’m sure it is demeaning when dirty old men come in to leer at the women revealing their bra sizes. I wonder if that’s just an indication that the store needs to take more general precautions about who they let inside; lock the door, add a doorbell, and refuse re-entry to any known dirty old men who’ve made it inside. It would also be only fair, of course, for male employees to reveal their underwear size as well. To not do so would be discrimination.
Revealing your cup size or your booty size doesn’t have to be something to be shameful or embarrassed about. That complaint to me smacks of prudery, in fact. I think helping women — and the men who shop for them — find the proper sizes is actually a good thing to do.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.