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Saturday, May 9, 2009

We Boobed, admits Marks & Spencer

FASHION - Marks & Spencer (M&S) has admitted it was wrong to charge a £2 ($3) surcharge on larger bra sizes, after months of campaigning on Facebook and Twitter by large-breasted activists who felt they were being discriminated against. M&S is Britain's largest retailer of bras and lingerie.

Marks & Spencer has placed full-page ads in newspapers today stating "We boobed". The ad reads: "It’s true our fantastic quality larger bras cost more money to make, and we felt it was right to reflect this in the prices we charged. Well, we were wrong, so as of Saturday 9 May, the storm in a D cup is over!"

M&S said it will reduce the price of its bras over a size DD by up to £2 and for two weeks from Saturday (today), it will also reduce all prices for bras (regardless of size) by 25 per cent. The retailer said: "Every woman can now experience the difference a well-made quality bra will make."

M&S came under fire from The Busts 4 Justice campaign group for applying the £2 surcharge. One campaigner bought one share in the company so she could confront boss Sir Stuart Rose at the company’s Annual General Meeting.

M&S had said that bigger bras needed more work to develop a greater level of support and therefore the cost was justified, but ignored the fact that under that logic smaller bras are more profitable because they take less material/work, and therefore it all evens out in the end.

Busts 4 Justice has more than 8,000 members and the group's co-founder, Beckie Williams – a 34E – argues that just as fat or tall people don't have to spend extra on larger clothes, so women with bigger breasts should not have to pay more for larger bras.

"We've won, and we never thought it would happen so quickly," said Becky Mount, also a co-founder. "They didn't want a lot of big-breasted women storming their meeting."

British celebrity Ulrika Jonsson has been scathing of the £2 surcharge. She said: "This is nothing short of a tax on bigger breasts." Ulrika Jonsson had breast reduction surgery when after 4 kids her breasts ballooned to size 34I. The surgery decreased her breast size to 34C.

Having naturally large breasts is more of a curse for many women. They're uncomfortable, they become deformed and lumpy (and unsexy) and they make it difficult to purchase clothing that fits properly. There's also numerous health hazards, the least of which is chronic back pain.

Some women may revel in having large breasts, but its a double-edged sword.

"It's really awful, actually. I get terrible back pain," says one woman. "And I can never find a bra that fits, or doesn't look like a piece of building equipment or surgical dressing. Also, people just stare at them all the time. It's as if I'm not a person – I'm just a giant pair of boobs."

"People may joke about it, but bras are a sensitive subject," says Williams. "It just shows how much of an emotional issue having big boobs is for a lot of women."

See Also:
The History of the Bra
The History of the Corset & Brassiere
Open-Cup Bras
Sports Bras

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