One problem large-busted women learn early on is that inherently, by the nature of our bodies, we are viewed as somehow less “appropriate” in a tank top or lower-cut shirt than women with smaller busts. Where this concept of “respectability” based on something most of us have no control over derives from has been a mystery to me for my whole life—as has the notion that our genetics render us somehow “sluttier”—though I suspect it has at least some roots in the juvenile Trans Am gaze of 1980s skin flicks, which seemed to contribute to the rise of large-breasted women as sex objects. But the fact that it hasn’t seem to have changed in this era of body positivity is perplexing.

Case in point: over the weekend, an Ottawa woman by the name of Jenna Vecchio was working out at her gym when an employee approached her and informed her that her tank top was “inappropriate dress” and that it was “offensive to both the staff and other members.” Her Facebook post about the incident, via the New York Daily News, reads:

I will start by saying my tank top was no different than many other women’s tank top at the club; except my chest size is much larger in appearance in comparison to my frame than many of the other women. After asking every woman at the club who I could find on the way out if my attire offended them and they responded no, it became clear that the only ones offended were the two women supervisors working at the club today. I pointed out to them that my shirt was no different than any other woman’s shirt. They informed me that it did not matter that due to my chest size I could not wear a tank top. I felt humiliated and discriminated against due to my figure. I was singled out and it is unfair to say I cannot wear a tank top and other women can! Different figures means different rules?

Vecchio includes front and profile photographs of herself in the tank top; it fully covers her in the way any other workout tank would. Other than the idea that those of us on the larger bust size often have an issue with our boobs flopping around when we’re on the treadmill—more the fault of bad athletic bra makers than any of our own—and perhaps that the club’s employees were startled, the only true explanation for telling Vecchio to cover up is that they could not account for their own flawed gaze.

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The Ottawa gym, Movati, is a private club, writes Vecchio, and she says the employees told her they have the right to create their own rules. Of course this is true, but when those rules are discriminatory purely based on body type—no matter what body type—we also have the right to boycott them.


Image via Getty