Vogue magazine has been shepherding women down fashion’s precarious path for the last century.
And, while it’s haute couture, lavish photo shoots or extreme trends may be unobtainable, its latest manifesto is free for everyone. Yes, Vogue has declared the ostentatious flashing of cleavage (here illustrated by celebrity décolletage) is over.
It reads, “The cleavage – those magnificent mounds pushed together to display sexual empowerment, to seduce, to inspire lust or even just to show off – is over, or at least, taking a well-earned break. The t*** will not be out for the lads. Or for anyone else, for that matter.”
But the stance is not without its knockers. "Stuff like this makes more well-endowed ladies feel like we're not demure or beautiful and just love getting our racks out," says social media commentator Sophie Hall.
Vogue suggest flashing your back, like Jennifer Lawrence (pictured), is now more on trend than your décolletage. The article took aim at celebrities who post endless photos of their own cleavages on Instagram now that the social media site is a scroll-fest of influential boobs.
Stylist Elizabeth Saltzman thinks that the obsession with posting such images has got somewhat out of hand, describing it as “creepy”. She tells Vogue that while studying one high profile Instagram user’s pictures she noticed a theme: “On those occasions where her cleavage is more visible, I see what happens on her Instagram feeds afterwards, and out of about 100,000 comments, 90,000 will be about her boobs. That’s not healthy, that’s creepy.”
Miley Cyrus posted a photograph of her cleavage last year with a caption asking if it would get her more followers. Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski all routinely post similar pictures. For many of these famous women, however, their bodies are part of their brands. They work hard at them, they want to show them off. And, whether you like it or not, sex sells.
It’s a depressing thought but, as Cyrus questioned, would they have as many followers if they didn’t post flesh-baring photos? After witnessing the rise of the “Insta – famous” we know that followers equal fame. Money, in the form of sponsorship deals, follows soon after.
Regardless of the reason for those posts, Vogue does not have the right to tell celebrities – or you – whether a top which shows your cleavage is acceptable or not. But while it may seem that way, I highly doubt Vogue are telling women they should wear high neck tops from now on. There’s also no way the pages of the magazine won’t have flashes of cleavage as of today. What I do hope is that it serves more of a call for the end of the search for the shock factor: who can show the most.
Unlike the iconic Eva Herzigova Wonderbra advert of the nineties (bearing the words “Hello boys”) which was so exciting that traffic accidents were reported within the proximity of the billboards, Kim Kardashian placing thin black strips over her nipples on an otherwise totally naked photo is now neither new nor particularly shocking now. It’s just another grasp for more attention and more ‘likes’.
So what now? Well Vogue suggests rather than cleavage, we show our backs, shoulders, stomachs or legs instead. In short show what you want so long as it’s not to gain Instagram followers!