Curvy Kate Star In a Bra- Why I Can’t Enter & You May Not Be Able To Either

*Disclaimer! This post was very difficult for me to write, for many reasons. It is hard to write a post with moderate emotions when you feel targeted, disrespected, and judged. This post will probably anger some people as well. I can understand that. I am enforcing a strict no snark rule for the comments! I reserve the right to remove or not post any comment left on this post!

Tis the season of SIAB. The full bust social media circles are abuzz with all things SIAB. There are just a few days left, so if you are going to enter you may want to hurry up! I love the concept. It is a great thing to see, a brand with their customers as models. These women are women that would not normally be a model, but here they are, representing a brand they love and chosen by the brand’s customers.

Curvy Kate’s media blitz states “We want your curves!” And they do, kind of. Women of any body shape or size are encouraged to submit their photos. But many women run into a problem, size or fit. One of last years top ladies was Brittany from Thin and Curvy, who is sized out of the brand by needing a smaller bandsize. I have read countless times from women how they would love to enter, but CK doesn’t fit them well or doesn’t make their bra or panty size. SIAB is for D+ women, but sub 28 bands, women above a K cup, or women who need panties over a size 22 feel like they should not enter because of their size. I have not seen anything but encouragement from the company for women who fall into these categories, so I hope that these women will consider joining.

But there is one group of D+ women who are left out, those who have had breast surgery. Because my breast surgery is breast implants, I asked about it on twitter. Last year there was a huge issue on the CK Facebook page, culminating in insult and judgement against women with implants. I wanted to know ahead of time if the rules had been changed. They hadn’t.

Twitter
Last year it was unclear if it was just women with breast implants or if it was any breast surgery. The SIAB contest rules use the word “enhancements.” Really, CK means any breast surgery. Including reductions, lifts, lump removal, reconstruction, and breast implants. This one rule prevents an incredibly large number of women from entering. From the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s 2012 Plastic Surgery Procedural Statistics, last year alone 286,274 women had a breast augmentation (up 35% from 2000), 89,067 women had a breast lift (up 69% from 2000), 42,022 women had a cosmetic breast reduction (trend statistic unavailable), 68, 416 women had reconstructive breast reduction, & 91,655 women had breast reconstruction.  Lump removal is not a plastic surgery statistic, so that data is not included. So not including women who have had a surgery to remove a lump in their breast, that is 559,433 women from ONE YEAR that would not be eligible to enter in SIAB (assuming they wore a D cup bra). OVER HALF A MILLION WOMEN!!! And that is just the US numbers, not Canada which is also included in the North American SIAB.

Really, how will they know? What gives them the right to know my private medical information? Does HIPPA apply here? (It doesn’t.) There is actually no legal precedent in place that protects a woman’s right to not disclose this information as part of the contest. Then the next question would be if they have the right to exclude so many women based on this information. Again, no legal precedent. Please note, I do not have a legal background. If someone who does can provide more information I’d love to include it.

And this from a post on their Facebook page, “Cosmetically altered breasts were considered an unfair advantage by our fans and customers as they may show the fit of our bras differently. It may also be an unfair advantage to other women you would come up against in the competition.” I was a CK customer and do not recall ever seeing anything asking what I thought about this. Maybe the before the original SIAB in the UK, but the US and North America is a highly different market. This makes me wonder how much (if any) research was done on the US and North American markets.

So the rules are in place to show how their bras fit and support the natural bust? Do they not realize that breast implants need support too? Or that there are women who have a significant amount of breast tissue over their implant, so no one would ever know that they have implants? There are women with gorgeous augmented breasts that have no one in their lives that know they have implants, and no one would ever guess. The Showgirl line is actually ideal for women who have a wider breast base, usually a moderate or moderate plus implant. Their regular line is ideal for a more narrow breast base, usually a high profile implant. Because they have attractive designs and colors women with breast implants are very attracted to this brand. Why? Because these women have worked hard to feel comfortable in their skin again, they want beautiful lingerie to reflect that.  And I’m not even going into women who have had a reconstruction. I don’t feel qualified to discuss anything about reductions are lump removal, but I am sure there is a similar feeling about wanting to feel beautiful too.

Continuing from the linked post, “You have raised an interesting point, one of which we are torn by as it is really difficult for us to know where to draw the line regarding surgery, as there are so many different cases. Each competition we hope to find a solution but, unfortunately, we have found no way around this rule to date and so have to have one rule across the board xxx”
So far nothing has changed from previous competitions. Still waiting for the support of diversity here. I’d actually love to know what has been considered for a solution.
Facebook
And the image above. A great way to show the stereotype women with implants are up against. The original commenter was unfairly judged by the second woman, someone she doesn’t even know. The comment was never addressed by the page, but I’m sure that the commenter will find that this negative attitude will reflect her chances of being considered. Comments like these are part of why this blog exists.

While we are on the subject, I’d like to suggest an edit to the about section of their Facebook page. It says, “We continue to champion curves through our annual Star in a Bra modeling competition, which searches for the new Face and body of the brand. The competition celebrates healthy curves, diversity and is open to anyone who can wear our bras.”
I suggest the following, changes in bold, which I feel would be a more accurate description of SIAB.
“We continue to champion curves through our annual Star in a Bra modeling competition, which searches for the new Face and body of the brand. The competition celebrates natural curves, (remove word diversity) and is open to any woman who can wear our bras.”

*Special thanks goes to another blogger who helped me do some legal research on this subject. She knows who she is. 🙂

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14 Comments

  1. As someone whose perception of implants has been impacted by this blog, I’m glad that you speak up on the subject. (And I think you would make a great contestant).

  2. Laura (DT)

    Great post! I’m really glad you felt comfortable enough to speak up about it. I know it had to have been difficult to write, but you made your points eloquently and beautifully. Bravo!

  3. Ironically, the last part is what hit me most: any *woman* who can wear the bra.

    What would they do if a transwoman decided to enter? Are breasts that are not “natural” because they were grown through hormonal treatments good enough? In other words, is it only surgery that is going to ruin it for them?
    Anyway….
    This is a social contest. People vote. So why can’t they allow all women in and let the public choose? That way, the loss wouldn’t be through asinine rules but rather popular vote. It would be the same reason that any non-wasp-shaped woman or any very heavy women probably wouldn’t win – voting is a hard contest to win. We have set versions of beauty and the woman who looks the most traditionally beautiful will win, no matter what their contest says. (And yes, I know this makes me sound cynical.)
    I will never enter this contest because I know the vote would go against me because I am so heavily tattooed. They don’t have non-fetish lingerie modeling for tattooed women. It doesn’t bother me so much since I knew that the “normal” public wouldn’t handle me looking the way I do when I got them. But implants aren’t something most women would be able to see, or would even be against. So implying that an augmented woman wouldn’t make a good model for their brand is just plain stupid.

  4. Contestants enter with photos and an essay, where the entries are whittled down according to these rules: Then all Entries will initially be judged by a panel of judges from the Curvy Kate editorial team (“Judges”) based on the following criteria; (1) appropriateness to the identity of the brand, (2) entrant’s suitability for trade and advertising purposes, (3) entrant’s natural beauty; (4) likely fit in Curvy Kate lingerie (5) originality of Essay (“Judging Criteria”).

    Seems to me there’s plenty of room to determine why an entrant had breast “enhancement” and to determine if she “looks natural”.

    It seems to me CK is trading one bias (enhanced boobs are more attractive) for another (enhanced boobs are “unnatural”).

  5. Amanda

    Yup, I’m one of the rioters on Facebook. No shame in that. I’m also the one who went to email, then was blatantly ignored – and still has been. One PR person alone has been halfway decent to me, the rest of the team has been horrible. Yup, hello, big freaking reduction here because I was sized out of bras. Flat out. 32S or 30V is the best guess.

    They use two reasons for discrimination. Post surgical breasts are an unfair advantage, so thus they would look very nice, normal, and fit the bra and the bra is showcased well. But, wait. The other reason is that post surgical breasts don’t fit their bras right. Erm, that’d be a disadvantage. Their beloved reasons negate each other.

    Natural breasts is also insulting to post surgical without implants. It implies that my boobs are not natural. Well, then what the heck are these things filling my bra?

    Corrected statement in my current extreme dislike of Curvy Kate

    “We continue to champion SOME curves through our annual Star in a Bra modeling competition, which searches for the new Face and body of the brand. The competition celebrates SELECT curves, and is open to some females between 18-28 who hasn’t had any breast surgery or health scares.”

    • I was a Facebook rioter lasted year, but in the US page. It’s gone now or is link it. I had done extremely nasty things said to me by Facebook fans, but also mean things from other bloggers championing the brand’s reasoning. Which is fine, everyone is open to their own opinions. But after the backlash from that I was very nervous about this post.
      I never had an offer to contact anyone from the brand. My optimistic side wants to see that as a small sign of hope.
      I want to do more to push for change, but as of now I’m at a loss for what and how. Solid numbers from the ASPS is all I can give right now, but to me those numbers should say something.

      • Amanda

        Oh, I’ve gotten nasty comments from others. Yeah, so? I’m a *political party member* who is loud and proud of it (if you look on FB, you’ll see my image to give it away) in a state that is all but opposite. I’m used to it. I’ll give it right back. Honestly, the big cup bra blogs are full of snark on reductions. My opinion on breast surgery is if it’s not on my boobs, I don’t really care why you did whatever as long as it makes you happy. Please give me the same respect. I’m happy with my boobs, you are happy with yours, we are good. You being the general you, not you in particular.

        I didn’t see the email as a sign of improvement, vs just wanting to shut me up in public. Seeing as I didn’t get ANY response until I pointed out in public that hey, I did as you asked and NOTHING….. Even then, yay, I got FB quoted to me.

        I’m Professor Ace on bratabase. Contact me there, I’ll let you know the good PR person’s e-mail. She’s been really decent to write to. The actual numbers might help, plus she was willing to take my pictures to the board to point out the issues. Because I look normal in the bras – ok, the one today, I’m a little erm “fluffy” because it’s a cup size small – but there’s no advantage, I look like about any other woman in a well fitted big cup bra, so there’s also no disadvantage either.

        But I will say, hrmph, I really like your breasts, they look amazing!

  6. *applauds* I am so glad you addressed this issue on your blog because there are so many women out there who love Curvy Kate’s designs but who also have had breast surgery. To say that augmented/surgically altered breasts won’t showcase the product is ridiculous. Those women need bras which fit too and given that Curvy Kate uses a range of models (instead of just one) I think they are missing an opportunity to embrace diversity and showcase the bras on all breasts. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention!

  7. There are many “augmented” women out there who probably need these bras! I helped one of my sister’s old friends with fit issues after her implant surgery. Women are often told they are getting a “D” cup and don’t know the difference between the implant size and bra sizes. My sister’s friend only went from an A to around a C, but even she had issues finding a good bra.

    I used to sometimes consider entering, but definitely won’t now. Not until you can enter with me.

  8. Meri

    😦 I’ve seen a couple of references to this, but this and the subsequent post are the first I’ve seen that really spelled it out. Not pleased with how Curvy Kate is handling it and I won’t be spending my money there unless they change their minds.

    • Meri

      …and they took down my post on their FB page within 10 seconds of my posting it. Nice.

  9. Yeah, they’ve removed all but one or two of mine I’ve posted since the blog post here and my blog started. Um, sure. You support all breasts alright.

  10. Well done Chrystal for writing this – I cannot believe a brand would remove a customers comments. The first rule of social media – don’t remove the negative comments, respond and resolve and show people that you respect your customers enough to handle their complaints, comments and queries in a dignified manner, and that their opinion counts!

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