The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Why Did the Patriarchy Make @JustineHarman Write About Her Boobs?

Posted on | June 5, 2014 | 69 Comments

The #fem2 hashtag is Twitter’s shorthand for feminism and, while surfing it last night, I came across a column by Justine Harman, an editor for the web site of Elle magazine:

Rihanna’s Boobs Make Me
Feel Better About My Body

OK, then. This is an issue feminists call “body image,” which isn’t really an issue so much as it is an excuse for women to write silly columns about their feelings. Justine Harman is super-silly:

So here’s the deal: I’m kind of known for my boobs. Though I’m 5’3″ (on a good day), my breasts are somewhere between a 34C and a 32D and naturally possess what a high school classmate once called “indomitable turgor pressure.” Translation: My cups, most definitely, runneth over. As a result, I spent all of high school and college wearing low cut halter tops with little or no support. And I beamed with pride whenever someone suggested my teeming décolletage was fake. “Touch them!” I’d demand of guys and girls alike. But as I’ve gotten older, Father Time hasn’t been so much cruel as he’s been fair to my cleavage.
At 29, I can no longer wear a flimsy tank without also wearing a granny bandeau. . . .

(Gravity is a weapon of the patriarchy!)

And though I’m learning to adjust to my slightly less-than-Jessica-Rabbit silhouette, it seems that the rest of the world would rather not. The ideal breasts — regardless of the natural, biological progression of the feminine form — are perfectly symmetrical, gravity defying, and Blake Lively-esque. . . .

(Whose “ideal” is this? Who is Blake Lively? Could Elle please post side-by-side comparison photos of Blake Lively’s “gravity defying” breasts and Justine Harman’s pendulous udders, so readers could vote on which we like better? I don’t know if that would strike a blow against patriarchy, but it would probably drive a lot of traffic.)

So, last week, when Scout Willis launched her topless protest against nipple censors and Monday night, when Rihanna proudly displayed her lovely, but very real, rack in that dazzling Adam Selman getup at the CFDAs, I breathed a sigh of relief. That’s right: Rihanna’s body makes me feel better about my own. . . .

(Y’know, I saw the Scout Willis topless thing on Twitter last week and had no comment other than to express a fear that John McClane might show up and kill me if I said anything rude. But my lame Die Hard joke didn’t get any laughs, so . . . Anyway, back to Rihanna’s boobs and Justine Harman’s “body image” issues.)

Whether or not we realize it, from a very young age girls are on the receiving end of some pretty mixed breast messaging. From corseted Disney princesses, to Christina Ricci binding her burgeoning bosoms in Now and Then, to Thora Birch bravely revealing her uneven pair in American Beauty, we’re told that boobs are simultaneously objects of adulation and humiliation. And due to my lack of understanding about how I should feel, I’m still not sure which of the following incidents was more scarring: the time I was busted for stuffing my bra in the eighth grade, or the time a guy I knew in college pulled down my tube top, under which I was most definitely not wearing a bra, after he lost a game of beer pong.
Both situations made me feel embarrassed for something I wasn’t fully aware of yet: my inherent need for approval from men. . . .

(ZOOM! Out of the sky, deus ex machina, the patriarchy makes its dramatic appearance. The problem is not that Justine Harman takes too seriously the “messages” she perceives in pop culture, neither is her problem the vapid emptiness of her soul, nor even are we permitted to ask why she was wearing a tube top while playing beer pong with guys in college. No, ultimately the problem is men, and Justine Harman’s need for male approval.)

At age 13, I wasn’t mad that a girlfriend had outed me for wearing toilet paper crescents in my bra but rather that I was a late bloomer. I was pissed that the guys in my class weren’t passing notes about my feminine assets. And instead of being livid that I was assaulted at a party, I was upset that my “friend” didn’t like me enough to respect me. It never occurred to me that maybe he just didn’t respect all women.

(You see how “the personal is political”? Justine Harman’s “late bloomer” insecurities were manifested as a tendency toward exhibitionistic display — “Look at me! Look at me!” — and, rather predictably, some guy reacted badly to her display. But feminism turns idiosyncrasies and aberrant behavior into politics, so that this becomes an issue of “respect [for] all women,” especially large-breasted college girls who wear tube tops to beer-pong parties.)

I had so actively campaigned for boobs — “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” may or may not have been a constant refrain of mine — it didn’t occur to me that they weren’t civil servants.
So when Rihanna, a woman who was very publicly the victim of domestic violence, displays her body with pride, it sends two messages: She refuses to equate being undressed with being vulnerable; she doesn’t give a shit what people think. Her nudity — as opposed to, say, Warrior Sports’ recent Instagram post of Playboy Playmate Jessica Ashley clutching a new hockey stick in ecstasy, her pert nipples just visible through her wife beater — has nothing to do with men. And she clearly doesn’t care that they don’t sit up as if suspended on a highwire or that her nipples aren’t the size of Tic Tacs. When Rihanna bares her perfectly womanly breasts, she’s doing it because Rihanna feels like it. And that makes me feel tremendous.

And that’s it. There’s your conclusion to nearly 700 words of Justine Harman’s empowering message: Why is it awesome for Rihanna to wear a see-through dress? “Her nudity . . . has nothing to do with men.” Along the way to this odd claim, Harman throws in the non sequitur of Rihanna’s status as a “victim of domestic violence” (she got beat up by Chris Brown), as if there were an obvious connection between that fact and Rihanna’s wardrobe choices.

Feminists oscillate between utter confusion and fanatical certainty, and this kind of Rorschach inkblot reaction — “Rihanna’s breasts are sending me messages!” — is further evidence that feminism is less a political movement than it is a psychiatric symptom.



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  • TheOtherAndrewB

    “A woman who was very publicly the victim of domestic violence” should be edited to read “a wealthy, famous woman who was very publicly the victim of domestic violence, then repeatedly, intentionally and willingly returned to her abuser, then wrote a song about how much she enjoys being sexually abused.” I think that is more accurate.

  • robertstacymccain

    Right: However much one sympathizes with the victims of Chris Brown, it’s difficult to draw any conclusion about their suffering more profound than: “Don’t date Chris Brown!”

  • Kirby McCain

    Dumbass Justine hanging with the beer pong crowd and Rihanna dating Chris Brown, I do see a connection. Promiscuous women hang with thugs and when they are mistreated they blame it on all men. Fascinating.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Did anyone mention Rule 5 over this? If not, let me raise the topic.

  • ThePaganTemple

    That’s because not all men make them feel how a good little trophy bitch is entitled to feel-like the personal property of an important thug, in other words.

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  • CrustyB

    So she had to trade her bra for a good belt and now she wants sympathy.

    Trivia: Thora Birch was underage when she did her nude scene in “American Beauty.” The director has to get her mother’s signed permission for the scene. Her mother was a porno actress who starred in “Deep Throat.”


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  • Dana

    Our esteemed host wrote:

    nor even are we permitted to ask why she was wearing a tube top while playing beer pong with guys in college.

    The answer is: because even the esteemed Mr McCain liked his girls braless and in boob tubes whilst playing quarter bounce at Jacksonville State University. We all loved girls braless and in boob tubes whilst playing quarter bounce at the University of Kentucky!

  • Quartermaster

    Gravity is a weapon of the patriarchy!

    I wonder if Newton sat up nights in his room at Cambridge thinking about this. If the Fembots knew enough of the world, they might blame him for it.

  • Quartermaster

    Women in college? We didn’t see such things at Tennessee Tech.

  • Dianna Deeley



  • Zohydro

    Why does Ariel the Mermaid wear seashells?

    …because the ‘B’ shells are too small and the ‘D’ shells are too large!


  • Dana

    First of all, my condolences for having to go to school in Tennessee; I’m certain that all of The Other McCain’s readership will extend sympathy to you.

    As for girls at UK, all that I can say is the Lord blessed Kentucky with the most beautifulest women in the world, even more than he did the Lone Star State. Even the hairy-legged hippie chicks were gorgeous!

  • Dana

    And that’s why we all appreciated Darryl Hannah in Splash.

  • pabarge

    Justine Harman? Did someone say Justine Harman?

    Umm, Justine? I’ve seen some sizable attributes. Those are not among they.

    On the other hand, if we were talking about Man Jaw, well then …

  • Dana

    Gorgeous, but still not as pretty as Kentucky girls!

  • M. Thompson

    “Patriarchy” is one of those things like ‘white privilege’ the left can rail against and effectively mean nothing when actively investigated.

  • Behind_You1

    I find it particularly amusing when I replace every instance of the word “Patriarchy” in a radfem’s screed with “The Jews”.

  • Quartermaster

    Not a bad looking woman, but she’s, I’d say a “B” or maybe a small “C”.

  • Quartermaster

    TTU was not a party school, it was mainly an Engineering School. When I started there in the early 80s, the Engineering School was half the enrollment. The hirelings that came after Derryberry retired as Prez in 1974 wanted to build the place up, so they increased the size of the Biz School and when I finally granulated in ’92 it was down to 25% of the enrollment. One of my classmates was married and his wife was hot, but not as hot as the girl I married.
    I did not meet my wife in Engineering School.
    I’m really very sorry you went to school in KY. We had some really hot chicks in TN, but they didn’t go to TTU, and for that we were grateful as we didn’t need the distraction of the Fembots.

  • M. Thompson

    Shh! It’s like talking about the War around Germans!

    Telling radicals their rhetoric is just a noun away from extremism.

  • Dianna Deeley

    I once heard an anthropology professor say, after a solid evening of good food and rather a lot of wine, that “Patriarchy” was invented by 19th Century armchair anthropologists, because they were so excited by the idea of a “Matriarchy.” Not just matrilineal societies, of which there are several extant and extinct examples, but Matriarchy.

    See: Marja Gimbutis for how this all plays out.

  • Dianna Deeley

    What a seriously awkward pose!

  • Guest


  • Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    See my special Rule 5 post link above!

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    pabarge, I addressed this discrepancy in a Rule 5 post linked above.

  • Dana

    Mr Master, what fun are college parties without girls?

  • Steve Skubinna

    Can you imagine how pampered you must be, how thoroughly smooth your life is, how excellently sheltered you have to be, to write at length about how much you like your boobs because some other woman showed hers off? And then to think you’ve struck some sort of blow for Justice?

    This isn’t even a First World problem. This is a problem for the One Percenters.

  • Steve Skubinna


    It’s a male thing. You wouldn’t understand.

  • Proof

    “Feminists oscillate between utter confusion and fanatical certainty”

    Nah. I rather think Feminists have a fanatical certainty about their utter confusion.

  • maniakmedic

    Is there any woman on here willing to explain to me the obsession so many girls have with having large breasts? I remember fervently hoping and praying I would not inherit my mother’s rack (and thank God I managed to avoid doing so). I remember some girls I played on the school basketball team with having to wear two sports bras to tame their unruly breasts while running up and down the court and couldn’t for the life of me understand why anybody would actually want to have to deal with that. Heck, I started realizing how freaking uncomfortable even little breasts are when it became painful to lay on my stomach following the onset of puberty.

    I can understand that guys would want to see girls with bigger sweater kittens (though for the life of me I don’t understand the reason at all) but I’ve never understood how girls could want to deal with such an uncomfortable anatomical part being made even more uncomfortable by size.

  • Dana

    Well, some of us think that the boobs ought to match the rest of the woman, and that skinny girls are just fine as a cup cuties!

  • Zohydro

    Any more than a handful is a waste…

  • Quartermaster

    Parties? What ever would you be talking about?