November 05, 1999 12:00pm
Tempest In a B-Cup
Source: Washington Post
by: Donna Britt
My son, 4, has a fun game he plays each morning called "Pushing Mommy Down." Standing shoeless on my bed, he sticks both arms straight out and dashes forward, stiff-arming me. He knows he can tackle me as hard as he likes except for one thing:
He mustn't shove Mommy's "apples."
You know, apples--the squishy, roundish things that big girls have on their chests. Smash them and Mommies stop laughing, just like Daddies when you accidentally kick them in the area my eldest, now 17, used to call his "grind."
Why my youngest chose "apples" to depict women's busts is a mystery--though as fruit descriptions go, I personally prefer it to, say, "grapes" or "watermelons."
The important thing is that he knows girls' apples are special.
So special, it turns out, they can get a girl suspended if she doesn't keep them in the cart.
You've probably heard how a dozen or so members of Ohio State University's women's rugby team commemorated their visit to the capital Saturday to play American University: whipping off their jerseys at the Lincoln Memorial and taking a topless photo for posterity--and for whichever classmates would pay to buy the fund-raising T-shirts on which the players planned to reproduce the image.
Have these girls not heard of a bake sale?
Actually, the rugby players might be reviewing their brownie recipes. Late Tuesday, university officials lifted the temporary suspension imposed on the team. But then the Midwest Rugby Union, the regional governing body for rugby clubs, banned the team from competition for the rest of the fall season.
I'm stunned. When Ohio State announced it was "investigating" the incident, I assumed an all-male committee would spend weeks poring over evidentiary photos before arriving at the conclusion my 17-year-old zoomed to immediately:
"I support these young ladies', and every young lady's, right to express herself in this manner," intoned Hamani, the patriot.
University officials are suggesting that bosom-flashing under Lincoln's stony gaze was "inappropriate" for representatives of an institution of higher learning. The flashers themselves admit they made a mistake, though they earlier told reporters that nakedness is a rugby thing--news that should instantly boost the sport's profile.
Now if this all sounds like a tempest in a B-cup, it is. Banning an entire team is excessive, considering that more than half of the 37 team members didn't strip and that a panoply of sports-related madness at U.S. colleges goes unpunished.
But anyone who suggests, as one rugby-stripper did Saturday, "if guys can do it, then girls should be able to do it, too," should be whipped with a Wonderbra.
Even toddlers know that girls' apples provoke more aggressive responses than men's. Sure, women in certain "primitive" cultures embrace public toplessness. But males in such societies generally don't leer at or fondle unwilling women, or purchase intellect-free magazines like Maxim or "meals" at Hooters in order to ogle women's scantily covered breasts.
What lunacy could real, live naked breasts provoke?
Frankly, I'm no more amused by the girls' antics than I would be by male players baring their grinds. The Lincoln Memorial's physical grandeur is matched only by the eloquence of the words etched upon it--words that, if the athletes had read them, might have inspired more respect. But hey, the team stripped there only because "we couldn't find any parking" at the Capitol.
And you thought "dumb jock" was male-specific?
Maybe I'd be more amused if Hamani's imminent high school graduation hadn't made me sickeningly aware of the astronomical cost of a college education. At Ohio State, parents of in-state students pay $12,901 per year, a queenly sum that earns them the old-fashioned right to remind their little princesses that ladies keep their tops on in public.
Yeah, yeah, I know. The girls who flashed their stuff before crowds of schoolchildren, senior citizens and tourists at the memorial are athletes, not ladies. But once upon a time, athletes had their own stringent code of conduct, and women didn't do everything men did simply because they could.
To be fair, the rugby players are young, exuberant and thoughtless as only young people can be. "Girl power!" trilled one observer after the stunt.
"I wasn't worried [about stripping]," a player commented. It's legal."
So is dousing yourself with a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's and leaping onto an ant pile. But why do it?
For the oldest reason around. Selling T-shirts, one player theorized before the suspension, will "get us some money. We need some money for our [team]."
Well, stay tuned, girlfriend. When Playboy calls--trust me, it will--you'll be in a position to get enough cash to pay part of the tuition your parents could cut off.
And you can support the only kind of "girl power" that requires exposing your breasts.