Breast and Chest Size: Ideals and Stereotypes Through the 1990s
- Cite this article as:
- Tantleff-Dunn, S. Sex Roles (2001) 45: 231. doi:10.1023/A:1013505928458
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This study investigated differences in ideals and stereotypes associated with breast and chest size through the 1990s. Five cohorts of primarily Caucasian participants between 1990 and 1998 completed the Breast/Chest Rating Scale that consists of figures of men and women of varying upper torso sizes and a series of questions related to ideal size, perceptions of others' ideals, and characteristics associated with different sizes. Although the breast size women perceive as preferred by others has increased, the ideal breast size has remained stable for men and women. Men's ideal breast size was consistently larger than the breast size women prefer, and men also preferred a significantly larger chest size. Despite an increasing cultural emphasis on large chest size, there was a significant decrease in the chest size preferred by women across cohort groups. The chest size men think women prefer, however, has increased. Although there was little evidence of changes in stereotypes associated with chest size, the breast size associated with a variety of positive characteristics was significantly larger in 1998 than in 1992. These results are discussed in relation to body image and social implications.