Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the category “Discoveries”

Breast Reduction

Many months ago, a reader contacted me through email. She’s a fantastic woman and we’ve talked about a variety of things, but one thing that I wanted to bring to more peoples’ attention (with her permission) was her successful breast reduction! So, first of all, congratulations to fettucine_alfredo to taking that amazing step! I told her that it was braver than anything I’ve ever done but the woman is not taking her due credit so please back me up here!

She didn’t stop at the surgery, though. She decided to create a resource for others making the same decision (especially for large busts on a small frame, as there’s not much information for that surgery on that body type now) and wrote a review about her experience. Read it here:   (It’s NSFW, btw; you probably don’t want to click on that in the library)

The review covers a bit of her personal history, her decision process, a little bit about insurance, and then the surgery itself and updates of her condition at various points afterwards.

If you are considering the surgery, have a friend or family member thinking about it, are curious about the process, or if you’re even just looking for something good to read, I highly recommend it.

Life Changes

I’m very, very, terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. And while I’m at it, for very possible future droppings off the face of the earth. The past few months and the upcoming two, maybe three, maybe four months have been and will be packed with excitement in my personal life. I’m gearing up for some major changes and as such CurvyHK kind of got lost in the crowd.

Major changes, you say?

The angst-ridden post lamenting interview troubles was written regarding a position to work overseas. Unfortunately, my performance did not land me the job. However, I had the chance to interview for another position, in a different country.

People… I’m moving to Korea!!

I can’t wait. I’m trying so hard to not abuse emotionally-charged punctuation here, which I think is working, but if it dampens your perception of my excitement, let it now be known that I AM SO EXCITED.

I’ve immersed myself in both Korean popular and traditional culture for so long, I’ve studied and cried and laughed and suffered and celebrated in the Korean language, and I’ve worked (somewhat) hard to qualify myself to do the work I’ll be doing there. I know there’ll be unexpected issues, and I’ll know I’ll run into plenty of problems, but at this moment I feel like this step is one I’ve been ready and hovering to take for a long, long time.

What does that mean for CurvyHK?

To be honest, I think this will be a positive change. I’ll be busy with my first non-summer full-time job, which means I will have less time to spend here. However, I’ll be an outsider looking into Korean society, which means lots of social commentary and cultural comparisons.

I guess there’s another big topic I’ll begin to attack, which is work-appropriate attire. This is a pretty essential concept that lots of other bloggers have written about. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I plan to learn more (so keep them coming, my friends!). I’ll try to address, specifically, how I’ll need to stay conscious of the more uber-conservative work culture of Korea (or larger East Asia), but I might also work up the courage to start taking pictures of myself for this blog.

I do have a backlog of posts to get out, including those sock posts I promised oh so long ago!

But to give this post just a bit more content, give this a little thought:

Japan is notorious for popping out the occasional unconventional vending machines. The latest to hit the Internet is a bra vending machine. What think you?

(I think it’s a cute gimmick, but probably not at all useful or popular.)

Discovery: Dispute over Faith of Mirror’s Edge

The recent E3 (a videogame expo) released some information about a sequel to the awesome PS3/Xbox first-person action/adventure game called Mirror’s Edge…which, unfortunately, I only just learned about and have never played. Mirror’s Edge and its sequel feature a strong female protagonist called Faith. And she’s Asian.

Mirror's Edge

For a great explanation of the premise of the original game, here’s an official trailer:

Awesome, right? So here we learn that she’s not only fiercely kick-ass but also passionate.

Here’s a different trailer that demonstrates more gameplay:

I totally wish I could do that.

And now, because there aren’t enough videos embedded in this post already, here’s the new trailer for new Mirror’s Edge game, which dives into Faith’s origin story:

My mind is blown. I have to live this game. Now. Too bad I will never own its console. Maybe one of my friends will get really rich and blow their money on one of those overpriced boxes so that I can go over and camp out.

So, what’s the dispute? Apparently, fans of the game are complaining that Faith is ugly. And apparently, these people are Asian.

What, then, would a Faith that meets their standard of beauty look like?

Behold:A new Faith.The Korean fan artist made three changes. He enlarged the eyes, he puffed out and lightened the face and he enlarged the breasts.

Before I address the meaning of these changes, let me say this: I think that the original Faith is kind of drop-dead gorgeous. The gamemakers didn’t mean to make her stunning but I think she’s really beautiful. (Here‘s a fun interview with Owen O’Brien, the senior producer for Mirror’s Edge. He cites Joss Whedon’s strong female characters as a base camp for where Faith’s strengths originate, and Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity-verse as inspiration for the dystopian setting of Mirror’s Edge. Go. Read.) By the way: I love her eye makeup, and that is a sweet tattoo. And I just realized that the fan artist took the face tattoo away. WHY?! It’s pure unadulterated fierce!

Enlarging the eyes: “Asian small eyes” are a pretty hot issue, and surgery to make eyes bigger or to create eyelid folds is the most popular type of cosmetic operations in Asia. There’s a huge mindset that the typical eyes of a person from Asia are very small, and that very big, wide eyes are more beautiful. (Articles from CNN and a California high school magazine, about this particular phenomenon.) What about big eyes is beautiful, though? One argument might be rarity; if a society is populated by smaller eyes, the sheer novelty of bigger eyes may be attractive. Another is that bigger eyes may evoke the sense of a younger face. I personally think that this “younger face” ideal may be a big factor in at least South Korea, where they have completely elevated the ideal of 동안/베이비 페이스 “baby face” (Although, seriously, wouldn’t you be completely creeped out by a body with a face that resembles a baby just a little too much?). It’s also a huge advantage to look young in China and Japan.

Rounding and lightening the face: Rounding seems like a counterintuitive change to make, but then you see that original Faith is pretty gaunt. Light skin has been a sign of status in many cultures for a long, long time, indicating that a person is of a high enough status to not toil in the sun all day. It’s also a typical modern beauty ideal in Asian countries including South Korea and China. The effect? A healthy, bright, and probably well-fed individual.

Now, what do these bigger eyes and bright, round face do to the character of Faith? I definitely see the sense of youth creeping in. The fan artist did a good job of keeping the expression on her face, so she still looks fierce, but the girl on the left (original Faith) definitely has a stronger fire to her. Based on appearance alone, fan Faith looks not quite hardened enough and definitely does not have the look of a tough woman who grew up traversing the roofs of a dystopia. These two changes are enough to break her character. If I were a client requiring the services of a Runner for couriering sensitive information across a dystopian city and could only judge by outer appearance, I’d feel more comfortable hiring original Faith.

(Tom Farrer, Mirror’s Edge producer, also thinks that the fan Faith looks like a twelve-year-old girl with a boob job.)

But the breasts, the breasts! For one, I doubt that a simple black tank is going to encapsulate her breast shape like that. As I have no background in the actual artistry of rendering larger breasts, I will leave any evaluation of how realistic or unrealistic it is to those experts.

However, as a person, I can confidently say that if you’re jumping and flipping and ducking and squeezing around obstacles, a smaller bust is definitely going to be more valuable than a larger one, to the extent that even a smaller bust may turn out even better if compressed. Large breasts honestly get in the way even if they’re properly contained and restrained, and are you seriously expecting this petite woman to find a well-fitting action bra where she lives? I THINK NOT. For the woman’s own comfort, and for the type of work she does, I think Faith herself would prefer her original-sized breasts. If she cared.

Since she’s busy saving her sister, she might not.

Discovery: Yes and No

A fantastic read here about the role of consent:

How many times have we tried to teach each other things like “say no if you’re uncomfortable”, “understand and respect your partner’s limits and feelings”, “no means no”, and so on? We keep reminding each other to pay attention to negative signs. And all of this is really good, and really essential, but…

Why aren’t we encouraging each other to ask for positive signs? It is the age of communication, of information, after all.

This is a great piece of writing. Please share it if you find it as nod-worthy as I do!

Discovery: Emergency Compliment

Just a cute site to help pick you up on those days that you need an extra smile!

Bright colors, adorable compliments generated by a computer, and the knowledge that you have the sense to actively try to make yourself feel better; the website is simple but delivers what it needs to.

Visit it at!

Discovery: Japanese Culture on Men in Lingerie Stores

I came across this really fun video on Youtube about Japanese social norms regarding lingerie shopping. Take a look!

This video is from a channel geared towards Japanese language and culture learners, and my favorite videos are when Tomoko and Victor work together to analyze and teach Japanese culture and news. The topic for the video above, if you haven’t watched it, is an incident that Tomoko saw while she was shopping with her daughter for lingerie.

What basically happened was, there was a guy/girl couple shopping together, and a woman shopping alone. The single woman was really uncomfortable shopping with the guy around, so she complained to the clerk. She was complaining really loudly, so the guy overheard and got angry too, and the two of them started to argue. The clerk had to call security on them. The guard came in and Tazed everyone.

A few takeaways and comparisons:

How men avoid lingerie stores completely: It makes complete sense for men to be uncomfortable around women’s undergarments in public, and all the men I see hanging around Victoria’s Secrets and lingerie departments of larger stores do look extremely uncomfortable and even slightly panicky, but hell, so was I until a few years ago. The fact that they’re there is not uncommon, though, and I can’t really find a sense that it’s culturally taboo for them to be around.

The sense that the woman’s looking like an “upstanding citizen” and the fact that she brought up a complaint and started arguing are contrasting: This is more a social/cultural issue, I think. “A women looks like a nice person, but she’s speaking up about being uncomfortable.” Would this sentence still be using a “but” conjunction in other places? (Also, HAHA at the “women don’t usually get that angry”.)

Cute but really inconvenient that the Japanese rendition of lingerie (ranjerii, /rɑndʒɜri:/) is so similar to laundry (in English, approximately /rɑndʒri:/).

What do you think of the video?

Discovery: Underwires and TSA

I have to say that I’ve never been stopped for my underwires at airport security. I’ve been stopped for other reasons: “Your library of books is too dense to show up on the X-ray”, “We can’t see through the metal box holding… oh, these are pencils”, etc. I’m also insanely paranoid about getting through the machine that you walk through; I hold my breath and creep over, every time! It’s illogical because I take everything off and shouldn’t set it off but I feel like half a criminal anyway.

Anyway, I’ve heard a few stories about underwires setting off these TSA machines at airports, while plenty of other women (including me) have never had this happen.

I FOUND THE REASON *cue rising chorus of aahhHH*

According to an airport screening officer who did an AMAA (Ask Me Almost Anything) thread on Reddit, the machine detects the total amount of metal on your body, not specific pieces of/or specific densities. So if you’re wearing jewelry, have dense underwires and maybe metal somewhere else on your person, you might set the machine off even while the next person wearing the same underwires doesn’t set it off. The machine has some unannounced allowance for the amount of metal going through, and any higher amount will ring. Also, light metals will go through more easily / contributes less to this allowance.

The new machines are all-over scanners, I think.

Also, a bit about TSA and public opinion:

I like the TSA. Yes I get anxious going through security (personal problem), and yes some rules seem arbitrary (they’re there though and they’re clearly labeled throughout the airport), and yes it can take forever (get there earlier), and yes there are sometimes very grumpy security officers (there are grumpy people in general, in all occupations), and yes I’ve heard people legitimately questioning their effectiveness/usefulness (I also question the usefulness of various school administrators but we can’t throw them all out can we), BUT as an extra procedure, it really doesn’t hurt anyone. The officers I’ve met for longer than a minute have always been friendly and helpful. I remember a lady TSA officer who had to search my bag after the X-ray, and I had a massload of pads because I was on my period then. She was a classy lady, that one. She searched my stuff good and thoroughly but rummaged through my pads without taking them out and embarrassing the crap out of me in front of my dad and other airport people, which I’d totally been expecting.

I really don’t think they deserve this really poor public opinion. It makes me sad 😦

Standing all day, looking at and through people’s stuff, herding person after person through the same spots, some cooperative and some uncooperative, and explaining and repeating information that is widely broadcast and clearly posted… this is not an easy job. Please don’t give airport staff any unnecessary grief and do give in to your urge to make everyone’s day at work go smoothly and happily!

Discovery: Miss I-Cup / I 컵 녀 / I 컵 여자

This is a bit different, but it’s the kind of angle that I want most for CurvyHK explore: what is an East Asian population’s reaction to a discussion of breasts and bras? I’m really excited to write and share this post!

Miss I-Cup, or I-Cup Girl, is a South Korean teenage girl who was featured on television because of her larger-than-average bust.

This post is going to be of the novel-length variety, so I’m going to learn how to use the cut feature. This is what you’ll find when you click in:

  • Links to the broadcasts featuring Miss I-Cup.
  • My summary/translation of the videos.
  • My opinion of the videos / the program.
  • How is this story and the way it was presented reflective of East Asian culture?
  • How do the individuals in these videos and reports compare to what we find/dicuss in the bra-blogging community?
  • My invitation for your feedback!

Read more…

Discoveries | Discovery: Blog Post and reddit’s A Bra That Fits

A new post category: yippee! Discovery posts are worthy reads on the Internet (or, less likely, elsewhere). I have the fantastic fortune of having met the most intelligent and dorky friends in the world, so my Facebook is really full of great articles and funny videos. They won’t often have an obvious link to lingerie, lady-ness-ing, or Asian American identity crises but I’ll try to keep them relevant or write some response that ties it to elseness on CurvyHK. No promises though! 🙂

Other times, they will be completely within the topic that CurvyHK normally covers and, likely, are already well-circulated or well-known in the bra-blogging community, but I want to give them another mention and bookmark it on my own space anyway! The first two discoveries fall into this category. Woot!

The first discovery is of a post on A Sophisticated Pair. What makes this special and extra strong is that it’s the father’s (Jason) perspective on the transformation that his daughter (Erica), the blog owner, went through.

Here is the link:

He serves as a fantastic example of how guys can be completely (and less awkwardly) supportive of the women in their lives. The experiences he shares make it so clear that he loves and cares for his children so very, very much. He’s funny, and honest, too. The gem of information is his explanation about what it means for guys to be clueless, and his advice to those guys on how to be less clueless. Props! (I want to add a ‘dude’ but can’t decide if it works.)

The second discovery is of a big and supportive bra-fitting community on,! I came across it when Boosaurus introduced my blog to someone who needed an Asian perspective on bra horror. I knew that some people spend their lives on reddit, but I had never really paid attention to it. I explored the ABraThatFits subreddit and two that were linked on a sidebar: BodyAcceptance, BigBoobProblems. And then I found out Joss Whedon had visited reddit and spent the next hour reading the threads he’d commented.

Er, back on track: These subreddits are carefully monitored and the moderators do an excellent job of maintaining positive and welcoming communities. Posters ask zillions of questions, zillions of sincere people give their input, and they follow up and are nice about it and everyone commiserates and it’s a cool place to hang out and for the first time in my life I’m not sure how to keep this run-on going longer. Darn. I’m losing my touch.

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