I don’t think it’s appropriate to show cleavage in a corporate office, and I’ve often been told that I’m cleavage-shy. In addition to industry norms (ie., advertising versus banking, etc.) and personal style, it turns out that our own personal feelings about the amount of cleavage to display is also tied to cultural norms.

Lola Wallinkoski, ex Miss Finland and Miss Universe second runnerup. Now a television personality, hostess of The  Biggest Loser. She has had a boob job but still opts to wear cleavage revealing clothes.
Lola Wallinkoski, ex Miss Finland and Miss Universe second runner up. Now a television personality and hostess of The Biggest Loser, she has had a boob job but still opts to wear cleavage covering clothes.

I picked this as my topic this week because in the past few weeks the magazine stands at my local stores have had busty women on the covers, but none were actually showing any cleavage. To me, this brilliantly showcases how in my culture, cleavage is so sexualized that women feel objectified easily if they opt to show it.

Janina Fry, ex bikini model and Miss Finland. Now a mother and a clothing line designer. "I've finally learned how to dress my curves with style."
Janina Fry, ex bikini model and Miss Finland, is now a mother, wife and a clothing line designer. She says, “I’ve finally learned how to dress my curves with style,” and talks about how very curvy women are easily objectified if they show skin.

The cleavage issue is complicated since us busty women are always told to wear v-necks to appear more balanced. While that is absolutely true, it causes a dilemma if the body type is such that with even a medium v-neck there will be cleavage on show. For this reason some women, like me, prefer to cover the cleavage. Even though this might enhance the bust area, we prefer that over showing any cleavage.

Satu Silvo, an actress, showing my favorite way of breaking the bust line - wearing a necklace.
Satu Silvo, an actress, showing my favorite way of breaking the bust line – wearing a necklace.

We are quite a busty nation in general, but this is the way busts are mostly dressed in Finland’s media. I suppose if we would grow up seeing well respected women on adverts and magazine covers in cleavage revealing clothes, we might also choose to dress our busts in a different way. However, even Susanna Penttil√ɬ§, ex Playboy model and now a boutique owner who often wears skimpy clothes, seldom reveals cleavage!

Ex playboy model who seldom wears cleavage revealing clothes these days.
Ex playboy model who seldom wears cleavage revealing clothes these days.

At a recent magazine cover shoot with her young rocker boyfriend, she was dressed rather modestly. I suppose this also might indicate that this is what women would rather see on women’s magazines here in Finland.

More modest look in a weekly womens magazine cover.
More modest look in a weekly women’s magazine cover.

And one final example, an ex fitness model and now a tv-host for a weight loss program.

Jutta
Jutta Gustafsberg, ex fitness model and now a tv-host for a weight loss program on national TV. She’s also had a boob job but the most she seems to reveal is whatever a modest cowl neck will show.

All these recent examples represent the major publications that are on every magazine stand aimed at women. Lads mags, on the other hand, are always tucked away at checkout. I’m sure there are more examples, but these were my wake up to one reason that I personally am cleavage shy and would never show cleavage in my office.