We Need To Talk About How Bra Sizes Work
As any number of women’s magazines will tell you, 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. That’s probably because bra shopping is hell on earth and basically impossible unless you invite a total stranger into the fitting room to help measure you properly, but it might also be a result of our society’s complete misunderstanding of what bra sizes even are. If the video game discourse is any indication, most people seem to think bra sizes stop at DD and that anything smaller than “huge badonkers” is in the A-to-B range.
I’m talking, of course, about Tifa Lockhart, who has been accused of having B-cup breasts–as her character model in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake looks different from her extra-busty appearance in the PS1 era–as well as the entire female cast of Mortal Kombat 11, for that matter. Now, these are fictional women who have top-of-the-line physics engines supporting them, so it’s not like they really need the extra support from an $80 Lululemon sports bra. But if we’re going to use bra sizes as shorthand to talk about fake women’s bodies, we’re going to do it right, goddammit.
Lucky for you, I know a thing or two about this. Bra sizes have two main components: the cup size and the band size. The cup size is denoted by letters, like B or DD, and refers to the actual breast part of the bra. The band size is a number based on the size of the person’s ribcage area (right under the actual breasts), and it’s secretly the more important size.
While most people tend to focus on the cup letter, it’s band size that determines cup size. So if you have two people whose actual breasts are exactly the same size, but whose band sizes are different, they’ll wear different cup sizes. A 36DD, for example, is the same as a 34DDD–those two people have the same size breasts, but one has a smaller rib cage, so the cup size scales up a bit. Why does Big Lingerie do this? Because the cup size represents the difference between your band measurement and your breast measurement, with one inch difference being an A, two being a B, and so on. The bigger the difference, the bigger the cup size.
Anyway, back to Tifa. Tifa is a Woman of Small Ribcage, so I’m going to guess and say she’s a 28 band size. If you look at her for even two seconds, you can see that her chest is a lot bigger around than her ribcage. I’d say it’s at least a six- or seven-inch difference, which puts her in the F or G range. Did you know bra sizes go up that far? They sure do!
On top of that, there’s also been some discussion around Remake Tifa’s bra–specifically that she’s wearing a sports bra. Sports bras are generally a bit more constricting in terms of fit, and while some retailers do offer traditional bra sizing options, you’ll often see sports bras sold in dress sizes (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.) or in the small-medium-large metric. Because of the design and further size confusion, sports bras often make chests look “flatter” than they are. In Tifa’s case, however, it looks like she’s wearing a $100-plus designer sports bra that imitates the look of a regular bra. I’d argue the type of bra she’s allegedly wearing has little to no effect on the perceived size of her chest… or how hard she punches the hell out of things.
So while it may be true that Tifa’s chest looks smaller than it used to be (or perhaps how you imagined it), it’s by no means a small chest. Even if you did think she wears a B-cup bra, though, you can still look at her and see that it is not a small chest. Now that you know how bra sizes work, you can go back to the cast of MK 11, too, and observe that they have different bodies and thus fit a variety of bra sizes. And finally, consider that there’s nothing at all wrong with small boobs to begin with.
In conclusion, if you think that video games are being censored because suddenly “every” female character has A- or B-cup boobs, you’re just plain wrong. And if you must complain, you should maybe consider complaining about ribcage size instead.