Bum-enhancing leggings! Light-up phone cases for better selfies! A stick-on bra to “give your girls a lift!”
These are just a few of the products tech-savvy companies have launched into women’s social media feeds in recent months, in pursuit of viral marketing campaigns.
Now we have the ta-ta towel, which at first glance is the most ridiculous yet. Variously described as “a bizarre boob hammock” and “the breast accessory you didn’t know you needed,” it’s an absorbent towel for women that only covers their breasts.
It resembles a halter-neck bikini top that wraps around the wearer’s neck – but made out of towel fabric.
At time of writing, a social media frenzy surrounds this product. On one side, the haters: It’s pointless – ugly – “so goofy”.
On the other, Team Ta-Ta: It’s fun – it’s hurting no-one – and according to breast-feeding mothers, it’s a lifeline for reasons some detractors may have missed.
Just discovered the Ta-ta towel. I need 10.
— Dani (@danielleshnell) August 4, 2017
Why does it matter?
Well, traditionally capitalist Western society sexualises breasts in a bid to sell merchandise. Billions of dollars have been made from this strategy. But if there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that the ta-ta towel is not the most sexually enticing boob-covering available.
More than likely, social media will soon be flooded with mischievous, consciously unflattering pictures of women posing in – might we call it? – the TTT. Facebook and Instagram aren’t only for narcissists, after all – not when there’s a new seam of shared comedy to mine.
The world has discovered a funny-looking boob-holder, and people are delighted. And when bra design changes so little as the years go by, perhaps it’s no surprise.
This is a case of an innovative woman taking ownership of a female issue, and finding a solution.
Ta-ta towel creator Erin Robertson was living in Los Angeles with a broken air-conditioning unit, and got sweaty under her breasts the minute she stepped out of the shower.
She writes on her website: “I tried everything: I tucked wash cloths under my breasts, I tried dumping baby powder all over me, I even put a t-shirt on and tucked it under my boobs. But the wash cloths looked ridiculous, the baby powder made me look more like dough, and the t-shirt was making me sweat even more.”
It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact – especially in summer, and for women with a larger bra size.
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That brings us to another novelty – the women advertising this product are much bigger than standard models, because the ta-ta towel is only available from a C to an H cup. It’s an unusual sight, because women above a size 8 are rarely employed to sell mass-market products – especially where they’ll have to be scantily clad.
And for mothers, there’s another bonus to the ta-ta furore: It’s raised tricky discussions about breast-feeding which would usually only happen in baby groups or on Mumsnet.
On her babycenter blog, mum Sara McGinnis wrote about struggling with night-time leakage while breast-feeding, and how she had stuffed hand towels down the front of her t-shirt every night.
Certainly, not everyone with a view on the ta-ta towel will go through that experience. But it’s encouraging honest, empathetic discussions about what happens to women in their first months of motherhood – and making people smile in the process.