Darlings! Wait no longer! PeaceBang has indeed followed the boob-ha-ha (as opposed to a brouhaha or a bro-ha ha) following Susan Sarandon’s Festival Of Inappropriate Sharing at the SAG Awards, during which she was the presenter of the In Memoriam segment of the show.
That last detail is very important, as, were it not for that detail of her obligations to the occasion, I would have simply ignored the tempest in a teapot, saluted Miss Sarandon for being fabulous and fun, and moved onto something more newsworthy.
However, here at BTFM we live at the intersection of ritual, public image, professionalism and feminism, so Miss PB finds this a perfect opportunity to talk about a few of her favorite things: bras, honoring the dead, and fabulosity!
Here is Susan Sarandon, whose age (69) has been brought into the criticisms of her cleavagelicious outfit:
I absolutely agree that maturity is a concern for clergy in considering how they shall attire themselves. I absolutely do not think it a concern for movie stars, who have an entirely different set of objectives when deciding how they want to dress. Which is to say, “Shut it, haters.”
Piers Morgan, who is neither a friend nor someone about whose career I know very much or care at all, has been dragged all over feminist blogs for dragging Miss Sarandon on Twitter. But here’s what he said:
And although other hate-Tweeters made ageist and insulting remarks about Miss Sarandon’s body and sartorial choices, Morgan, to my knowledge, kept his critique focused on the inappropriateness of dressing as she did for what was essential a funeral portion of the event.
I hate to outright agree with Mr. Morgan, so I won’t.
I will simply suggest that if the glorious Susan Sarandon wanted to do a shirtless look with a suit, she could have done it a lot better, and I don’t think this outfit really worked that well.
The suit is by Max Mara and in and of itself is nice, but not slaying me. The jacket is fine but the pants aren’t an elegant cut. It’s a little informal, but this is the SAG Awards, not the Oscars, so no big whoop:
She’s fun and sexy and looks great head to toe, but the problem is that the bra she is wearing under the suit isn’t pulling its share of the weight. [Insert joke about holding up its share of the weight here: I don't have time to think of one!]
Now, let’s talk about a bit about the well-established history of visible bras in the entertainment world and salute them. First, Madonna’s bullet bra by Jean Paul Gaultier that you must remember from her Blonde Ambition tour:
Girls just wanna have fun! And pointy boobs!
It was a fantastic moment in the history of show business attire and it left a lasting legacy. Miss Gaga? Will you step in here for a moment, please?
Now, obviously Miss Sarandon wouldn’t want to don something as insane as those bras, which were created for stage shows and have no connection to what Miss S. was doing at the SAG Awards. Nor am I suggesting that Miss Sarandon should have gone out for something as throw-down as Rihanna’s Swarovski-encrusted number here, which –again– is a costume:
Some actresses like to blur the line between costume and outfit, and some of those actresses are even Susan Sarandon’s age, and some of them have shown a lot more of their breasts in public than Piers Morgan and other critical observers would tolerate.
So, ignoring the sexist, ageist critics and also refusing to line up with the “BOO YA WOMAN POWER -YOU HATE BOOBS” feminist bloggers, whose arguments seem to me to be misleading (accusing Piers Morgan of things he didn’t say and also failing to engage the important cultural question of how to dress appropriately to introduce an In Memoriam segment of a show), let me conclude that I found Sarandon’s outfit disappointing for the occasion not because she showed too much cleavage but because her bra was too tailored and informal, and looked like a regular bra.
The end result wasn’t chic and sexy, but “Huh, what happened here?” with a bit of “Hey honey, if you were going for shocking or ‘look at my great cleavage, world!’ this wasn’t the time to do it, when you had funereal honors to bestow.”
A little tweak on the bra and I think the outfit could have been formal enough (although certainly super cleavage-focused) to respect the formality of an awards show and her role in it.
Let me show you what I am suggesting:
Now, because it has come up so often in the conversation, let us engage the question of how much “hike” factor a visible or invisible bra bestows upon its wearer. Like it or not, this factor of fit and tailoring is an important detail any woman in the public eye has needed to consider — as central to preparing for an occasion as considering the length of a hemline. Lifting the ladies is an important part of the history of fashion and costuming, and I am sure that Miss Sarandon’s preferred level of lift is something that she is intentional about, as her chesticular assets have been a central part of her career since she debuted in “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” It was not without strategic aplomb that she Tweeted this iconic image from that film to Piers Morgan in response to his comments,
Brilliant. She knew exactly what she was doing and having unapologetic fun doing it. “Remember who I am!” For those who aren’t Twitter users (and why not?), #TBT is a social media tag that refers to “Throw Back Thursday,” when folks post old images of themselves or friends. The idea of a #TBT is to post something significantly aged as to elicit an “Awwww” from those who see it. In this case, Sarandon’s fans cheered at the sight of her in that much earlier bra — a BELOVED of the generations bra — and “loved” the image in the many thousands and retweeted the image at least 5,000 times.
A great moment of attention for a great actress, and for us, a teaching moment in how tricky it is for anyone to make unconventional sartorial choices during rites of passage.
For us, though, any time we’re standing at a podium or being framed in a photograph as a centerpoint for any rite of passage (think wedding photos), the primary visible element should never be our bare skin. That’s a rule you can frame and put over your mirror in the closet.