Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Frustrations with the Polish Brafitting Community

About two years ago, I ran across a thread on the Polish brafitting forum Balkoneta, talking about me. Although I don't speak Polish, I was able to tell enough from Google Translate to feel shocked and hurt. (** Edit: I did check with a native Polish speaker for translations on each item mentioned in this post, and received confirmation that the ladies mentioned were, in fact, being rude.) The ladies on the forum were suggesting that I was lying/measuring wrong and that I couldn't possible be a 26 band- that it was just my ego convincing me that I needed one. They also decided that I was wearing my bras "at the waist," although how that would work, I honestly have no idea. I didn't address it at the time, although I did perhaps write an over-enthusiastically positive review of Ewa Michalak in reaction- the truth is, they're not the best company for my shape in other ways, they were just my only option, and it was nice to have bands that fit me. Eventually, a girl from the forum emailed me in English, and we had a discussion about bra fitting in which we were able to come to an agreement.

Honestly, the incident really discouraged me from blogging. People sometimes forget that bloggers have feelings, too. I can handle random trolls, but I was really saddened to see myself attacked, and my body analyzed like a piece of meat, by women on a forum I had respected.

I was also dismayed by an incident with Ewa Michalak herself a while ago, commonly referred to as "strapgate," in which Ewa asked for feedback on the smaller band sizes, and received many, many replies (including myself) saying the straps were too widely placed. Then she proceeded to attack her loyal customers, saying they were *all* wearing the wrong size, and threatened to discontinue smaller band sizes.

She also wrote a blog post supposedly debunking my fitting method. In it, she shows a woman with a 97cm (38") underbust, and she suggests that the "UK sizing method" would fit this woman into a 70KK, or 32KK. The problem is, she's completely wrong! I can't imagine how she managed to shove this poor woman into such a tight band, but that is certainly not how I measure. If I were fitting this woman, I would use a 38 band as a starting place. Because EM bands are not very stretchy, they run tight in larger band sizes, so I would probably suggest that she go up a size, based on her personal comfort. That means there's a good chance I would have fit her into a 90F/40F, exactly the same size as Ewa! And yet she ridicules the "British fitting method" without having any idea how it works.

She also ignored that women in the larger band sizes are perfectly happy with the fit of Ewa bras. It's specifically the smallest band sizes and biggest cup sizes that have this construction error. The straps were bad for me in a 26HH, but when I grew a few cup sizes and landed in a 26JJ, the straps were truly intolerable, making arm movement difficult, sliding off my shoulders, and causing me a lot of pain. Ewa Michalak bras are no longer wearable for me. And honestly, this whole experience left me with no interest in supporting Ewa's business any longer.

Today, I saw yet another thread on Balkoneta attacking myself, as well as several other bloggers. I don't understand why these women assume that we won't see the nasty things they're saying (since I discovered Biubiu and Ewa Michalak, it's a decent bet I'm good at deciphering Google Translate!) and I don't understand why all this nastiness is necessary. I know that I would be more than happy to hear suggestions for how I could find better bras. I've definitely struggled a lot to find things for myself. I would be overjoyed to be able to wear a wider selection of bras- as far as my vanity is concerned, I would far rather be able to wear a wide variety of pretty bras, than be able to say I'm a 26 band. Also, most Americans still think a 32 band is absolutely teeny tiny, so saying I was a 28 or 30 would sound unbelievable to most people I know.

Anyway, I wanted to share this photo, as sort of a counter to Ewa's ridiculous "UK measuring method" post, and as proof that a larger band size would not, in fact, work for me. The bra in question is a 30DD, and as you can see, my breasts are literally spilling out underneath it. At the time, this was the size that many +4 calculators gave me (my breasts have grown since this photo was taken.) The fact is, as my breasts have grown larger and heavier over time, the base has spread out over my ribcage. I have breast tissue extending from just under my collarbones to a few inches above my waist. I do wish the base could be higher up- you could see my waist better in clothes, I'd look slimmer, and I'd probably be able to wear a larger band size, as my back gets wider higher up. But this is the body I have, and it seems awfully nasty and petty to suggest that I'm some sort of freak for having it.