Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Boob Assessment Brigade

In a museum, if you do a good job of dressing a mannequin, everyone will focus on the clothes. But if you do a bad job, everyone will focus on how weird and lumpy the mannequins look. The fact is, when you are padding out a tiny dress form to look correct under a set of clothes, human anatomy becomes a giant, confusing mystery. You find yourself saying things like "can someone come in here and explain what crotches look like?" and "does this butt look sad to you?"

On Friday an intern and I were doing battle with a 1960s woman's suit, and we couldn't tell if the boobs actually looked weird or if we had just been staring at them too long. She would keep re-doing them and I kept asking for adjustments. I would put on my gloves, do a little groping and squeezing, and then point out places that needed more or less padding. Eventually I had to get some outside input. I went up to a group of my co-workers (including my two department superiors and a man from another department), and asked if they would help assess the boobs we were building. At first they laughed and were a bit hesitant but once they saw it they all agreed the mannequin looked weird and started giving suggestions on what shape, height, size, and distance apart would look best. They offered some good pointers, and we decided to pull out a bunch of stuffing and re-build. Eventually I was able call my critical boob assessment brigade back in and we got much more positive feedback.

Maybe I should just start a feature on this blog called "what do you think of these boobs?" where I post mannequin images and get feedback. I would probably get a lot more blog hits. I could have a related feature called "what is the deal with this crotch?" although that sounds more like a bizarre game show or an old joke from a Jerry Seinfeld routine.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, the fact that my seminary held a drag show this week meant that I had some similar conversations with a male-identified classmate of mine...