02/04/2014 05:30 pm ET | Updated Feb 04, 2014

Newspaper Publishes Celebrity Cleavage Poll, Everyone Hates It

A recent poll asking readers to weigh in on Taylor Swift and Heidi Klum's cleavage may be a new low for the Detroit Free Press -- and yes, that pun is intended.

Last month, the newspaper published a poll online that gave readers the chance to vote "good" or "bad" on the cleavage of 12 celebrities. "When cleavage is good, it’s very, very good. When it’s bad, it’s atrocious," the paper explained.

Georgea Kovanis, the Free Press writer who is credited for the poll, also offered "Dos and Don'ts of Cleavage" and listed the celebs on her good and bad lists in an accompanying column.

Those who bothered to vote were most impressed with Sofia Vergara (3,200 "good" votes) and least with Lena Dunham (2,514 "bad" votes), but plenty of readers had stronger opinions about the paper's judgement.

"Detroit Free Press, you've sunk to a new low in journalism. And there are a lot of lows to compare with," reader Marla Cone commented on the article. "Please keep your comments smart and civil. Unlike, of course, the poll itself," said Stephen Whitty. "This paper has finally jumped the shark," wrote Benny Leibhan.

After media blog linked to the story Tuesday, the outrage spilled onto Twitter.

Yikes, @freep, did you accidentally publish an article from 1950? @HannaRosin @NoreenMalone @DoubleXMag @meganharris13

— June Thomas (@junethomas) February 4, 2014

I can't express how utterly flabbergasted I am at this in 120 characters. Journalist integrity is dead at the @freep.

— Benny Vasquez (@bennyvasquez) February 4, 2014

OMG -- RT Judging women's breasts not "news".MT @HiddenBrain: Shouldn't @freep change its twitter handle 2 @sexist?

— Ellen Comisar (@elesscom) February 4, 2014

I'll say it first: The Detroit Free Press must be run by boobs. "Vote: Good cleavage or bad cleavage" via @freep

— Kevin McDermott (@kevinmcdermott) February 4, 2014

Free Press Managing Editors Julie Topping and Nancy Andrews told The Huffington Post that the poll, which initially only had a line of two of text leading into the voting, went along with Kovanis' column leading into the Grammys.

"Online, we asked people to vote on which celebrities showed cleavage in the best way," they said in an email. "Unfortunately, the language of the poll lost the context of the column. We have since added more context."

The poll now includes part of Kovanis' column, which weighs in on the celebrity cleavage "trend." As red carpet style filters into the mainstream, "we’re going to be seeing even more cleavage, coping with a cleavage explosion at work, at social events, even in front of our own mirrors," she wrote. "Cleavage can make women feel feminine, which often makes them feel pretty and sexy and confident."

But certain parts of Kovanis' column might not make those who took issue with the poll any happier, like when she writes about how women use their breasts.

"No matter how feminist their leanings, most women get a certain charge, a certain power from using their femininity to catch a man’s eye or, in some cases, using it as a form of Kryptonite," Kovanis said.

"Cleavage also can distract from anything its wearer is trying to say, any point she wants to make," she wrote. "Instead of being seen as someone with a valid opinion, she runs the risk of being seen as someone with nothing to offer but breasts. Because that’s where all eyes will be."

Though the few readers who responded to the poll itself may not have thought so, both Vergara and Dunham are winners in our book for loving their bodies and not apologizing for it.


Facts About Women And Body Image
Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.