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Boob job backlash


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A friend of a friend is getting new boobs today.

I make this distinction, a friend of a friend, to impress upon you that she is not my friend, only someone I have conversed with at dinner parties and such.  I like to think my friends are smarter than this, because I secretly think there may be a strong correlation between lower IQ’s and the likelihood of one getting breast enlargements, but that’s just me.

The woman in question is – or was, anyway, in my eyes – beautiful.  She had an entirely enviable physique.  Tall and lithe and sporting a natural six pack, not an iota of cellulite anywhere (despite never working out) – one of those.

Her breasts seemed perfect for her body: smallish but perfect in shape and, most importantly for those that have given birth, perky.  They didn’t scream at you, but they were a legitimate part of her whole.  If glancing at her, one would probably take her all in: her lovely sculpted shoulders, her perfect abs, narrow waist, and long legs.

I can appreciate a beautiful body when I see one, be it male or female, and this body was one to be cherished, perhaps all the more so because she has produced children.

Ah yes, the children. This woman is the mother of daughters, the oldest one entering adolescence.

I, too, am the mother of daughters.  I think long and hard about the images they are bombarded with as they grow into young women, about the insane pressure to be thin, preferably tall, and pretty.  Even their father – an educated person and doting father – used to declare at our dinner table “Smart, pretty girls rule the world!” until I kicked him hard underneath the table and had a little tete-a-tete with him later about why I objected to this.  Keep the smart and lose the pretty, I told him.  They get it enough in this world without getting it at our dinner table.

And of course there is the added pressure, increasingly so in this age of silicone, to have large breasts, even though it does not usually go hand in hand with the tall and thin part, making it look rather like the tall, thin, big breasted woman is about to fall flat on her face.

I personally have never understood why you would want someone to stare at your chest when you are speaking, rather than your face, but realize I am an anomaly.

And admittedly, I flip-flop on the implant issue.  Women should do whatever they want, I think, who am I to judge?  After all, you can’t know until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.  Just because I don’t place importance on my bra size shouldn’t permit me to look down on those women who do.

I personally did not realize that most breasts change after childbirth.  Mine, for instance, are a shadow of their former selves and I have dropped a full cup size.  I feel a bit robbed in that department. I sort of get the argument that goes why not surgically put them back to where they once were.

But more often I think it’s all wrong, this movement to undergo a life threatening operation, and put a foreign unnatural substance in your body, in the interest of – what, self esteem?  Where is this notion coming from that bigger is better?  Of course, we all know the answer to that one, and if you don’t then you haven’t turned on the television or cracked a magazine in the last fifty years.

Upon getting this news, that this particular woman was falling prey to the pitfalls of plastic surgery, I actually felt ill.  This ugly consequence of our society is circling dangerously close to my world.  I fear that it is becoming pervasive and curiously normal.  Teenagers are now the fastest growing group to use plastic surgery.

I think about the conversation that this woman will ultimately have with her daughter in the near future, when the daughter wails to her mother that she hates her nose/ears/freckles; pick one.  How will she reply, that the bump on her nose or her large ears are uniquely hers and hers alone, and that we should love all of ourselves regardless?  Or will the reply be more to the tune that you can surgically alter yourself as much as you want one day, sugar pie?  And THEN you will be happy.

I can’t help thinking – and hoping, both for the sake of my own girls and millions of others who may one day feel the pressure to go under the knife – that one day these breast implants will be an exercise similar to the fashion trend of shoulder pads in the 80’s.   We stuck them into our sweaters and shirts thinking it made our physique’s fabulous.  The pads became bigger and bigger, until we effectively looked like quarterback’s with no team behind us. Perusing those pictures now, we know how ridiculously out of proportion and unnatural we looked, and thank our lucky stars that trend came and went.

This has tipped the scales somehow in my attitude.  I don’t feel like being a silent assenter anymore, I feel the need for my feminist voice to ring loud and clear that it is wrong to acquire self esteem from your bra size.  I am vociferous at our dinner table, and now more so at dinner parties.  I think it is immeasurably selfish of these women to surgically alter themselves without thinking about how it will affect their daughters, and women in general who walk in their footsteps.

However I am not a confrontational person.  By now, this woman’s scars have healed and she is up and about, her breasts proudly protruding.  I wonder if I will have the guts to say anything to her?   Most likely I will be too busy staring at her chest, which I guess is where she wants me to look.

Categories: Life
  1. Liz Brownlie
    April 19, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Deanna – reading this entry made me think of this poetry slam entry. If you haven’t already seen it, you must watch. xox Liz

    • April 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks Liz – I saw this on TED and loved it so much I shared it on Facebook.

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