Saturday, July 15, 2006

Quest For The *Perfect Woman*?~Part I

Breast implants, like a lot of other things in this world, have become normalised, accepted and a reasonable option for many women, for what ever their reasons. I spent six years working as a Senior Nurse on a regional Burns and Plastic surgery unit up until the late nineties. The last couple of years of that stint as part time, while I juggled sporadic sessional work to try and move into the community based mental health field as a counsellor and care coordinator. I’m actually in the process of changing direction again, which I’ve commented on in my profile, but that’s another story! I reinvent my self every five years or so, you see, with the only thing remaining consistent being my radical feminism.
So anyway, I spent six years working on a high tech’ high dependency unit, that also performed it’s fair share of other more aesthetic work such as breast augmentation, tummy tucks and so on. The vast majority of our breast remit work was breast augment’ for psychological reasons on women who felt their lack of breast tissues was causing them psychological distress. Other breast surgery included breast reduction, reconstruction after mastectomy, severe asymmetry and the odd mastopexy where the breast is “uplifted” requiring realignment of nipple and general tightening up of slack tissue. I would include mastopexy as a second cousin of breast enlargement as it's performed on healthy breasts for cosmetic reasons. ** Breast reduction is also a surgical proceedure on healthy breasts, because for some women, large breasts can cause back and shoulder troubles, but for most females it was unwanted, cruel and objectifying comments from males. You know * "Big tits are MY property, therefore I have a right to comment" sorta guys. Both augmentation and reduction procedures demonstrate how some women feel the need to mutilate and adapt their breasts to either get male approval (breast enlargement) or become "invisible" (breast reduction)
At the time it struck me, that a disproportionately high percentage of women admitted for breast augs’ were in my eyes, either border line anorexic or had some severe body image issues. There was absolutely no psychological screening, even though we had a Psychologist attached to our unit, due of the nature of the departments work, such as severe burns, cancer and reconstructive surgery following trauma.
Sadly it doesn’t take rocket science to work out why so many women and girls are obsessed to the level of resorting to painful, dangerous and
unnecessary surgery in the quest for the males interpretation of the *perfect woman* How is it, men not only get to interperate our sexuality in pornography, but also get to define what size and shape our tits are in the fuckability cattle market?
I was talking to a friend this morning, and she voiced concern that her 16 year old daughter’s magazines have adverts for breast enlargement surgery, which she guesses is aimed at the late teens.
Oh come on!!!
She can’t remember the magazines in question, but she’s going to find them out for me.
Within a couple of posts I’m going to look at this increase in breast surgery, and the worrying research that shows that women need to be screened for subtle mental health problems, as a link with increased suicide has been identified.

* big tits, little tits, any tits...tits
** Women would frequently use the physical health ie back and shoulder problems as the factors for being accepted for reduction surgery, but disclose in private to nursing staff, that it was actually unwanted male attention that was the real problem.

5 Comments:

Blogger Phemisaurus Terribilis said...

Yup, a recent Swedish study showed that women with implants are three times more likely to kill themselves. I've not been able to get hold of the paper itself, but it was quoted in Julie Bindel's interview of Sheila Jeffreys in the Guardian (June or July last year).

10:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am seriously thinking about reduction. And I know that I am compromised about it because I am a radfem. I don't know if I will do it. I have wanted to all my life. Pain, yes. And it gets worse as one gets older, not less. Shame? That too. Terrible shame. Expensive oh yes. Not a brassiere under $100. I well remember seeing a research Holstein cow in the university research barns here. Her udder touched the ground. Oooops. Gotta do that test over. She wore a huge bra. I cried like mad as soon as I got back to my car.

Huge breasts, big laugh, are not even useful for what they were intended: women with breasts this large cannot breast feed successfully, if at all.

3:58 am  
Blogger sparkleMatrix said...

Good luck anon! my mum had huge breasts, 32g and 5'2" so as you can imagine, very large caboozers on a tiny frame. She got sick of men *locked in* to her chest, and yes the expensive industrial strength bras were another story :-)

6:42 pm  
Anonymous CoolAunt said...

Anonymous, in my opinion, radfem or not, physical pain IS a good reason for cosmetic surgeries such as breast reductions. This isn't about your appearance; it's about your quality of life, something that chronic pain can greatly impact in a negative way.

4:05 am  
Blogger sparkleMatrix said...

Coolaunt/anon I agree completely, big breasts can cause chronic pain and discomfort. I saw women who had deep grooves in their shoulders from bra straps, and with spinal problems from the sheer weight. Like I said good luck for what ever you decide.

7:23 am  

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