lifestyle

"Why do people think it's okay to say your boobs are massive?"

After reading an article a little while ago about women’s superficiality in the matter of breast implants, I became flummoxed, furrowing my brow and scratching my noggin.

Why was it, I thought, that it was deemed superficial for a woman to have breast implants, but not breast reductions?

I found myself acting as a kind of spokesperson to my audience of one (my dog) on behalf of large-breasted women. He (my dog) knows better than anyone how often my short arms just don’t reach around my enormous bosom. “This is no way to live!” I cried out to him as he rolled over for a belly rub, knowing that if I were to bend down I might just topple clean over.

“What makes it different, Rupert?” I asked him. But he had no answers, so I asked my friends instead.

“You’re not superficial,” I said with authority as we sat down to a roast dinner. “Having a breast reduction is different, it’s a health issue.”

“Maybe not,” they said.

Kate Evans is a Melbourne-based Account Director and former top-heavy chick. In her early 20s she chose to throw out her E-cup bras and move in some dainty new B-cups.

“I did have a sore back and medical problems, and I struggled to find the right bra, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have died if I didn’t have the surgery,” she told me, without the breathlessness that often comes with having three kilos of breast tissue on your chest. “It was more superficial than medical for me and I’m happy to admit that.”

Happy to admit to being superficial? I almost choked on my honeyed carrots.

“Self-confidence and self identity and empowerment are the biggest life lessons we have to deal with. Self acceptance is one of the biggest struggles in life. I didn’t feel sexy. I would go out of my way to hide them. Now I go out of my way to show them off.”

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Could women be having breast reductions for the same reasons as they are having breast implants? I decided to ask a doctor. He wasn’t at my dinner party, so it’s lucky I knew how to work a phone.

Doctor Joseph Ajaka is a plastic surgeon at Cosmos Clinic in Sydney, and breast reductions via liposuction are one of their most requested surgeries.

“The most common reason for breast reduction surgery is cosmetic: social acceptance and confidence issues. Only after that come the health issues, alleviating back and shoulder pain,” he said.

The most common reasons to choose not to go ahead with the surgery aren’t health related either: women worry about scarring, judgement by friends and family and taking too much off the top, as it were.

Georgina Isles was weighed down by whopping HH breasts (that’s double-H, everyone) before she underwent breast reduction surgery in 2008. She saved to pay for her own surgery and is now a C-cup.

“I wanted a breast reduction from the age of fifteen. It was too hard to find clothes that fit me properly, it was embarrassing. My friends were all jealous, but I was just worried about not being able to find a decent bra.”

What about the male attention?

“Sure, they looked at my boobs, but I think they would have anyway. And because I didn’t like my boobs, when it came to being sexy, when men ogled them or were aroused by them, that made me feel disgusting.

“People think it’s okay to say things like, ‘Your tits are so massive!’, and it isn’t. It was just such a relief to not feel like a freak anymore. And for a girl who has double-A cups who also feels like a freak, and then gets breast implants, it’s a relief for her too.”

“It’s the same.”

Of course there are health reasons to have breast tissue removed – the weight of it alone can render a woman crippled by the time she’s 40. But at my dinner party, I learned that breast reductions often are superficial. The difference is that these women own the superficiality and feel empowered by it, rather than pushing other motives.

What they demonstrated to me was that it’s not those people having breast reduction – or breast enhancement – surgery with the agenda or the issue. It’s those people who, for whatever misguided reason, think they’re within rights to vilify these women. Those people who, at some point in history, normalised the act of publicly shaming women for decisions they have made about their own bodies.

Who’s the one with the problem?

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Anna is the Digital Producer for Australia’s longest running TV show. She blogs here and you can find her on Twitter at @annaspargoryan.

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