Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To boob or not to boob...

I have a girlfriend who recently had a boob job. It's very subtle and she looks great. She was small-chested to begin with and now she has regular-sized boobs. This was something she's wanted for a long time and she's very happy about it.

Normally, boob jobs appall me. Why would you want to take your blessedly small mammaries and turn them into the humongous sacks of pudding I've endured since middle school? A different girlfriend, one who was actually so fortunate as to have breast-reduction surgery (lucky duck!) commiserated with me, observing that women who get boob jobs aren't paying for all of the negatives: the unwanted solicitations from men who are unable to comprehend that it is in fact possible to have a woman's body but still be a young girl (back when I was a young girl), the back pain from carrying around so much weight, the change in the shape of shoulder bones and muscles from the constant digging-in of bra straps, the difficulty in finding properly fitting bras, or the fact that you can either buy shirts to fit your boobs or buy shirts to fit everything else, but you can't actually buy shirts that just fit.

I remember, years ago, reading an article about breast cancer survivors. The writer had interviewed a number of different women, who had had different procedures. One of the interviewees had a full mastectomy. She no longer had breasts. Many women who undergo such a treatment get implants. (In fact, I learned from the article, that you can take fat from somewhere else in your body and use your own tissue for your breast implants). This one woman, however, decided that no, she did not need breasts. She already had a couple of kids, and breast-fed them, so as far as she was concerned, she had gotten all out of her breasts that could be gotten. Apparently, her husband didn't seem to mind, not that it was really his choice anyway.

I was struck by the strength of this woman. To not be defined by two things that very much make you a woman, well, that was just incredible to me. And I was slightly envious. Not that I want breast cancer, but of her self confidence, her self-assuredness, that she simply didn't need her breasts. I'd love to have smaller breasts (ah, those fond, fleeting memories of the years in middle school when I was a perfect B cup, oh how I miss you: my once manageable mammaries). But no breasts at all? I'm not sure that's who I picture myself to be.

And in case you're wondering, yes, the article did include pictures, and this breastless woman, well, I thought she looked gorgeous. She had long thin arms and legs, small but shapely hips, and not boobs to get in the way of the rest of her life. Was she different looking? Absolutely. Did it matter? Not at all.

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