A few weeks ago I read an article about breast implants and the comment section abounded with women complaining about the small size or sagginess of their post pregnancy and breast-feeding mammaries. They couldn’t wait to ‘fix’ this obsessed-over body part.
Though I myself don’t have a husband with whom to discuss the ethics of breast implants, I got to thinking about the possibility of them in my own future. Bigger boobs are something I’ve wanted far before I ever became a mother. In college I became painfully self-conscious of their small size, and even began saving up for a boob job by serving cocktails at a local and ever-so-classy strip-club. [Being surrounded by the huge, fake knockers there was extra visual motivation to save up. And to faithfully search down a surgeon with a more delicate touch than my coworkers’…]
I’d saved up more than enough money and was beginning the process of looking into surgeons who wouldn’t make me look like I had rocks inside my chest, or kill me, when months’ worth of hard-earned money were stolen from me. [I won’t go into detail as to how this happened because if I did I’d never be able to show my face in public again.]
Needless to say I was temporarily devastated. But when the depressing fog lifted I decided that it just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps my boob job would have been botched. Maybe I would have regretted it in my own age. Looking back almost a decade later, with a toddler daughter by my side, I’m glad I didn’t get the boob job despite the fact that I still long for one on a multiple-times-a-day basis [obsessive, I know].
The reasons? They all boil down to the worldview I want to embody for my daughter, who will grow up being reminded time and again by the media and misogynistic beauty industry that she needs to change what she looks like. So below, the four reasons I won’t be getting the much longed-for boob job:
- I don’t want my daughter to know that for purely cosmetic reasons I underwent risky major surgery, essentially paying someone a whole lot of money to cut open my body and insert foreign objects inside it. It’s not that I don’t want her to know that I have insecurities. In fact, I do. I want her to know that I am flawed and that I long to feel more like my own definition of beautiful, but that at the end of the day I have the wisdom and grace to not let my insecurities guide my life. My insecurities are a part of me, and they probably always will be, but I would never want my weaknesses to control my decisions. I want to overcome my insecurities, not give into them. And I want my daughter to sense that I embody this life-view to the best of my ability. What’s more, I want her to sense that there is beauty itself in the way a woman bears her so-called imperfections.
- I want her to recognize that there exists a bold distinction between enhancing natural beauty and permanently changing ourselves as physical beings. Makeup, fashion, padded pushup bras, for that matter, are all ways to explore sense of self and beauty. But at the end of the day they don’t change how we were made. We can remove clothes and makeup, and when we do we are left with the naked, unadorned versions of ourselves. We may not like the way we look bare, but that’s okay. What matters is not that we love ourselves as is, but that we possess the resilience and grace to accept our female reality rather than permanently carve out a brand-new physical ‘me’.
- One day my daughter will express intense dissatisfaction with her appearance, and I will tell her that she is beautiful just the way she is. But if I were to get a boob job, she and I both would know I didn’t wholly believe my own words. I would have paid thousands of dollars and underwent risky, major surgery in order to meet some ridiculous standard that I (paradoxically) didn’t want my own daughter to feel pressured by. Clearly, I wouldn’t really believe females are always enough just as they are. I would know, deep within, that I was an integral part of the very problem that plagued my daughter.
- Lastly, I want my daughter to know one existential truth: the inevitability of aging and the gradual loss of looks forces all of us, enhanced or not, to accept our every-growing physical ‘flaws’. Cosmetic surgery is never a solution to body insecurities precisely because the passage of time itself ensures that our bodies deteriorate regardless. The single great challenge life presents to each one of us is to be happy despite this grim reality.
All said, at the end of the day women who yearn for bigger breasts and women who actually go out and get them aren’t really that different. One important factor does distinguish them though: the first bear their insecurities with grace, teaching their daughters to do the same, while the others give into desires borne of weakness and risk passing down a destructive message about female beauty.
Kudos to you for realizing yourself and wishing to instill in your daughter the truth of Antoine de Exupery’s statement: “The things that are essential are invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one sees rightly.” I realize that we live in an appearance-oriented society, but that misses the real essence of both the male and the female in our society.
thank you! and i love that quote! going to write it down now. : )
thank you! and i love that quote! going to write it down now. : )
Wow! I’ve struggled with this certain insecurity through my educational years and even now and have never viewed it this way. I have a 3 year going on 13….she picks up every little thing around her and finishes it with ‘why’. It’s refreshing to hear a different perspective on applauding our flaws.
there are so many of us that struggle with body issues. moms more than anyone! glad you apreciare my unique perspectiva on subject! : )
I was cheering you through most of this article , saying “yeah” and ” you go girl” in my head until you hot to your last sentence. ” while others give into desires born out of weakness”
Many women do not have surgeries and do not bear their insecurities with grace, women who won’t go outside without makeup or women who constantly talk about their weight, yet you only pick one to judge and judge harshly. That somehow a surgery that takes less than a day will make them “less” in their future daughters eyes than a myriad of other activities.
I do not have a daughter , just a son ( so far) but I hope that is lessons learned through the process of daily acceptance and struggles that they learn who I am and what to stand for. And if my child has any insecurities I hope they overcome them, but if they or myslelf in the future ( I am debating the pros and cons of augmentation) decide cosmetic surgery is needed, I hope they know its not a failure, but a part of the journey.
I have a daughter, and am about to have another. And I take HUGE exception to this post. Body acceptance is huge for me, and something I most definitely want my daughters to learn. I vowed to myself that I will never put myself down in front of my children, and teach them not only to not judge themselves, but also not judge others – that is where this post fails with these kinds of statements: “while the others give into desires borne of weakness and risk passing down a destructive message about female beauty.”
WOWWWW. What you have decided to do for yourself is one thing, but there are a vast number of women who HAVE augmented their breasts or done other things to make themselves feel better. Who are you to call them WEAK? What kind of message is THAT giving your daughter? To judge other women? I thought this blog was to celebrate women, all of their choices, and to be supportive. Expressing an opinion is one thing, but calling out others who did something differeny as weak is garbage. And don’t get me started on the hot mess that is the title of this post. With all due respect to Austin City Moms Blog, I would highly recommend you desist from doing “If you are a girl mom” posts, because I want no part in reading anything like this.
I completely agree with Pamela’s statement. It’s our body and no one else has the right to decide on what we do for it. If someone feels that a breast augmentation would improve their confidence, then I don’t think there is problem in considering one. My elder sister aged 35 underwent BA 6 months before. She underwent it in a clinic in Toronto, Power Plastic Surgery Clinic. Her surgeon Dr. Stephanie Power was very much supportive, and she has been following all the pre-op and post-op tips. The surgery went quite well, she is pretty much happy with the results and more confident now.
Yeah, I have to say that the op’s view on this subject should have been published in Convenient Theories Monthly. Soooo… despite the fact that you saved up money and planned to have the surgery done yourself, and you actually STILL obsess over it daily, since your savings were stolen, other people that have the surgery are weak and bad examples for their daughters. Yeah. Seems legit. Sour grapes I would say. I think the #1 message we should be giving our daughters is that other women are not the enemy. And being catty about women that made the decision for themselves to have a procedure to help boost their self image is akin to slut shaming. My daughters are being raised as feminists and I haven’t had BA and may never but if I did, I would encourage my daughters to give me their thoughts on it. And of the three of them, they might all have a different opinion but none of them would think less of me or get the message that we must sell out to the patriarchy to be happy. This is just silliness.
I love this! I have experienced this from the daughter side and the mother side. My mom has had implants since right after I was born. She had her reasons, and regrets them now, but you are 100% right in saying that any time she has tried to offer me encouragement about my small chest there is a feeling that she doesn’t mean what she is saying because of the choices she made. As a mother, providing an example for my girls is the reason I refuse to cave to the pressure of society. It is a daily struggle, but at 29 yrs old with 3 children and a wonderful husband who loves me as I am, I have more reasons to be proud of my body than to change it. Most women with small chest (A or smaller) understand the obsessiveness of breast size. It is easy to tell yourself you will feel better or more confident with implants, but the truth is, you have to love yourself first.