A couple of comments before we go further or someone somewhere is going to take this as personal, and it is not. Firstly, I am talking about the attitudes of society in general, not the individuals. Secondly, my qualifications to speak on the subject – I’m a woman and I’ve had surgery twice for Breast cancer which has left me very much Mrs Lopsided. Do I care – not one jot. Is it noticeable? Ask the people who look at me, no one has mentioned it. Does it cause me an issue? Only when I forget and hang a bag on my left shoulder – it promptly slides off, but that’s a small price to pay for my life.
There has recently been a great deal of publicity over the sub-standard Breast Implant that had been widely used in the UK and France, probably other countries too, but I don’t know for certain. The whole issue over who is responsible for repairing the damage, replacing the implants etc, is a debate I find distasteful on many levels but that’s a different issue. What bugs me is more fundamental, the attitude of the society in which we live that causes women to go through the whole process of having breast implants.
I look at the women who are being interviewed about the current debacle, not one of them would look freakish if they didn’t have artificially enlarged breasts. They would be perfectly normal women living a normal life. The one question that never seems to be asked during the interview is ‘Why?’
I am a fairly self-confident individual with a healthy disregard for most of the norms, unless they suit me and don’t offend anyone else. Despite that, I was amazed at the number of people who asked if I was going to have an implant because of ‘how it will look’. I was appalled.
What kind of society do we live in that we judge a woman by the size of the protuberances on her upper chest. A judgement so severe that perfectly formed women feel compelled to put themselves through surgery to fit in with those expectations, a surgery that will have to be repeated because even the best of implants have a finite life. It horrifies me.
Many women who have had Breast Cancer surgery have implants. I have more empathy with them but I still don’t understand it. They have just had major surgery because of that pernicious disease, and they then undergo more to place a potentially harmful substance in their bodies. Why? To look ‘normal’, where does that come from – the attitude of a bigoted society that says if you are lopsided or flat-chested you are a lesser being. The comment that makes me weep is ‘I don’t feel a proper woman’. Where does that come from – a deeply ingrained belief in a societal prejudice against anything that doesn’t fit the norm. It enrages me.
The whole thing demeans us as human beings. Equality is a myth as long as two bumps mean more than the human mind and spirit. The worst part is that we allow this by pandering to it. We allow ourselves to be judged as what we are rather than who we are. Why?
Will this attitude change? If I am honest, it’s unlikely whilst the current cult of celebrity dominates the media. We should value ourselves for who not what we are. How we contribute to the greater good is far more important than how we fit in with the latest role model, usually a thinly disguised marketing wheeze.
What can we do about it? On a global level, I have no idea but I have always believed that the biggest changes start with the smallest shifts in attitude. If each of us stops to ask ourselves ‘Why?’, making sure that the step we are taking is of our own free will, not at the whim of a faceless, mindless mass then maybe this whole dreadful debacle will go some way towards that. I hope so.