Last week one of our former beauty pageant contestants and some sort of current B-list celebrity came forward with having had breast reduction surgery. Even though the magazines were full of pictures of 'Oh, look what huge knockers she used to have!', I thought it was mightily brave of her to go against the current. And while to the yellow press it was obviously nothing but the curiosity of the week, it did bring wider attention to the issue.
There's an idealized standard as to what mammaries are supposed to look like, and very few women really meet this standard. It's with sadness I often think that even living in one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, we're still faced with sexists attitudes, both internalized and outright, every day. We may not wear burqas or marry our uncles at the tender age of thirteen, but society certainly does like to keep us unsatisfied with our body images, and it is a means of control.
The ideal that we're supposed to strive for to feel like valid human beings is so unreasonable that even beauty queens and models can't live up to it. We're bombarded with images airbrushed and sculpted with the knife, the propaganda that of 'This is what you need to be, to have worth'.
At the end of the day, I think I'm pretty average. I'm not terribly grotesque, as long as the clothes stay on. At any randomly selected group of people, I'd hardly ever be the shortest or the tallest person in the room, the thinnest or the fattest. Average.
I remember the day that I learned to hate my physique. I was three years old, and I overheard an older girl at nursery school tell her friend that she disliked me because I moved my ass too much when I walked. I had a funny walk. Three fucking years old, and I remember it. I remember her name, even though it was the friend that I later went to ground school with, never seeing her again after nursery school.
But, back to the subject of breasts: I hated them from the onset. I felt cheated, cheated by my own body upon their appearance. A bit of a tomboy, I blamed them for coming between me and my friends, me and my father. Suddenly, I had girl cooties. I'd always been the one girls came to for phone numbers and gossip about the boys, because I was playing-sports, conducting-minor-acts-of-vandalism friends with them, rather than having silly crushes on them. I didn't get why they'd rather have been sucking neck rather than playing with matches or sneaking into places you weren't supposed to be in.
I refused to wear a bra for a long time, and hey, it shows. And even when I conceded, I've never been able to find a bra to fit properly. I'm square in the middle of cup-sizes. One of my breasts is slightly larger than the other, which is fairly common, but not accounted for by bra-manufacturers. I'd need a C-cup for other and a B-cup for the other, but ya think they sell freaky stuff like that in any regular stores? Hell, no. You're supposed to have two perfectly symmetrical perky boobs even after giving birth to three children. To have the audacity to be otherwise means to be unwanted, and at the very least the demand to have the decency to keep them covered, not to be seen. Even though, you know, this is what breasts would end up looking in their natural state.
I'm an academician. I'm a theologian. I'm fairly unobsessed with appearances, and am not looking for relationships.
I'd have my breasts rehung without a second thought if I had the money. Even though I know that the surgery most often means losing a big chunk of functionality, and comes with more scarring than the augmentation surgery. And yes, I would rather have the other one reduced than take some goddamn fucking alien, semi-inorganic, toxic material inside my body.
But until such a time that through means of the mutilation of flesh I will find comfort within my own skin, dear society with your invisibly patriarchal constructs, I will continue to feel disgusted with myself, every day. Cheers.