< The "Normal" Breast A Short Pictorial History:
Cultural Attitudes Towards Female Breasts
Toplessness Back in Fashion?
This otherwise attractive young lady's boobs, bigger than basketballs, literally hang all the way past her waist, and she isn't even 30 years old. The fellow with her practically disappears alongside breasts that big. She will not only pay a huge price financially later in life as the implants must be periodically replaced, but physically due to back pain and other discomforts. When she eventually comes to her senses and has the implants removed, she will need massive breast reconstruction (mastopexy) to remove the excess flesh and tissue.
Breasts that are naturally extraordinarily large are pendulous and elongated in appearance. They also tend to spread to either side of a woman's chest when not supported. They are not balloon- or bowling-ball like, as in the photos below.
Augmented breasts don't necessarily appear as unnatural as these two women's. Cosmetic surgeons make a number of decisions, with the patient's input, about the type of implants and their placement. However, it's very hard to avoid an unnatural look when the implants are so large.
Typical results from a breast augmentation operation. The women was 39 years old, 5'11", 160 lbs and went from an B cup to a D cup overnight.

Pamela Anderson has apparently undergone surgical enhancements on more than just two body parts, though the two that are most widely known are her breasts. They have swelled up and down like a balloon on several occasions, according to those who pay attention.

At left she appears as she looked about the time of her first Playboy magazine appearance. Below is a later picture after her implants were added. In 1999, Pamela Anderson has her 36DD breast implants removed, returning her to a 36C.

Extraordinary Breasts

Given the American obsession with breasts, which at times borders on if not trips over into fetishism, some women have either capitulated to or capitalized on this fascination. They undergo breast augmentation. For many women, it's a simple boost to their self-esteem, motivated by a desire to recapture some of their youthful looks, before children, nursing, age and gravity caught up with them. It may be a woman, once a C cup, whose breasts after several children have shrunk to a B-cup. She opts for a more attractive figure — and as long as she's paying for it, gives herself a more voluptuous D-cup. She's not shy about having the surgery done, and anyone who sees her regularly can see the obvious difference.

The opportunity for a woman to be in control of her body is one of the goals of the feminist movement. That a woman would choose to take advantage of this freedom to participate in the worship of the female breast by the male patriarchy is a wonderful ironic turn. In a further twist, women who have their breasts enhanced do not attribute their motivation to external measures. In a survey of women seeking breast augmentation, 91 percent of patients said it was to improve the way they feel about themselves. While a vocal minority of feminists are critical of women who seek breast enhancement, others effectively say, "Go, girl!"

Women who decry another woman's desire to have her breasts surgically augmented are especially missing the point. To believe that it is wrong for a woman to want large breasts is to state that a woman with large breasts is less acceptable than a woman who's bustline is naturally smaller.

Women obviously come in all shapes and all sizes. Many thousands of women want big busts and small waists. Many are willing to fork over thousands of dollars and go under the scalpel to get them. This obsession is not because of men. It is because of women's own insecurities and obsessions. Women choose whether or not to participate in the breast-obsessed society.

Eye Contact

A method utilized by a single woman to communicate to a man that she is interested in him. Despite being advised to do so, many women have difficulty looking a man directly in the eyes, not necessarily due to the shyness, but usually due to the fact that a woman's eyes are not located in her chest. (The Dictionary of Dating)

Canadian cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Bederman is a leading practitioner of breast augmentation. He classifies patients into three groups.

  • He says the first, from 22 to 29 years old, "are very fit with great bodies." As they mature and their physiology changes, Bederman says "those with very small breasts and wide hips and/or wide shoulders want a more balanced look."
  • The second group, typically from 33 to 40 years old, are unhappy with their breasts' "post-pregnancy appearance," he reported.

    Bederman believes these women's decisions "come from within and are not male driven." "There's a lack of self-esteem regarding body appearance and there's also peer pressure from friends who have had cosmetic surgery and are happy with the results."
  • He describes the third group as "ladies of the night," including exotic dancers who often request extreme augmentations like those illustrated at left.

    "Many say they'll have the implants made smaller at a later date and they do, in fact, return to have them reduced."

Small Breasted Women Want Big Busts

Canadian bartender Chrissy Steele told a reporter that her 36B breasts were a constant source of insecurity. "I would look through the Victoria Secret catalogue and want bras to look like that on me," she said. "Today, there's more of an emphasis on having a good body. After the feminist movement, men have brainwashed us back into the world of the body beautiful." She had her breasts enlarged to 36DD.

One revealing bit of social research looked into the effect of cosmetic surgery on how a woman's attractiveness was judged. One researcher [Kolick (1977)] found that men and women rated women who had their breasts enhanced as more "warm, sensitive, and sexually responsive." than the same women before surgery. People evidently think that a women with bigger breasts tend to also possess "good personalities."

A financial planner who preferred to remain anonymous says her enlarged breasts make her feel sexy. "The attention I get from men is amazing," says the 33-year-old who loves her new hour-glass figure. "I don't dress in sleazy clothes, but in form-fitting styles I get loads of looks and compliments. Beautiful breasts are a man magnet."

Big Busted Women Want Smaller Breasts

Ashley Davis of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has measurements that are the envy of many less well-endowed women: 32DD. However, she wrote, "As you can tell from my measurements, I have a very small body size, but a very large cup size. I'm horrified by the overwhelming desire girls and women have for bigger breasts. My back and shoulders hurt constantly, even when I'm lying down. I can't find clothes that fit properly, and all of my tops are stretched at the bust. I'm saving up right now for reduction surgery, after which I will be unable to breast feed. This saddens me, but I'm unable to continue living with this deformity much longer.

I'd rather have scars than big breasts. I can't wait to be able to go braless, and stand up straight without huge weights dragging me down. Don't take your body for granted. Be thankful if you are only an A or B cup. You have a youthful body type. You can throw on a push-up bra any time, look amazing, and be comfortable. I can't even find a swimsuit that fits. Don't enlarge your breasts. You'll only get back problems and unwanted attention."

Another very large chested woman, Marie of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had similar feelings. She would give anything to have small breasts. "I have natural very large breasts so I get a lot of unwanted attention from people. I just want to be normal", she tells us. Marriett in Queens, New York supports Marie's conclusiong. "If I were small enough, I would be able to go braless without a doubt and I feel terrible that I cannot do that. I am very envious and obsessed with women with smaller breasts. I am huge and hate it."

One women offered the opinion that, "Getting breast implants to improve your self image is ridiculous. If you feel that you need larger breasts to boost your self-esteem, or need larger breasts to feel more attractive to men, then you are basing your self-worth solely on what unknown men feel about your body (namely your breasts) and not basing it on what you yourself feel is important. No woman should need men to feel good about herself. And no woman should base her self-worth simply on how many eyes she can catch with her body alone."

It's entirely possible that women who report enhanced self-image after breast augmentation surgery are experiencing the positive association of those around them. In other words, it's not that the woman innately feels better about herself just because she had a boob job, but because her social milieu responds more affirmatively to her.

The Oversize Breast

But then there are the few women who go overboard, who somehow find plastic surgeons to go along with their oversize plans. The women become a walking circus side-show, because no matter where they go they elicit stares and gasps. One can only guess at these women's motivations, but certainly they must be financial, like the exotic dancers previously mentioned. Thus they can invest in cost of the surgery along with the custom, giant-sized bras and clothing that accompany their munificent chest size.

As of September 2003, all breasts implants in England were classified, for the first time, as "high risk" medical devices, instead of medium risk. Breast enlargement surgery costs about £4,000 in Britain but can be found for as little at £1,800 in Spain. About 4,000 women a year have breast implants in Britain, more than three quarters of them for cosmetic reasons. The average cost of a breast augmentation operation in the United States, including the cosmetic surgeon's and all other fees, was about $4,500.

Any woman who has implants the size necessary to create breasts larger than basketballs is risking life-threatening complications. Women who have very large busts, natural or surgically enhanced, complain that it is notoriously difficult to find a bra that fits well. They often have to have them custom made at a cost of US$60 to US$100. Woemn with very large breasts often experience neck and back pain, skin irritation, even skeletal deformities and breathing problems, as well as the unwelcome looks of men.

In the United States, before a plastic surgeon (or "aesthetic surgeon" as they like to be known) and perform cosmetic surgery, they must be board-certified by. Confusingly, there are several different boards. Just because a surgeon is board-certified, moreover, does not guarantee that he or she is experienced. In many parts of the world, cosmetic surgery is hardly regulated at all.

Celebrities Get Endowed

Singer Dolly Parton saw her natural contours begin to sag as she entered her fifth decade and had breast implants to reestablish her her naturally large chest. Pop diva Britney Spears underwent breast augmentation at the ripe age of 17, long before her physical maturity was assured. Anna Nicole Smith, though naturally well-endowed, had hers enhanced further, before her first Playboy photo shoot. After experiencing back pain, she had them reduced closer to her natural state.

Rapper and actress Queen Latifah underwent breast-reduction surgery during 2003, downsizing from her natural size E to a DD. Actress Drew Barrymore, 28, went under the knife at the age of 16 to give her figure a sleeker silhouette. In 1999, even Pamela Anderson, the quintessential rock 'n' roll groupie, had her 36DD breast implants removed, returning her to a 36C. (She has since had her implants enhanced again. Maybe she should just have a small, remote-controlled pump installed under her ribcage so she can enlarge and decrease her breast size as needed.) Both Drew and Pamela said they wanted to look "more natural." And many members of Hollywood's A list of actresses, such as Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow, have remained decidedly "natural."

Implants Need Upkeep

Statistics suggest that virtually all silicone-filled implants will leak after eight to 10 years, and even if that doesn't happen, there's still a host of things that can go wrong: rupture, infection, calcium deposits. And saline implants — though considered safer because their silicone shell is a lot thicker and saline can be harmlessly absorbed into the body should the implants leak — aren't foolproof. The saline can slosh around palpably inside the implant, and as for their failure, doctors often say, "It's not a matter of if, but when."

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, breast implants (augmentation) are the second most common plastic surgery procedure, with 249,641 performed in 2002 in the United States. Liposuction is the most common plastic surgery procedure. But since 1997, breast-reduction surgeries (mammoplasty) are up 162 percent, the largest increase of the top five surgical procedures. Breasts lifts (mastopexy) are also performed with increasing frequency. With 125,614 breast reductions performed in 2002, they were the fifth most common plastic surgery procedure.

Implant surgery techniques have advanced, permitting surgeons to make an incision in a women's naval and using laporscopy surgery techniques. Incisions are also made under the arm, under the breasts at the fold, around the aerola,

Men and women alike can react with animosity when they learn a woman's chest is not her own, but the work of her plastic surgeon. There are a couple of possible reasons for this:

  1. An enhanced bust turns a woman into a true sex object, not just in the minds of men, but in her actual body. The woman flaunts the reality that her breasts are sexual capital, reinforcing the underlying economics of sex. Some men and even other women may not like to have their faces rubbed in these realities. Women may resent the other woman "selling out" or even the fact that she has the means to take advantage of plastic surgery.
  2. Augmented breasts are really a doctor's handiwork, not God's. (Although the counter argument is that God gave us the scientific means to invent implants...) A man may be confused about whether he is responding to the woman or to her plastic surgeon's handiwork. He may feel manipulated in his attraction to the woman's assets and question the nature of the attraction, as if he is responding like Pavlov's dogs.

As science advances, there is no doubt that additional kinds of cosmetic surgery will be created.

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Toplessness Back in Fashion?