Flipping through my car radio on the way to 12 Galaxies tonight, I came across a program touting breast implants. It was Lovelines. But no Dr. Drew, no Adam Carolla. No, they had this creep from Dr. 90210, Dr. Robert Ray.
Right away, he was sketching me out, talking about how he believes silicone implants are totally safe. And they feel more real. While saline implants bubble and grow algae - ew ew ew! Hey, I have an idea. Maybe that's because you're not supposed to put foreign substances IN YOUR BREASTS, but that's just a theory. I have an aunt who had some leaky old silicone implants, so she will probably beg to differ on his first point.
What made me hate this guy more than anything was his charming, warm, fatherly tone of voice. That "bedside manner" doctor voice that makes people trust him. What bothers me so much about "cosmetic surgery" is the it makes doctors - who are considered much smarter than the rest of us, and therefore, trustworthy - aestheticians, and aesthetics is all subjective. So this guy can lie to and manipulate insecure young women with ease. I could punch him just for that. It's like cigarette CEOs - how do you live with yourself? It's one thing for plastic surgeons to help burn victims or cancer patients or people with genetic deformities. It's another thing all together to make your living selling surgery to healthy people.
And, all these women who call, they have quavering, insecure voices. If I took them to a Woodhull Institute retreat, Naomi Wolf would demand to know: Who took away your voice? These women are already beaten down.
Melanie, 18, says she's an A, but she just want to be a larger B, that's all. But her friends and family say, "Wait til you're 21" - you might still be growing.
This creep says, "Actually, by 18 or 19, your breasts are more or less done growing. So you're fine for surgery. If you look at your mom and dad's side of the family, and you see no breasts, you're not likely to grow any. Young men are often cruel, and so are young women. Now that breast implants are so safe, why not?"
1. Perhaps her family is also talking about mental growth. Maybe she'll go to college, get some self-esteem, learn how to accept herself, take a women's studies class. It's her BRAIN that needs to grow, not her boobs.
2. HAVING AN A CUP DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE NO BREASTS!!!! You have breasts the same as any woman, goddamnit! This is not a problem that needs to be fixed. Oh, this makes me so angry I want to spit nails. A woman who lacks protruding breast tissue would be an AAA, and still a woman!!
3. People tease you, so that means you should change yourself to fit THEIR standards? How about finding new people to talk to? How about learning to love yourself in the face of adversity? Is that a lesson anyone wants to learn these days when you can buy your problems away?
4. SURGERY is not safe, like buying a water bra. When I went in to get my sinuses fixed, I found out just going under could kill me.
Oh, oh, oh - THEN he tells her. "You've picked a pretty size, but it's not the size of choice in L.A.!" And he tried to paint her as so provincial for wanting a B cup. Then him and his sidekick "Striker" say that most models are a C cup, which is bullshit. Maybe most actresses, but not models.
Caller 2, Lena had ALREADY gone from an A to a C, and now she wants BIGGER. Lena is sort of an idiot, because she thinks her C cups are "too round, they don't look real." Yeah, that's because they're implants. But she's also complaining of losing sensation in one nipple, while the other just hurts. But she doesn't want them out - she wants MORE.
So Dr. Creepy blathers about the dangers of addiction to surgery. He says, "I could make you Miss Universe, so of course it's addicting." And then about different shapes of implants blah blah blah. He never addressed this loss of sensation, which you know, should convince most women they never want to do this, ever. Because to me, one of the best parts about being a woman is having your breasts touched. They're not just there to simulate men visually or make other women envious. They are for MY pleasure. My toys.
Also, there's this ongoing joke on "Lovelines" about women lying about their weight on air. So if I called and said "I am 5-3 and I weight 126," which is true, they would say, "Oh, you're 5-0 and 200 pounds and that's the root of all your problems. You're short and fat." So Striker starts to pull this on Lena, and Dr. Creepy oils, "Oh, no, she sounds very pretty." She sounds pretty??
That's when they went to a commercial and I put on the soul station and pull up at the club. But I was fuming. If I had listened any longer, I would have called and yelled.
You know what? I don't think anyone talks about the struggles of A-cup women, so I am going to become our goddamn advocate. There's always discussion about eating disorders, which is excellent work being done. E.D.s kill and are talked about very very seriously, as they should be.
But what of the waste and dangers of all this needless surgery? What of feeling so bad about yourself that you have to get surgery to physically alter your appearance? Where does this come from and why doesn't anyone try to STOP IT? It's seen as such a light frivolous problem, and it's not. It's a sickness.
Let me tell you, you get shit when you're an A-cup. You get looked over at junior high dances when every other girl has developed, and you haven't. You have boys call you railroad tracks, you get mocked by girls with more curves, you have cleavage in your face when you're just buying groceries. People say dumb shit all the time, like my aunt, who goes, "If I were 10 years younger and had bigger boobs, I would go for him." You have lingerie clerks sniff at you when you dare ask if something comes in a size smaller than 34B. Anything lacy at Victoria's Secret comes stuffed with padding in anything small.
But it comes from all sides. When I was a stick-shaped 18-year-old, I got hated on for being so thin. That whole, "You think you're so hott because you're so model thin." Actually, no, I kind of felt like shit. I hated not having curves and being compared to boys. High metabolism - it happens. And for the record, when I got older, and thanks to Paxil, fatter, I still had smaller breasts that were outpaced by my rolls of stomach fat - most of which I lost post-withdrawal. As a college student, Kate Moss made me so relieved I could cry. I was convinced when I was young that attractive guys would never want to sleep with me.
But, and here's the point: I COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG. I've been with all sorts of desirable men. I needed a new way to think of myself, not a new body. Like when Mykee said I was too flat-chested and fat for him. I needed a new boyfriend, not a new body. I don't know why no one is teaching girls this. That sexy comes in all shapes and sizes, that everyone was born with a unique and special body, that gives you gifts through touching and sensation. There doesn't need to be a competition between the Marilyn Monroes and the Kate Mosses. There's room at the table for everyone. There's nothing wrong with you that has to be fixed. Look at me, I don't shave my legs or fix my nails ever. It doesn't deter men, ever. What's wrong with this society that we encourage young girls to change themselves forever when they're very likely grow out of the bad self-image?
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has an encounter with mainstream society gets beaten down when they're young. But you have two choices. You can take a beating and stay true to yourself, or you can disappear into the herd.
And now for some A-cup power: Look at all our beautiful sisters in Hollywood! Keira Knightly, Debra Messing, Shirley Manson, Natalie Portman, Robin Wright Penn, Erykah Badu, Zhang Ziyi. Sometimes people like to comfort A cups with the lack: You have no reason to have men stare at you, you have no need for a bra, you have nothing in the way of sports or sleeping on your belly. But I prefer to champion what we DO have: awesome, wonderful, cute REAL breasts that are unique. Let's give it up for cute, perky A cups!
Sigh. We're living in a world with The Swan, Extreme Makeovers and Howard Stern hosting TV shows where women have every aspect of their appearance picked apart. Then there's exploitive creeps like the guys from American Apparel and "Girls Gone Wild." Then people say, "Gloria Steniem, she said that body image stuff in the '70s - that's so old news." It needs to be said again. It needs to be said a million times and for the girls born in the '80s who didn't hear it the first time.
And of course, it's a problem, too that women's or girls' magazine don't show fleshy, curvy women, and by curves, I mean bellies. Soft bellies and big thighs and ghetto booties. Not just pin-up ideals. We need more Margaret Chos and Corin Tuckers and Beth Dittos and less models, less Photoshopping. The Barbie ideal which divides us is not real womanhood at all.
I need to start my site NOW. Anyone want to give me a million dollars?