I shouldn’t have to defend my boob job, but here we go.
I begin by stating "feminism is for everyone." Surely this is not my original idea, but I intend to propagate it.
In the wake of the Trump-Pence election trauma that all of us are experiencing, women are bracing for a wider manner of ways in which we will be attacked for our body choices. While it might seem banal compared to reproductive freedom and racial equality in America, the boob job is one more way in which women can control what happens to "us," regardless of how "they" feel about it.
Let’s talk respectability politics, as they pertain to cosmetic surgery, aka "plastic surgery."
When I planned my own trip to the surgeon I kept it hush hush, mostly because I was determined to fill up my post-breastfeeding sacks of flesh with some silicone ta-tas, no matter what anyone else thought. Word crept out, and sure enough, plenty of people voiced their opinions on my body decisions.
"It’s not natural," said the white chick with dreadlocks and a nose ring. "God made you beautiful the way you are," said the dood with the tattooed arms. Ahem,
Humans have been modifying their bodies for thousands of years.
Teeth whitening, teeth bedazzling, hair cutting, hair dying, shaving, chest binding, liposuction, purposeful weight gain, hair implants, nail painting...I’m not an anthropologist, yet I know that different cultures and subcultures and countercultures have their own standards of beauty.
Big-boobed women are alternately adored and denigrated. It depends on who you ask, where you live, and during what decade or century.
It’s absurd to mock surgically enhanced women when you consider the innumerable ways in which we temporarily or permanently alter our bodies for aesthetics. Talon manicures, vajazzles, mohawks, tattoos, cosmetic tattoos, ear stretching, fake tans, real tans, diets, squat challenges, cleanses, lip rings, earrings, do you see where I’m going here?
"I like the way I look when I _______" is reason enough.
I’m formerly guilty of doing this: I am guilty of making excuses to justify my decisions. "I only got a boob job because I breastfed," or "She had cancer so it’s okay that she got a breast augmentation," or "They are trans and it makes them more passable," and all of these are excellent reasons for people to get their tits done, but neither I nor you require validation from the outside world to alter our own bodies.
I find people eager to justify my choice to work in the adult industry because I am a mother and I support my small family in this way: "She’s a sex worker, but it’s because she’s a single mother." (I worked in this industry long before having a baby.)
My dear fellow feminists, let’s cool it on the respectability politics, ey? Any person who was born with a vagina probably has experienced trauma due to their gender. Haven’t we suffered enough at the hands of a restrictive rape culture? I beg of you women, stop persecuting other women for their choices and freedoms.
When is it a bad idea to get a boob job?
I’m only concerned about someone’s decorative choices if it disrupts their life, or someone else’s.
If you go broke on your cosmetic surgery habit, you have a problem. If you get your talon nails filed so sharply that you stab your baby while changing its diaper, you have a problem. If you refuse to wash your hair until it’s a literal petri dish atop your head, you have a problem. Otherwise? I don’t care what you do to your body.
Plastic surgery is commonly conflated with narcissism, which selectively ignores the tattoo phenomenon of the last two decades. 36% of adults 18-25 in America have at least one tattoo, and approximately 4% of Americans in that age range have a breast augmentation. Tattoos, once considered purely subversive, are more commonplace than a boob job. Punk rawk.
"It’s not natural,"
types the SWERF/TERF/Fedora furiously on their man-made laptop or cell phone.
Bish please, that ain’t even an argument. Unless you hunt or grow all of your own food, live off the land without electricity, and make your own clothing, I don’t want to hear the word "natural." In a culture that relies on A/C, Google Maps, and preservative-laden food, it’s arbitrary to talk about what is "natural."
"It’s a waste of money"
is entirely subjective to your expenses. Most reputable cosmetic surgeons offer credit card options for payment, and really, a seven-thousand dollar breast surgery isn’t expensive, once you consider that your once a month $100 mani-pedi equals 7k after six years.
I don’t care what other women are spending their money on, I just hope that they are engaging in practical self-care. I bite my nails but my boob job has definitely improved my quality of life. Choices, choices.
I encourage you to appreciate diversity in your feminism, even if others’ body choices are not "for you."
There are plenty of women, and probably a few men, reading this who dislike their tits. And to them I say, it’s entirely up to you, and nobody else, to add to or remove anything from your own body.
"If you don’t like something about your body, you can try to change it."
This is what I have told my daughter when she watches me shave my legs, tweeze my brows and upper lip, color my hair, and do situps. Choice means that boys can wear blue or pink and that girls can wear blue or pink. And grown women can get breast augmentations, lifts, or reductions.
If you assume that a woman who pays to enhance her aesthetics is doing it for men, you are obviously taking away the agency of that woman, regardless of what your motives are. And much like slut-shaming, this big boob phobia is akin to stating, "make sure the other girl gets shamed."
Elle Stanger is a Portland based adult entertainer, lobbyist, and sex writer. She paid off her student loans before the age of thirty and doesn’t conventionally utilize her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology. Elle has published one book, “Strange Times: Tales from American Strippers,” co-hosts Slutwalk Portland, and hosts UnzippedPDX:Two Strippers And a Sex Therapist” podcast. Follow her on stripperwriter.com
This article was originally published at Stripper Writer. Reprinted with permission from the author.