Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Sunday Times Re-Ignites the Breast Implant Debate (and my Rage)

Oh, Sunday Times Magazine. I used to think you were so magnificent……

For those of you unfamiliar with The Sunday Times Magazine – They have regular columnists who include the resplendent Caitlin Moran (who is unwaveringly entertaining, articulate and right about absolutely everything). Every week we’re treated to the equally diverting ‘Things You Only Know if You’re Single’ (v.g.) and ‘I don’t give a monkey’s about…….’ (we do love a rant). I always try, and fail, not to enjoy Giles Coran’s restaurant review (he was a big mean-y during a radio debate with my Body Gossip co-Captain Ruth Rogers and I am nothing if not fiercely loyal).

There’s also this someone who calls herself Daisy Waugh. Until last Sunday I had no opinion of her at all. I couldn’t remember a single thing she had written. I vaguely remembered her photo – Slim, blonde, face pulled a little too tightly, slightly smug general demeanour.

Blog readers, this is a direct quote from her 29/02/12 column:

“It’s no surprise that the recent unhappy breast-implant leakage has the fleece-wearing, cake-eating, boob-sagging flag bearers for ‘inner beauty’ smacking their lips with told-you-so glee.”

She went on to suggest that any ‘normal’ person with sufficient income would opt to have any surgical procedure in the pursuit of youth and that breast implants are ‘self-improvement’.

Breast implants are not ‘self-improvement’. They could be, depending on your point of view ‘boob improvement’. They will not ‘improve’ your mind, character or disposition, however much those adverts for cosmetic surgery companies attempt to persuade us otherwise. Having two lumps of plastic shoved under your skin cannot make you more successful, more loved or more worthy.

Of course, there are exceptions to my condemnation of breast surgery. I believe strongly that implants should continue to be used for the purpose for which they were invented, i.e. reconstruction of breasts lost to cancer.

Neither will I ‘do a Daisy Waugh’ and make sweeping generalisations about the people who opt to go under the knife for purely aesthetic purposes. It would be so easy for me to condemn them all as vain, vacuous, lazy, wag-wannabe, pneumatic, attention seeking laughing stocks. But I’m possessed enough of reality to realise that this isn’t the case.

One thing is for certain – We shouldn’t be asking “what would you 'have done' if you had the money?” rather we should be asking “what WOULDN’T you 'have done' if we didn’t live in such an insanely body image obsessed culture?”.

Breast implants take something which should be for the pleasure of the owner, i.e. our breasts, and turn them into objects of sexual gratification for another party. Our bodies are the only thing we truly own and they are there for more than simply looking “good” . They are there to allow us to do the things we want to do with our lives – to run, to laugh, to shag – If they happen to look pretty that’s an unexpected bonus.

We now live in a world where the average teenager is blithely unaware of what a natural breast actually looks like – so saturated are we with perfectly spherical, round, hard artificial silicone substitutes.

The PIP implants scandal is very sad, and I have genuine sympathy for the women embroiled in it. But, by the same token, I’m pleased that this story has come to light – Breast enhancement was starting to be perceived, not only as an inevitability, a part of one’s ‘grooming’ routine, but also as an entirely risk free procedure. I hope now that anyone considering a medical procedure for purely cosmetic reasons might have been given a reason to pause.

Daisy Waugh, I do not own a fleece. My partiality to cake is no more unusual than your average person. I have a blinding pair of natural norks. Heck, I even wear makeup and heels. But I am still an advocate of inner beauty, because it’s so much more important than the outer version. It takes 10 minutes to paint my face in the morning. But it’s taken 30 years to develop my character.


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  2. Quite clearly there is a connection between Daisy Waugh and the cosmetic surgery industry.

    Her attitude that breast implants are simply a way a woman can improve herself, is a classic example of misogyny.

    I am sick of the view being promoted by stupid people, both men and women, that natural breasts aren't beautiful in all their various shapes and sizes; and in fact should be pointing out like missiles.

    As you say, Natasha, in this excellent response to Daisy Waugh; "We now live in a world where the average teenager is blithely unaware of what a natural breast actually looks like"

    This is evidenced every day, from my three neices, who seem to think that unless they look like a clothes manikin, they are in fact ugly!

    All are fixated by the size and shape of their breasts, in a negative way. Thankfully none are considering breast implants.

    But given that they are 17, 19, and 21 it is alarming to say the least.

    I have no doubt that as the media, helped by idiots like Daisy Waugh, push cosmetic surgery and false images of both men and women; body image is going to be a major cause of mental health problems amongst women for the foreseeable future.

    I am also very concerned on the effect all this has on men and their image of what a woman should look like and indeed the conflict between what they naturally find attractive, and what they are TOLD they MUST like.

    Since I was a teenager, many years ago, I and other friends were always accused of liking 'fat girls', simply because we liked 'girls' to have curves and natural hair and little make-up.

    Whilst there is nothing at all wrong, or in my view unattractive about naturally fat women, or men, you can see how even in the late 60's the idea that women with curves were 'fat' (in a negatvie way); was the promoted opinion.

    Young men are now being told that women should be totally hairless and have breasts like missiles and shaped like footballs!

    Daisy Waugh and her ilk have a lot to answer for and need challenging and exposing for the sickening and misogynistic values they promote.