Monday, January 28, 2008

TV Boobs

Never watch Extreme Makeover. Did that really need saying? I was innocently perched on the sofa this morning with a couple of hot buttered crumpets and a mug of tea not paying much attention to the TV when a "top cosmetic surgeon" suddenly appeared talking about breast reduction surgery (having just performed three - or is that six - for three women). This is what he said "breast reduction surgery is one of the most satisfying surgeries you can perform because the patient wakes up and suddenly they're not handicapped any more..." Yes ladies apparently larger than average boobs are a "handicap".

Better go and clean the crumpet and tea splatters off my TV screen now...


UneFemmePlusCourageuse said...

Oy. I heard a radio ad yesterday that literally said: "Breast augmentations are our most popular procedure, but we also perform a lot of liposuctions. We just want all women to feel beautiful."
Women are beautiful without $6,000 surgery, thank you.
And yes, large breasts are not a handicap--though they can cause back problems later in life. That's probably what the guy meant--though handicap still feels like the wrong word choice.

Iceman said...

"Never watch Extreme Makeover. Did that really need saying?"

Cruella's favorite show is "The Girls Next Door".

"Yes ladies apparently larger than average boobs are a "handicap"."

He makes a living off women who feel that their bodies are horribly flawed and are willing to spend thousands of dollars and undergo surgery to change them. What do you expect him to say:

1. You don't need this procedure. You are beautiful and unique the way you are. Don't hate yourself for not looking like airbrushed images of size-zero 18-year olds.

2. You should really consider the risks involved, and plastic surgery really doesn't make sense except in extreme cases where it really does interfere with your daily activities.

3. Ask your male friends if they think it's a handicap!

Cruella said...

As a friend of mine pointed out yesterday "Hey if big boobs are a handicap, I want a sticker so I can park near the shops!"

Unknown said...

Hey, Cruella, I blogged about the first "Extreme Makeover" that, to my memory, ever occurred on American t.v., back in 2003. Considering your interests, you might want to read it here:

Jemima Aslana said...

To me it has been a handicap - or perhaps I should say 'they have been'. The back pains aren't onl caused later in life. I'm 23 and have had back pains for years.

I don't know exactly what kind of experience women with smaller than average boobs have, I hear they feel they can't live up to the image of beauty and perfecion. Well, guess what? Neither can those of us who have big boobs. Mainly beause big boobs from nature's hand don't perk up like false big boobs do. And for some reason, when there's something to show everyone and his dog feel compelled to comment even if I wasn't actually showing them off. I was wearing a tight fitting turtle neck sweater. Yes, one could see my shapes, but it was a blody long-sleeved turtle necked sweater. And yet I was told it was inappropriate clothing for making a study-trip to such a religious country as Ireland. (that was offensive not just to me, but to the Irish as well).

Apparently the moment a woman has shapes it is inappropriate to reveal this fact, however modestly, in any way. And you say it isn't a handicap? Bullshit, honey.

We can easily agree that a plastic surgeon's statements about his livelihood should be weighed carefully, but saying that calling big boobs a handicap is too much I have to disagree. Mine have never been anything but a handicap, and that is absolutely what I would call them, I figure I'm not the only one.

I have yet to find a single sports bra that holds things together well enough for me to actually exercise without intense pain. Not just discomfort - pain. When I had to for gym class and such I wore a normal underwire bra, for the stability it provided the underside of my boobs, and then over it a sports bra a cup size too small, in an effort to keep things under control. It was futile bt it was the bes you can do.

I shan't make judgments on what the doc meant when he called big boobs a handicap. His thoughts are unknown to me obviously, but I can easily imagine that his patients have used that very word on their very own. One day if/when I make a decision about getting the reduction I've been wanting for years now, I'll be calling it a handicap as well. So while I, too, hold a great deal of suspicion towards plastic surgeons, I don't think this is the detail to take issue with at all.

Believe me, to some big boobs ARE a handicap. No question about it.

Cruella said...

How interesting Jemima. The back pain thing I accept, if it's getting to the point where it's a real problem, then it's an issue to be addressed and I would accept in an extreme case it could be considered a handicap.

The other two points though just made me jump out of my seat in horror.

Dorky blokes staring at you and being rude and people having an issue with your appearance IS NOT A HANDICAP! It's their problem. Would it be a handicap if you were victimised for being ginger or having freckles? Of course not. A handicap is something that affects your abilities, not the way others treat you.

And not being able to find a sports bra that fits well again IS NOT A HANDICAP! That's like saying "nothing fits me in Topshop, I must be obese". The shops sell whatever they make money selling, they don't define what shape we should be.

I sympathise that sometimes society can make us feel as though there's something wrong with us. But we have to understand that sometimes society is wrong.

I recommend a couple of instant remedies:

1) Bravissimo for underwear, clothes and nightwear and Less Bounce for sports bras (both available online). The right bra might help with the back pain too.

2) Holidaying at a Japanese onsen/nudist beach/etc where everyone walks around naked. Nothing makes you realise how absolutely normal you are like hanging out with other naked people. Very liberating...

Cruella said...

Oh and it may well have been the patients themselves who first used the term, but as a qualified doctor you would expect the surgeon to recognise that as a clear symptom of BDD and refer to a specialist.

Steffi Schütze said...

Please, don't assume right away that its only a problem of not feeling beautiful.
Big breasts really can be called a handicap even aside from back problems or people being mean and stupid (you are right, it's really their problem, but why can't they leave me alone with it?). They are just huge, they get incredibly warm and sweaty not only on hot summer days, they are always in the way, I can't sleep on my stomach, sometimes they like to swell up to an extra cup while hurting like hell. I'm carrying an extra 5 pounds of fat on my chest don't tell it's all in my head.
I understand where the surgeons statement came from. Maybe he should have said it different like "They feel they have lost a handicap" but people sometimes just dont find the exact correct words when they are being interviewed.

Cruella said...

I think there's a difference here between having above-average boobs and having boobs so large that they become a handicap.

I mean in the same way big feet aren't a handicap though you could argue that were they smaller you could run faster, look more attractive and buy shoes on the high street. On the other hand (foot?) there is a point (a debatable point) at which your feet are so big it's really a handicap and you need help.

I think the same applies to boobs. Of course there are a minority of women out there who really have trouble with their boobs. I'm not at all convinced that having to sleep on your back or getting sweaty in hot weather constitute a handicap but of course it is a question of degree of problem.

I guess what I think is:

a) Big boobs are not necessarily a handicap. They may be an inconvenience or a bit of a hassle but unless they cause specific debilitating problems "handicap" is definitely too strong a term.

b) Surgery is not something to be entered into lightly. Supportive clothing, if necessary tailor-made is a better option than surgery.

c) I can't help thinking that the rush to define big boobs as a handicap owes a little something to misogyny. It's lady-bits, there must be something wrong with them, they're out of control, quick cut them off.

Now what most of the commentors on here seem not to have noticed is that I've got pretty big boobs myself (G cup) and they are not a handicap. Sure they get sweaty - so do my feet and my armpits and groin and everything else if it's hot enough. Sure I need a good sportsbra - sometimes two - for energetic sports. At night I generally wear Bravissimo's soft sling pyjamas but that's more in case I have to answer the door in early in the morning than for comfort while sleeping.

They can be a huge problem, a doctor in Japan once refused to treat me (suspected collar bone fracture, fortunately turned out to be just extensive bruising) because he didn't want to go near them (ha ha ha, he had no idea I spoke Japanese can could understand him telling this to his colleague).

As Iceman said earlier "plastic surgery really doesn't make sense except in extreme cases where it really does interfere with your daily activities".

The women in the documentary (the one we were talking about in the original post) were not super-super busty, just a bit bigger than average.

Iceman said...

"Now what most of the commentors on here seem not to have noticed is that I've got pretty big boobs myself (G cup) and they are not a handicap."

I''noticed', but didn't think it was appropriate for me to bring that up!

"As Iceman said earlier "plastic surgery really doesn't make sense except in extreme cases where it really does interfere with your daily activities"."

I would guess that burn victims or people with deformities are probably about 5% of people who get plastic surgery and the other 95% don't need it and should really see a therapist instead of a surgeon.

Steffi Schütze said...

Aw, man, I think blogger swallowed my second comment! And it took me so long to write it, (English is not my mother tongue)!
Anyway, I wanted to say, that I can agree with your latest comment, Cruella. Also I wanted to say, that I feel a little bad now, because I've been reading your blog for a while now, and mostly I really enjoyed it, and my first comment is a negative one. But some statements here struck me as: "Oh well, it can't be really that bad, you're just mislead by a false beauty ideal", I find that patronizing. It may be true for some women, but there is the danger of generalization, made up statistics also really don't help here. I'm pretty sure, I'd feel better with some cups less, and that's not mainly because the everyday harassment would be less.
But I think I may have given the doctor to much benefit of the doubt. I don't know how it is in Britain, but here in Germany advertisement for medical procedures is not allowed. So these makeover shows are actually surreptitious advertising and doctors pay to be in them. So his comment might have been not him trying to be insightful (and overdoing it a little), but him dramatizing the subject for advertising reasons.