Over at Respectful Insolence, Orac discusses an article where a scientist has spent his days shut away, slaving endlessly over a data set–of pictures of topless models. Why? To produce the perfect boob job, of course–or as the article puts it, “to help Hollywood look even more perfect.”
Great. Just what we need.
According to the researcher, the ideal breast “…is a 45 to 55 per cent proportion – that is the nipple sits not at the half-way mark down the breast, but at least 45 per cent from the top.” Like it wasn’t enough before to worry about them being too perky, or too saggy, or uneven…now the nipple has to be a certain percentage up on the breast as well? Thank you, Mr Mallucci, for your meticulous research.
This ticks me off even more than it usually would because a reader had just sent me a link to this story in US magazine about Heidi Montag and her “revenge plastic surgery.” Apparently this girl is on a reality show and despite her already having fame and, I assume, some degree of wealth from that, well, her breasts were just too small. So she decided to have them augmented. My issue isn’t so much with that procedure itself as it is with her attitude toward it, and what her comments and studies like the one above say about our culture and the emphasis we place on the “perfect” set of breasts and body:
[US magazine]: Take Us back to April 2, the day of surgery.
[Montag]”I woke up, and it was like Christmas: I was a nervous wreck, but I was just so excited at the same time. Spencer said, “I’m so proud of you.” It was like he was wishing me well off to school: “Love you! Bye!” But surgery is a very big deal. Right before I went in, I was like, What if I don’t wake up? Oh, this is scary. Then I thought, I don’t care. If I don’t wake up, it’s worth it. I just wanted it so badly.”
Yes, it’s better to be dead than to be flat-chested. And even if you’re larger than an A cup, you should still feel bad about yourself because your breasts aren’t “perfect.” And heaven forbid it goes the other way, and you’re naturally endowed with larger breasts and are bigger than a size four, yet somehow manage to become a respected and award-winning actress: they’ll just photoshop the hell out of you anyway.
I certainly acknowledge my own self-image problems when I was growing up, but I worry that it’s even worse for girls today. I knew too many girls in college who had eating disorders, and it doesn’t seem like the “size zero” standard was in vogue then as much as it is now. I try to teach my daughter that beauty is so much more than physical, and to appreciate our variety in shapes and sizes–but how can I compete with the “boys always made fun of me for being so flat so I went and bought me some implants and who cares if I die during surgery because I’d rather be dead than flat-chested” mentality?