Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes but if you asked any woman what she’d most like to change about her body ‘MY BOOBS’ would most likely be the resounding answer. Whether you think they’re too big, too small or if they’ve changed because of pregnancy or breast-feeding, it seems like nobody is completely satisfied. But where do these thoughts come from? And how can we try and get over them?

In today’s world of airbrushed models and Playboy pinups, it’s no wonder us girls are getting down on ourselves about our looks. Since we’re competing with something that’s not ‘real’ then it’s no wonder we’re left feeling like we don’t measure up. In this Hub I will explore the reasons why so many of us can feel down about our breasts and suggest other, more healthy thoughts which we could try and replace these negative feelings with.

I went in to hospital to have keyhole surgery earlier this year – I needed to have my gallbladder removed as I was having problems with gallstones. Whilst I was waiting to be taken down to surgery I got talking to another woman who was also waiting. I was twenty years old, all alone and miles away from home – needless to say, I was feeling like a brave little solider. Talking to this other lady, however, changed my mind about what bravery was.

She told me she was there to have a double mastectomy – her mother and sister had both died of breast cancer and she wanted to make sure she avoided the same fate. She seemed happy enough, chatting away to me and, although there was also a hospital counsellor there to talk through some stuff with her, she seemed remarkably calm and composed. I wondered if I’d seem just as calm if I was in her position.

Breasts have become so entwined with what it means to be a woman, so much so that many women experience depression after undergoing a mastectomy – which can be performed either as a treatment for breast cancer or as a preventative measure, among other reasons. I wondered how I would feel if I had to undergo this type of operation, and I wondered if I would still feel like a woman, like myself, afterwards. Then I realised that though I might not feel like it after an operation of this kind, of course I would be the same person.

The woman I was talking to in the waiting room wasn’t going to suddenly become a different person when she came round, all that would be different about her is that she would have a radically reduced risk of developing breast cancer. I don’t know if she was married, but if she was I’m sure her husband would want to live out the rest of his days with her, with or without breasts, than see her put in an early grave because of cancer. When looking at it like that, our breasts are just this small, virtually insignificant part of us which pales when compared to our personalities. So why do so many of us still often feel down and depressed because of them?

The Role of the Media

When thinking about why we let the size and shape of our breasts get us down, one thing that immediately springs to mind is the media. All of us, whether we choose to be or not, are constantly surrounded by images of beautiful, airbrushed women. It’s easy to start to feel down about our appearances when we compare ourselves to these women, but we must try to remember that, though they might also be beautiful in real life, the pictures we see of them are airbrushed and therefore not a true representation of reality. These women may truly be beautiful, but they also have flaws, cellulite, and slightly podgy bits they would probably change if they could – just like all of us.

In a world where looks are pretty much everything, which is unfortunately the world we live in and even more so for celebrities, it’s important to put your best foot forward. For celebrities, this often means investing their seemingly endless riches in cosmetic surgery. For some of them this may include breast augmentation surgery (or a boob job, if you prefer) which serves to blur the lines of what we see in magazines and what we see in reality even further. These celebrities can’t really be blamed for wanting to look perfect, so much so that they’re willing to go under the knife, with magazines picking on their every flaw it’s only natural that they’d want to try to ‘perfect’ themselves as much as possible.

It is, however, understandable why this would make normal people like us feel down. We’re constantly bombarded with these images of what is ‘beautiful’ and ‘desirable’ and told that we should try to emulate them as much as possible. The media isn’t of course the only culprit, but neither is insecurity about our breasts and an increase in the number of breast augmentation surgeries the only thing it is blamed for – an increase in the number of people suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, is also partially blamed on what we see in the media.

Porn and Playboy

It’s hardly fair to blame the media, by which I mainly mean magazines, television shows and movies, without at least giving a nod in the direction of porn. We live in a world where sex sells and, since the popularisation of the internet, it’s become ridiculously easy to get your hands on pornography. As a result porn is where most young people now have their first sexual ‘experience’ and see graphic sexual images for the first time.

For these young people, whose bodies likely haven’t matured fully yet, I believe that porn can be truly damaging, especially for girls. Most porn isn’t exactly geared towards nor respectful of women which, although it may affect a girl’s self-esteem and views on sex in other ways, might not change her opinion towards her breasts. The actresses often seen in pornography might, though.

If you’ve ever seen any porn, have you ever seen any with women with regular or small sized breasts? Probably not. Most porn stars have undergone at least some surgery and most likely a boob job. In some cases, the surgery is so extreme that, as opposed to looking more attractive, the women end up looking disfigured. This isn’t just porn stars either, who, through the use of great parental internet controls, your children might avoid seeing online. It’s also models, exotic dancers and strippers who have gone under the knife, sometimes in such an extreme way that they may now look disfigured, as is the case with Chelsea Charms, a dancer and stripper who, thanks to surgery, now requires bra size 164XXX. It maybe even more difficult to protect your children from seeing images such as this – if they really are curious, all they have to do is go to the local newsagents and flick through one of the magazines from the top shelf.

Breast Augmentation Surgery

Every year approximately 250,000 woman undergo breast augmentation surgery in the US alone. Although a number of these may be because of real health concerns, a vast majority of them are not. Some women may have plastic surgery in order to correct any damage that may have been caused by an accident or illness, such as cancer, which would be referred to as ‘reconstructive surgery’ if this was the case. Others still may undergo breast augmentation surgery if their breasts have naturally grown so large that they are now causing them immense pain and preventing them from leading an ordinary life.

I think we can agree, however, that most women who have breast augmentation surgery are people who choose to have it, pay thousands of pounds and go through weeks of pain for it, and do it simply for ‘vain’ reasons. Though I say vain, I don’t really believe that’s true, as I believe it has a lot more to do with insecurity than anything else. I would just like to make it clear that I am in no way passing judgement over anyone who has had breast augmentation surgery or who is considering having it done. In fact, if I could afford it and I knew I would be satisfied with the results, I can’t say that I wouldn’t go under the knife myself. My purpose in this Hub is merely to look at some of the possible reasons why so many women contemplate or undergo breast augmentation surgery, and to look at possible alternatives instead.

Who Gets Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Though there are many different types of people who may consider undergoing breast augmentation surgery, research has shown that there are certain types of women who are more likely to go under the knife. There have been many studies in this area, notably ‘Body Image Concerns of Breast Augmentation Patients’(2003) and ‘Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Cosmetic Surgery’(2006), and many of their results have been similar. According to this research, the type of woman who is most likely to undergo surgery is a young woman who has previously suffered with bullying about her physical appearance, or who has suffered from mental illnesses such as depression or body dysmorphia in the past, and who is insecure about her body image.

Since this is the case, if you are seriously considering undergoing surgery, perhaps you should sit down and give it a rethink. Is it possible you could have a mental illness or are suffering with low self-esteem? If this is the case, it might be worth consulting with a doctor or mental health professional before you speak to a plastic surgeon.

The study ‘Excess Mortality from Suicide and other External Causes of Death Among Women with Cosmetic Breast Implants ‘ (2007) supported the findings from the previously mentioned research, but what was discovered here was even more troubling. On average, women who have undergone breast surgery (not for reconstructive or other health reasons) are three times more likely to commit suicide. As well as this, women who have breast implants are also much more likely to suffer from alcoholism, or to abuse prescription or recreational drugs.

What’s important to note is that the breast implants aren’t the cause of these mental health problems, but rather it is likely that women who choose to undergo surgery are also much more likely to develop these illnesses in the future.

Possible Complications of Breast Augmentation Surgery

As well as the associated risk of developing a mental illness, there are also many complications that can arise as a direct result of the surgery. These include: infection, haematoma, more pain or swelling than expected, altered sensation in the breast, problems breastfeeding, deflation of the implant and problems with the aesthetics of the implant – for example if the implants are visible or asymmetrical. For this reason, it is absolutely vital to discuss all of your concerns with your plastic surgeon, and ensure that they offer a great follow-up program, so that they will help assist in your recovery should anything go wrong. To try and avoid any of the complications happening to you, it is always best to follow the aftercare advice of your surgeon to the letter.

Even though all kinds of plastic surgery are becoming cheaper and more readily available, in countries such as the USA and the UK the procedure is followed up with necessary follow-up care which, as you might imagine, increases the cost of the surgery. In order to avoid this, many women have decided to go abroad in order to find a cheaper deal. Though this might seem reasonable, it’s very much debatable whether this really is a good option. If you receive cheaper treatment whilst abroad, it’s likely that there are a few corners being cut – you may end up with a doctor who is not highly qualified and whom you don’t trust, you may not have any access to aftercare and, as has happened in so many cases, the surgery may be botched completely.

We are what we are – let’s learn to love it!

What Men Think

Although you might say you’re considering getting a breast augmentation for yourself and couldn’t give a damn what any man thinks about it, I still thought it might be a nice idea to share the thoughts of some of the men of Hubpages. I posed a question recently asking the men of Hubpages how important it was to them that a woman has large breasts. The overwhelming consensus? Not very important at all!

Old Empresario tells us that it’s not a woman’s breasts that are important, but rather that men are genetically programmed to be attracted to women with ‘wider hips and shapely thighs’… when it comes down to it, we are just animals are all and procreation is the main goal of any species.

Cre8tor and Hezekiah told us that it was all about proportion, with smaller breasts probably looking better, or at least more natural, on a more petite woman.

JThomp42managed to sum up the opinions of most of the guys there saying that, while we’re attracted to looks, that doesn’t necessarily mean large breasts and it’s a ‘beautiful heart and spirit’ that counts.

Junkseller really impressed me with his answer ‘Looking only at someone’s skin is like looking at the surface of a lake. Mostly we just see the reflection of ourselves.’ After all, surely it says more about a guy who’s judging a woman more on her chest size than her beautiful personality? Who wants to date a guy like that? He also added that a great smile would be all it would take for a woman to be attractive to him, and traits like rudeness are what’s going to turn him off, not small breasts!

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of the guys who so honestly answered my question, you were all very helpful!