It Happened to Me: I'm A Feminist With Fake T*ts

Silicone DDs in the same body with a brain that produces legitimate, well-reasoned criticisms of the patriarchy is kind of a hard sell, and I get it.

Nov 12, 2012 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

 

 

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Breast augmentation totally solves your problem, if your problem is having small breasts.

I consider myself a feminist: I sometimes say things are “problematic” when they’re fucked up. So I totally got it when, as research for an assignment in our Women’s Studies course, my classmate did a striptease on stage during Amateur Night at a titty bar. 

She had difficulty holding back tears as she bent over naked to collect the dollar bills thrown at her. She got sick to her stomach. And she became the official badass of the entire department. 

If I was smarter, I’d have gotten my breast implants right then -- called them “meta,” said I was using my body itself as a canvas for social commentary -- something like that. I’d have had a whole decade more life in which to enjoy this totally awesome new rack of mine -- and probably gotten a better grade in that class, too. 

Now I know that those lectures on “the male gaze” and the commercialism of female sexuality really should’ve come from the full-time strippers in that bar. From the women whose choices we were simultaneously critiquing and mimicking. Strippers probably learn more about being female in one week of work than any of us did while earning a degree. But had I talked to them, I would’ve immediately disregarded their perspective -- because their fake breasts negated all feminist credibility, yes, but also to safely retreat to the less messy feminism you find in textbooks. 

Yes, “Operation Strip for Your Grade” was ballsy. And it was traumatic. It allowed the Women’s Studies department to vicariously try on overt objectification like a pair of shoes. And I don’t think it was out of need to identify or understand so much as to judge and write reports. No one wrote a paper on the justification or motivations of the male audience at a strip club. 

Say what you will about my decision to finally get implants -- 10 years is a long time to debate whether you should have something you want. Or rather, whether you should want something you want. I used to fantasize during sex about how it would feel to have big tits. For all of my 20s, I was ashamed to admit that I wanted big breasts -- almost as much as I was ashamed of my little ones.

Of course, I told myself the real issue was my self-confidence. I even wondered whether pining away for those disgusting porn-star breasts that only served the patriarchy was itself causing my self-hatred. 

But you know what I learned from a teenage eating disorder? Not how to love my body unconditionally, nor how to accept it for the perfect, unique beauty it is. I learned that when you eat a cupcake, you can either barf it back up, run three extra miles to make up for it, or enjoy the taste of a cupcake because you wanted one, because you really like cupcakes. 

Sure, I’d have rather reached enlightenment. But after all the reading, the consciousness-raising, the protests, the cunnilingus and the incendiary backpack buttons, after all that theory and finally getting up the courage to leave the Mormon Church over their treatment of women, I still just really wanted big fat tits. 

I desperately wanted the weight of breasts attached to me. I wanted to let go of the need to be marathon-runner thin just to make up for my lack of breast tissue. I love running, but you know what’s easier and prettier than training for a marathon? Sitting around on your curvy ass just having curves. 

Maybe it was the years between me and academia, but by the age of 31, I had no answer for my boyfriend when he asked why I felt breast augmentation was different than the braces, tattooing, piercing, hair dying, head-shaving, dieting and exercising I’d already done, all simply because I wanted to. Because I thought I’d like how I looked better that way. I wondered why I was afraid of oppressing myself with cosmetic surgery, but not by asking him to slap and spit on me in bed because I enjoy it. 

I remember sitting outside a club after a drag show as a friend lit a cigarette, took off his heels, sat down, and pulled the sweaty silicone boobs out from under his blouse. He asked me if I thought he needed to get a smaller cup size, maybe, because he’d lost some weight since his last time in drag, and he didn’t want to look ridiculous. I said, “I don’t think so. But I really don’t know. I just wish girls could do stuff like that!” About five years later, I realized that was funny. 

Silicone DDs in the same body with a brain that produces legitimate, well-reasoned criticisms of the patriarchy is kind of a hard sell, and I get it. Basically, I’m someone who turned an inappropriately sexualized body part into something even more sexualized -- and now commercialized, too.

I still hide my breasts from people who don’t know about the surgery and would be able to notice the change. I worry what they’ll think of me. But more than that, I love my big fake tits. I stare at them all the time. I love seeing curves when I turn in front of the mirror. Clothes actually fit my body. I feel sexy, and sex is a lot more fun. I’m no longer cripplingly afraid of gaining a few pounds. And the one physical characteristic I used to hate most about myself is now one of my favorites. 

I no longer resent women with naturally large breasts or feel like genetics cheated me. I don’t get depressed just trying to rent a video or open a magazine. For me, breast augmentation was a kind of technological magic. It was pure, unadulterated wish fulfillment.

The double standard we feminists protest -- a different set of rules for men than women -- is also something we enforce. Not out of hypocrisy, or malice -- just out of hyper-vigilance, self-protection and the kind of self-policing that’s typical of oppressed populations.

The thing women like me know, but don’t want to bring up, is that double standards, the pressure to conform, and group think are all there in feminist circles. Not because feminism is flawed, or feminists are hypocrites, but because inherent in any group identity, no matter how necessary or useful, is at least a bit of self-denial.

Men are free to be products of their society -- we understand that they are just old or ignorant or dealing with their own problems. But a strong female feminist is expected somehow to extricate herself from all the context of her life, from all her own programming. And there’s such an emphasis on the paradigm of the “strong” woman nowadays that we’re constantly skirting around the idea that weak women deserve whatever they get. 

Before deciding on the surgery, I wrestled with the fear that the moment those implants nestled between my muscle and ribs, nothing that came out of my mouth would be taken seriously. Researching how implants would affect my yoga practice, I came across the same two helpful rhetorical questions over and over. First: “Are you kidding me? Why even bother doing yoga?! You obviously don’t get it.” And then something like, “Why on earth would someone WILLINGLY put TUMORS in their body?”

Ladies, I have the answer to both those questions:

  1. I NEED to do yoga, because sometimes I fucking hate myself.
  2. To make their boobs look bigger.

I guess technically the question being asked is this: is it okay to objectify yourself? What about sometimes, and not others? What if you want to be objectified? By a certain person, but not others? Mostly I feel like I’ve outgrown my investment in those kinds of debates. 

If I’d had boobs of any real size to speak of when growing up, my thoughts on the “male gaze” (that’s basically a way of describing staring), would have been very different. Because I didn’t, I’ve gotten to observe the way that stare changed, fluctuating with my clothing, my hairstyle, my partners and finally, my cup size. 

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You only see the scars if you know where to look.

I’ve watched men stare at me as an incredibly insecure Texas high school cheerleader, as an angry (potentially?) lesbian protestor, and now as a great pair of tits. Really, how those looks make me feel all depends on the one same thing: the male doing the gazing.

I’ve never once regretted getting fake tits. But the only thing I’m arguing that they are a sure-fire remedy for is small breasts.

And I do understand a certain amount of frustration at women like me: I’ve rolled my eyes many, many times at those queers who refuse to speak ill of the Mormon faith. I’ve expressed my opinion that Roller Derby is just lingerie-league football for hipsters -- that for no real sport is the outcome of a pillow fight the game-changer. (A very good way to get yourself punched in Texas.) 

But I get angry when I notice just as many disdainful looks from women as appreciative ones from men. When, at least weekly, I hear women point out potentially fake breasts, and wonder/speculate quite loudly, “Why anyone would want to make herself look so superficial?!” I sense hints of that same tired old argument that you can’t ask for respect if you look too cheap or too effeminate. And I’m already terrified to read the comments section of this article.

When my plastic surgeon examined my barely A-cup breasts for the first time, she ran her fingers over a scar on the right one and asked how I’d gotten it. I lied -- for the same reason I lie to other doctors when they ask about any past pregnancies or mental instability; I’m afraid a truthful answer will keep them from making completely objective medical diagnoses.

Snuggled in a puffy white spa robe, I was so relieved that my plastic surgeon couldn’t see the rest of the razor scars that are pretty much just labels pointing out which parts of my body I once hated -- my stomach, my thighs, my crotch, my sometimes flabby upper arms.

I was terrified that if she knew I used to cut myself, she’d think I was too mentally fragile to make decisions about this surgery on my own. (Do I have self-esteem issues? Of fucking course. Which of us doesn’t? Who admits faster than feminists how well our society systematically drives women insane and turns them against themselves?)

So when the surgeon said that, due to my sternum and ribcage measurements, she could give me some really great cleavage, I let out the breath I’d been holding and wanted to cry. I could not for the life of me picture what that would look or feel like. 

Every single time I see that woman, I hug her.