Breast Implants

Concepts of femininity and womanhood are often interwoven with issues of appearance. There are certain external markers which point to whether we are male or female, and breasts are often the most prominent feature which women have to alert people of their gender. Living in an overtly sexualised society means that breasts have come to signify women’s sexuality and their ability to lure men, and we are increasingly led to believe that bigger means better. This is obviously bad news for women who are not well-endowed and who place all their focus on their chest as a way to define them.

Women already have enough pressures to deal with regarding their appearance, resulting in many women developing low self-esteem and poor body image as they try, but ultimately fail, to live up to an ideal of the perfect woman which they have formed in their head. Weight and body size, in particular, is an issue for many women as they strive to get slimmer, and breasts are just another attribute which women have started to concentrate on, as surgery now offers them the possibility to address their ‘problem’.

In the past, surgery would have only been an option for extremely wealthy individuals with lots of time on their hands, but as plastic surgeons have improved their marketing skills and increasing numbers of people have been going under the knife, surgery has become more accessible to ordinary people as it has become cheaper. Breast enhancement surgery is one of the post popular procedures amongst women in the Western world, and as more women pay for larger breasts, so the pressure increases on other women to do so in order to ‘keep up’ with expectations.

Front covers of men’s magazines are all littered with huge-chested women, regardless of whether they are natural or artificial. The implication seems to be that men want huge breasts, whatever their shape and whether or not they are natural, which clearly isn’t true, but it this mentality which seeps into the consciousness of women. Women are led to believe that larger breasts equates to success and that if they invest in a pair of breast implants they will feel empowered and good about themselves.

If women place so much emphasis on their breasts as a factor in their levels of self-confidence, perhaps having breast implants will make them feel more confident about their cleavage. However, surely the question has to be why women’s breasts should have so much influence over their self-confidence in the first place, when they provide only one physical signifier of their femininity. Ultimately, addressing the superficial expectations placed on women will be the only way to counter their low self-esteem and confidence levels in the long run.