Body image

Why a Feminist Like Me Would Actually Consider Getting a Boob Job

Published: AUGUST 18, 2014
There are reasons to avoid breast augmentation surgery and to let my body continue to age naturally. But there are still powerful moments when I entertain the thought of getting it done anyway.
I was cleaning out my closet the other day when I came across an old negligee. It was the first piece of sexy lingerie that I owned as an adult and for years the only piece of lingerie I owned. I don’t remember where I got it. It was one of those articles of clothing that seemed to have always been there. But it wasn’t until I got together with the man who would later become my husband that I really put it to use.

It is a yellow, sleeveless baby doll style mini dress made of soft, delicate fabric, with a scoop neck and two rows of little white pearls decorating the neckline. Very simple, yet sexy. I would wear it with nothing under it. What I loved (and my husband loved too) was the way it hung from my modest-sized - yet very perky - breasts as my large dark nipples proudly showed through the sheer fabric.

And when I saw it there recently, on its hanger, neglected for years, I got choked up. I felt I would never wear it again. My breasts had changed too much. I could only imagine how unsexy I would feel as they hung loosely under the yellow fabric. Now anything I buy to try and feel sexy has to have its own built in lift system. I could have stood there and cried for my long lost breasts, but I stopped myself before a single tear escaped. (Are you into breasts? Check out 6 Little-Known Nipple Facts.)

Are you really going to cry for your long lost perky breasts?! My inner voice said. Get it together! Some people get breast cancer and have mastectomies. Some women never experience the joy of breast feeding, even though they desperately want to. You’ve had a good run, what are you fucking whining about?

But my sadness was real. I couldn’t bear to look at the yellow negligee anymore, but I also couldn’t bear to give it away. For years that little, yellow see-through nightie helped me feel sexy, desired and beautiful. I hung it back in the closet.

I started getting teased in the sixth grade for being flat chested. All my body had managed to do with puberty was grow unwanted dark, coarse hair and produce greasy skin and pimples. All I wanted was my period and some boobs already! The teasing continued in seventh and eighth grade. By high school I was pretty much an insecure wreck when it came to my looks and my body.

Finally, at age 14, my first period came and I slowly started developing breasts - left side first. Nothing bra-worthy, but just seeing my nipples actually spread out gave me hope. Someday I might be a woman with a woman’s body.

As a young girl I fantasized I would look like Wonder Woman when I grew up. Here I was growing up and I still looking like a boy (just without the penis) as far as I could see. I even had the dark, coarse hair to prove it.

When my breasts eventually came into their own, I was about 16 or 17. They weren’t big but they were perky and they meant everything to me. The rest of my body still reminded me of a boy body - no curves. I felt like a drawing of a stick figure with my little boobs on top. I figured if that was all I had to work with, if that was to be the extent of my feminine, womanly body, I was going to make the most of it.

So, I only wore tight shirts. If I wore a baggy sweatshirt, nothing showed. I was done with being teased for having nothing. I was done with feeling like a prepubescent boy. I had tits and, goddammit, I wanted the world to know! (Check out 15 Things You Should Know About Breasts.)

I didn’t need a bra - my breasts stood at attention like two little torpedoes. They defied gravity and they brought me true joy.

At this time I was becoming sexually active and the mere thought of disrobing and showing my tits to anyone was a huge turn on. That fantasy alone could bring me to orgasm. The reality often did. They weren’t particularly sensitive to touch, but for me, watching someone see them for the first time or touch them, or kiss them, was the biggest turn-on I could ever experience. In those moments, I truly felt like a grown woman.

In my 30s, I got a tiny bit of curve in my hips but my breasts were still what I found sexiest about my body. I married at age 29 and at age 35, after trying for a year and a half, I became pregnant.

And then my breasts began to grow, and grow and grow. What an incredible experience. I’d had the joy of having perky breasts, but never large ones. I was moving up bra sizes faster than I could pick out baby names. My nipples were larger than ever - and darker. My whole body was one big curve. I had wondered how a little stick figure like me would look pregnant. I had no idea I would no longer be a stick figure.

I still wore tight shirts, but now I definitely needed a bra, and a D cup at that. And then the baby came and our breast feeding journey began. My breasts were huge and full of sweet nectar for my baby. I was also no longer anything close to a stick figure at this point. I was a full 40 pounds overweight, but I was very focused on being a new mama, and wasn’t too bothered by the weight gain. Who cared? I had a beautiful, happy and healthy baby and big boobs. To me, it was an unexpected perk of pregnancy.

Three years later, it was time to wean my baby boy off mama’s milk. At this point, we were only breastfeeding once a day in the morning, but I felt it was time to stop. I had lost most of the extra weight and my breasts had been gradually returning to their original pre-pregnancy size. But unfortunately, not anything close to their pre-pregnancy shape.


This is the word I use to describe them now. They were blown up and now all of the air has been let out and they hang loosely. The breast feeding also permanently changed the shape of the nipples. I say "the nipples" instead of "my nipples" because when I look at them, I’m not sure who they belong to. They certainly can’t be mine. I hardly recognize them. They don’t change shape the way they used to, from spread out to erect. They always look the same - two little nubs.

According to author and sex therapist Marty Klein, women’s breasts don’t sag, they simply "relax." The problem is I’m only 43. I think maybe at 65 I’d be ready to relax a bit, maybe even 55. But 43? I’m not ready for this. I’m no longer worried about looking like a prepubescent boy, I’m worried about looking like I’m older than my years. There’s no fullness in my breasts now, no life in them. They look sad to me. I feel nothing when they’re touched by my husband as we make love. I feel estranged from them. I refuse to accept them as mine. If I’m in mourning, I seem to be stuck in the denial phase.

So, I have moments, like when I touched that faded yellow negligee and remembered what it felt like to wear it, to turn myself on, to turn my lover on, when I entertain the fantasy of getting a boob job. I know they wouldn’t be exactly what they were before, but they would be vibrant and alive and tempting.

And then I go through all of the reasons why I shouldn’t want that.

No.1: Why am I letting my breasts - or any body part for that matter - define me, define my sexiness, my beauty, my worth as a woman?

No.2: How could I possibly justify spending that kind of money on a medically unnecessary procedure? Just think of all the worthy causes, all of the better ways that money could be spent!

No.3: What if something goes wrong? Any surgery has risks. Implants could have risks. How much of an idiot would I feel like if I actually put my own health in danger?

No.4: Do my breasts really matter? I think of the title of the breast feeding book I had - "So That’s What They’re For." My breasts are there so I could feed my baby and I did that. Job done. Boobs done. Time to get over it and move on ... right?

Maybe. Those are powerful reasons to avoid a breast augmentation surgery and to let my body continue to age naturally and to find joy, beauty and sensuality in my life no matter what shape my breasts are. But they don’t erase the feelings I have when holding a faded yellow negligee, fighting back tears and thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s worth it.
Remi Newman

Remi Newman, MA, is a sex educator, counselor and writer with over 20 years of experience in the field of sexuality. She currently works as an STI educator and counselor in Northern California. She received her master’s degree in sex education from NYU.

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