Damned if you do and damned if you don't: The (Re)production of larger breasts as ideal in criticisms of breast surgery
Australian Feminist Studies
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
In contemporary Western societies women are often thought to have overcome inequality, become autonomous and resistant to social pressures, and in so doing gained the freedoms to make their own choices. However, this ‘post-feminist sensibility’ can arguably be seen as a double-bind as some types of ‘choices’ cannot always be recognised as freely chosen if they are taken as an indication of failing to resist social (appearance) pressures. We argue that one such example is the ‘choice’ to have cosmetic breast surgery, a practice that has received both criticism and celebration from different feminist angles. In this paper we analyse how women who have had breast augmentation are constructed by readers of an internet blog in which they are largely vilified and pathologised for not valuing their ‘natural’ (yet ‘deficient’) breasts. We demonstrate how the same discursive constructions that appear to value women’s ‘natural’ bodies simultaneously (re)produce the conditions in which women may feel the need to have breast augmentation.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 27 (74), pp. 405 - 420