The main purpose of the given paper is to define gender, social, and cultural underpinnings triggering women to refer to breast augmentation and body modification in general. Particular reference will be made to the role that breast augmentation plays in meeting the standards of physical attractiveness in the society.
We will write a custom Essay on Breast Augmentation Revision specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Practice of Breast Augmentation
Body modification is one of the most popular practices in the West. People apply to different techniques for altering their appearances and fitting the constantly changing standards of beauty and fashion. On the one hand, body modification is just the main method of revealing cultural and social identities.
On the other hand, appearance transformation is aimed at concealing the body defects (Featherstone, 2000, p. 2). One way or another, people resort to those techniques to improve their appearance and increase self-esteem, specifically when it comes to using cosmetic surgery, such as breast augmentation.
Cosmetic surgery has emerged as one of the easiest methods of improving one’s appearance. Just like any other form of surgery, cosmetic surgery has its benefits and risks as well. According to Featherstone (2000), “…existing scientific and medical technologies seek or claim to clarify our perception of the ‘natural’ body” (p. 2).
Similarly, Davis (2001) states, “…plastic surgery is a path towards self-determination – a way for women to regain control over their bodies” (p. 174). This is one of the primary sources of exercising men’s power asserted on female bodies.
With regard to the above, the practice of breast augmentation can be perceived as women’s need to self-realization and recognition in society. It goes beyond the need to meet personal goals, but not the need to meet the established social and cultural standards.
Social and Cultural Context Triggering Women to Make Breast Augmentation
A successful breast augmentation surgery is known to boost the self-esteem of women as well as making them more confident in their looks and their general self. In this respect, self-esteem and confidence are very important in helping one enjoy their lives as well as reach their full potential (Pitts, 2003, p. 15). There is no doubt that a successful breast augmentation surgery can greatly affect a person’s life.
Breast augmentation eliminates the social anxiety in women that comes as result of having an unattractive shape. Social anxiety can disrupt one’s life and the sooner it is dealt with the better (Pitts, 2003, p. 11). The society has got its standards and people will always strive to live according to these standards.
Women who are confident about their looks will always be outgoing because the thought of being rejected is not on their mind. The society depicts attractive people as capable and successful. According to some studies, there is a strong correlation between professional recognition and good looks (Featherstone, 2000, p. 2). A successful breast augmentation surgery leaves women with large and shapely breasts.
Breast Augmentation in Cultural Meanings
It has been recognized that the practice of breast augmentation is considered one of the most highly demanding practices in the United States (Didie and Sarwer, 2003, p. 241). In this respect, women seeking cosmetic surgery are often triggered by a number of factors while making a decision.
In the majority of cases, women are often guided by personal feelings and goals rather than by romantic partners, or cultural and social representation of beauty. The studies provided by Didie and Sarwer (2003) reveal new concepts and stereotypes set behind breast augmentation and present several factors influencing the process of surgery.
Plastic surgery, and breast augmentation in particular, allows to solve the problems of body image. Inspired by the modern standards of appearance, women strive to fit the established standards. What is more threatening, the practice of breast augmentation has become not as a need for improving the image, but as a desire to meet fashionable standards.
Indeed, plastic surgery has acquired a new method for becoming attuned to the celebrities using these services (Featherstone, 2010, p. 12). In this respect, the constant growth of television programs and internet sites, blogs, and magazine articles shapes women’s ideal concerning how a perfect body should look like.
Celebrities’ lifestyle and integration of consumer culture has greatly contributed to building new stereotypes and identities where cosmetic and plastic surgery come to the forth along with bodily fitness, good appearance, and healthy lifestyle.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Aside from the growing popularity of the consumer culture, the practices of body modification are perceived through society and reflect a dualistic nature of breast reconstruction that is associated both with bodily and societal needs.
At the same time, women justify the practice of cosmetic surgery by resorting to financial and personal investment in physical attractiveness (Gimlin, 2007, p. 42). However, healthcare should not be considered a consumer good, but a social right for self-determination.
Practice of Breast Augmentation With Regard to the Affected Group of People
The practices of body modification and plastic surgery are closely connected with the establishment of new gender stereotypes.
Hence, social studies of body image reveal that well-shaped breasts are considered sexy and, therefore, the plastic surgery industry creates a new philosophy of natural difference (Connell, 2009, p. 56). Because new symbolic structures influence the shifts in gender structure, the plastic surgery and breast augmentation also introduce practices providing gender meanings as well.
Judging from the above considerations, the concept of gender identity acknowledges the significance of the body in building women’s identity. However, the framework fails to address the issue concerning how breasts are associated with this process (Sischo, 2008, p. 31).
In fact, women consider breasts as symbolic representations of femininity affecting their sense of self-determination, which closely correlates with gender identity. The meaning and importance they attach to their breast have a great impact on their self-esteem that, in turn, influences women’s relationships with other people. In this respect, some women understand identity through either accepting or modifying their breasts.
With regard to specific parts of the body, gender theory will be better recognized if cultural and social meanings attached to breast will be involved in characterizing women. According to Sischo (2008), “…breast can affect how a woman defines herself and also the lengths to which she goes to participates in the beauty system of her society” (p. 31).
Despite that, women can still provide more narrow-focused definitions through identifying the accepted forms of breasts. Hence, instead of accepting the idea that women have two breasts, they still accept the difference and continue living in a positive way.
Practice of plastic surgery as itself is often considered a means of experimenting with various identities. Davis (2001) provides an example of Orlan, a female artist who believes that gender cannot be understood as a fixed category because each person has the right to re-evaluate his/her position and make a choice whether the natural appearance fits his/her goals. Hence, gender affirmation is justified as an approach to social representation of human nature.
In general, gender identities provide a solid basis for shaping the norms and moral codes of behaving in the modern societies (Lakoff and Johnson, 1999, p. 326). Being under tangible influence of mass culture, women create personal moral and ethical values and, therefore, they firmly believe that breast augmentation can change the attitude to them.
Breast augmentation brings both physical and psychological transformation. This type of cosmetic surgery improves the body symmetry of the patient especially in the breast area. A shapely body sparks both emotional and psychological transformation. Breast augmentation and facelifts are still the most popular types of cosmetic surgery because they have worked for many patients (Lyons, 2006, p. 43).
In fact, the presented technique provides a solution to the body problem. Women can increase their self-esteem my improving the shape of their breast. In the majority of cases, the transformation process consists in modifying the body forms to meet the generally established standards.
On the one hand, women will have to follow the clichés and norms of established patterns of physical attractiveness. These norms are constantly changing and women whose appearance fails to meet the accepted standards suffer from being not recognized.
On the other hand, women’s intension to refer to breast augmentation is explained by personal beliefs and feelings. In particular, they think that this is the main method of outlining their self-identity.
Assessing the results
Psychological and physical benefits of breast augmentation are influenced by the success of the surgery. To determine whether breast augmentation has been successful or not, there are various indicators that one can look at (Lyons, 2006, p. 40). To begin with, a successful breast augmentation surgery should not leave the patient with scars.
Since the main objective of cosmetic surgery is to make the patient attractive, scars are therefore not welcome. The presence of many scars after the surgery indicates failure. Many patients will always be dissatisfied with a lot of scarring on their body surface. Scarring does not always occur as a result of malpractice on the side of the surgeon but is caused by the leakage of intravenous caustic materials out of the patient’s veins.
This kind of leakage can lead to the loss of overlying skin which in turn leads to the formation of scars (Lyons, 2006, p. 41). Minimum and almost invisible scars are a clear indicator of a successful cosmetic surgery.
The success of breast augmentation surgery can also be determined by improved comfort of the shoulder, neck and back of the patient. Discomfort in these parts is always associated with enlarged breasts. If these symptoms are relieved, then the surgery is termed successful (Sischo, 2008, p. 32).
Non-healing wounds and loss of breast tissues such as nipples are possible indicators of failure. A successful breast augmentation surgery should only deal with the skin and not the tissue. The surgery should leave the patient without any wounds after the normal healing period is over.
General Influence of the Breast Augmentation on Health
While deliberating over the influence of breast augmentation on women’s psychological, emotional, and physical state, it should be stated that plastic surgery will definitely impose emotional stress on women, especially on those who are not confident and morally weak.
Women who have a strong character and who know exactly what they want from life will not be tempted by a possibility to change their appearance (Sischo, 2008, p. 35). In this respect, there is an assumption that women, who are ready to resort to breast augmentation, or to any other type of plastic surgery, do not feel sufficient support on the part of society.
Judging from the above-presented considerations, it is very useful to highlight that women whose desire to change their body is determined by inner needs will be able to enhance their life positions whereas women who follow the established paradigms of beauty will fail to achieve desirable goals.
In addition, because surgical intervention already imposes the idea that the body is seeks and it needs immediate changes, the practice of breast augmentation remains to a larger extent unjustified. Plastic surgery, therefore, is life stifling imposing many side effects in cultural, social, and biological terms.
Women resort to breast reconstruction for the purpose of improving their appearance and fitting their body to the accepted norms of beauty. In this respect, it is purposeful to state that women’s desire to change their appearance is influenced by existing social, political, cultural, and gender aspects. Hence, the proliferation of media culture and prevalence of consumer society impel women to fight with their defects.
The plastic surgery industry has become the main method for achieving perfection. The practice has also gender underpinnings implying that women’s attractiveness is identified to well-shaped breasts.
Finally, women experiment with their bodies to define their identity and increase their self-esteem. In this respect, the practice of breast augmentation is closely connected with women’s place in culture and society.
Connell, R. (2009). Gender. US: Polity.
Davis, Kathy. (2001) My Body is My Art: Cosmetic Surgery as Feminist Utopia? In: K. Davis (author). Embodied Practices: Feminist Perspectives on the Body. pp. 168 – 180.
Didie, E. R., and Sarwer, D. B. (2003) Factors that influence the Decision to Undergo Cosmetic Breast Augmentation Surgery. Journal of Women’s Health. 12(3), 241-253.
Featherstone, M. (2000) Body Modification. US: SAGE.
Featherstone, M. (2010) Body, Image, and Affect in Consumer Culture. Body & Society. 16(1). 193-221.
Gimlin, D. (2007) Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery in the USA and Great Britain: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Women’s Narratives. Body & Society. 13(1), 41-60.
Lakoff, G., and Johnson, M. (1999) Philosophy in the flesh: the embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. NY: Basic Books.
Lakoff, G., and Johnson, M. (1999) Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. NY: Basic Books.
Lyons, G. (2006) Body and Culture. US: Longman.
Pitts, V. (2003) In the Flesh: The Cultural Politics of Body Modification. UK: Palgrave McMillan
Sischo, L. (2008). Women’s Experiences with Breast Augmentation and Reconstruction: Bodies, Emotions, and the Self. US: ProQuest.