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Scarlett Nation » Body Politics » Boobs


So, you’ve been saving up for six months, and you’ve finally got enough to have your house decorated. It costs you three grand to have the whole place done and when you finally see the finished result, it’s exactly as you’d specified.

Three weeks later you are informed that the paint is full of asbestos. It’s not immediately dangerous, no, but there is a proven risk to your health if you keep it.

Who should pay to have the house redone? The company? That would be the obvious answer – but if they don’t? You can’t possibly expect the government to help you. After all, having a nicely decorated house is a luxury. And you only really wanted it done because of the nice homes you see on TV and in magazines. Would sit in that dangerous environment until you could save up yet more of your own money to rectify the situation? What if the risk were under your skin instead of on your walls?

It’s different when it comes to the women sold potentially dangerous breast implants. As far as I can tell, the difference is that you would get your house decorated, but you’d never have your boobs done. If you are one of those people, can I please ask who died and made you God? Why it is that your lifestyle choices are unquestionably the lifestyle choices that the rest of us should prop up?

The way we sneer at these operations as a ‘vanity’ is hypocritical in the extreme, unless you can honestly say you’ve never spent any time or money on the way you look, and you’ve never taken any risk however small. Would you object to a woman being taken into hospital with chemical burns even though she’s elected to let that eighteen year old stylist cover her own head in peroxide? Is it okay, that vanity costing the public purse?

These are not exclusively a ‘certain type’ of woman. They are not all the caricatures’ of playboy bunnies and glamour models that we feel we can hate because of what they represent. You are not taking a swipe at our image obsessed society, you are taking a swipe at mothers and teachers and your mate down the pub. Women who saved their money and trusted professionals because they wanted to feel better about themselves – same as you do when you get a suntan or wax your legs or get your teeth chemically whitened. And now they’re told that they could potentially die, and the country seems to have said ‘serves you right’.

It’s why women who have had mastectomies are somehow exempt. Because it doesn’t ‘serve them right’. These aren’t ‘those women’, these are potentially us – these women are having boob jobs where we too would have had them. Of course, it’s still a vanity, isn’t it? It doesn’t make you less likely to recover if you have a padded bra instead of a boob job. But these women don’t feel good about themselves looking like that. Well, fair enough, but why is it any different if that’s the body you were born with and not the body that cancer left you with?

And if none of that convinces you, think of it this way – if any of those implants do leak, the NHS will treat those women then. The government will pay benefits to women left unable to work and will look after the children left behind if it’s all too late. In the long run, it may just save us money. And sadly enough, that’s probably the most politically valid argument I can make.

Cross posted to

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Co-founder and contributor to Scarlett Nation.

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