Why not rant some more on how much breast implants bug me?
Okay, I admit. I take the very existence of breast implants personally, because I have small breasts and I don't like the implication that they are a "problem" that needs fixing. For the record, I feel the same way about nose jobs--I hate to see someone undergo the knife so she can look not like herself but like she cut out a face from a magazine and will be wearing that from here on out. But I'm less personally offended, if only because no one has ever suggested to me that I might consider a nose job, at least not yet. God only knows what will happen when the 2-3 "acceptable" nose shapes are whittled down to just the button nose.
Anyway, this editorial here that I got through Bitch is setting me off on another rant. It's a decent editorial about how gross and offensive it is that giving away boob jobs to the "needy" is a common shock jock schtick now. It's an opportunity for the jocks and their audience to indulge the fantasy that they are kings like the one in Arabian Nights, whose power is so great and standards so high that no mere human woman can ever satisfy them. Alas, there is no Scheherazade to save our asses with her wit this time around, and instead we're left with contestants like this who feel that painful surgery is the only way to enchant:
One past winner, an 18-year-old named Ashley, wrote on his Web site, "When I go jogging, the guys don't stare because my breasts aren't big enough to flop all over the place. I want the boys to drool…. I'm a hot piece of a--, new breasts would only double my 'nailability.'"
I would be careful there, Ashley, for the lesson best gleamed from Scheherazade's story is that your looks may get you into the bed at night, but your brains are what will get you that invite to breakfast.
Actually, the cult of plastic surgery reminds me of another ancient tale altogether.
Pygmalion saw so much to blame in women that he came at last to abhor the sex, and resolved to live unmarried. He was a sculptor, and had made with wonderful skill a statue of ivory, so beautiful that no living woman came anywhere near it. It was indeed the perfect semblance of a maiden that seemed to be alive, and only prevented from moving by modesty. His art was so perfect that it concealed itself and its product looked like the workmanship of nature. Pygmalion admired his own work, and at last fell in love with the counterfeit creation. Oftentimes he laid his hand upon it as if to assure himself whether it were living or not, and could not even then believe that it was only ivory.
(Which reminds me of David Cross's routine about John Ashcroft secretly hiding behind the curtain to make love to the forbidden boobie statue, but that's another story altogether.)
It all works out for this poor sap Pygmalion, when Aphrodite takes pity on the man and his statue-fucking ways and turns the statue into a real girl that he can marry and presumably start finding fault with the next day when he realizes that along with the flesh comes that dang womanly non-statue-ness. But alas, the story ends before this point and we are left there with the perfect fantasy, which is that your actual fantasy becomes reality. Dick Meyers again:
Many radio stations that run these promotions help women to nurture their self-esteem by allowing them to degrade themselves by posting pictures on the Web so listeners can vote pick a winner. The winners, of course, get before and after pictures.
Every drooling idiot with a mouse is now Pygmalion, telling himself that real women are simply inadequate while dictating the shape of the breasts of women who are nothing more than a flat screen to him.
Of course, I'm not hating on breast implants solely out of a feminist desire to free women of feeling that they have to take a knife to flesh to satisfy the whims of men who need to get a grip. I have my own aesthetics, too, and I think breast implants are hideous. How the hell is it that our collective culture has suddenly decided that the humble, soft, sloping breast that has been sculpted, painted, and praised in poetry for thousands of years would better please its fans if it resembled an underripe melon more than a breast?