Longtime Shapelings will already be familiar with my dear friend Cacie from the “To hell with tiny pants” post. When I heard the mindbogglingly antifeminist responses she’d been getting to her upcoming breast reduction — news that, to be fair, might throw people off a bit, but COME ON — I asked her to write a post about it. (Incidentally, though this should go without saying: This is a space to talk about assumptions, cultural and personal, and the way those come out in unguarded spontaneous reactions — in other words, how things people say off the cuff can reflect a misogynist culture. It is NOT a space to talk about whether Cacie is making the right choice or has the right motivations in getting her surgery.)
I’m getting a breast reduction tomorrow. It’s something I’ve wanted since the summer I was 13 years old, and for years I tried to convince myself that I could live with them. When I discovered how wonderful the health insurance at my new job was going to be, I started thinking about scheduling a consultation with a surgeon – worse case scenario, I’d learn a lot more about the procedure and my health insurance would decline to cover it, at which point I’d have to consider the financial feasibility of it. A few weeks later, I got a call from my doctor saying my insurance company approved it, and I scheduled my surgery.
It’s not easy for everyone to understand. In fact, I’d venture to say that most initial reactions include at least one, or if not all three of the following statements: “WHY?!” “You’re not that big!” “What does your boyfriend think about this?”
I can almost understand the first two. Most people wouldn’t willingly choose to go the opposite direction of society’s standards of beauty/sexuality, and trying to see the world from another person’s perspective can be tricky. I’m not totally okay with it, but I understand it. The third statement, however, is problematic in several ways.
My boyfriend and I have been together for over three years. We live together. He’s seen me have an emotional breakdown over burning the potatoes. I’ve seen him drive like a maniac and flip people off in traffic. We both have our less than beautiful sides, but we are overwhelmingly happy together and that’s all I’ll say about that sappy stuff. So you can probably understand the kind of nasty responses I have to swallow after someone asks me “what does your boyfriend think about this?”
“Considering the fact that my boyfriend is extremely shallow, and the only interesting, attractive, and lovable attributes I have are my breasts, it’s going to be pretty difficult for him. But it’s super nice of you to make such rude insinuations and call my relationship into question.”
I’m pretty sure most people don’t realize exactly what they’re saying about him, me, or us when they ask that question. Of course he cares about me and of course he’s attracted to me, but if he had seriously only stayed with me for the last three years because of my large breasts, and I knew about this and didn’t care, then… actually there is no “then.” Because that is totally unrealistic. So what do I actually say to people when they ask me this question?
“He’s an ass man.”