This article doesn't exactly say anything we don't know—that women who get breast implants are signing up for a world of medical procedures that no one can predict—but it's nice to see a major newspaper reporting on it (though, of course, as with so many things relating to The Women, it's in the Styles section rather than where it belongs, in Health).

Choice quote: " 'Women are used to having their hair or nails done on a regular basis to maintain their appearance,' said Dr. Jewell, who has conducted clinical trials for both implant manufacturers and is a consultant for Allergan, the manufacturer behind the ads running in Elle. 'Ultimately, breast implants may also be a matter of maintenance.' "

Yes, because having foreign objects surgically implanted in your body is totally comparable to getting your nails painted.

by Lisa Jervis
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1 Comment Has Been Posted

Cosmetic Surgery = Beauty = Health?

While I can see why your immediate reaction to an article on breast implants would be that it belongs in the Health rather than in the Style section, I would venture to disagree with you. I actually find it refreshing and honest that the newspaper would place such an article in Style instead of Health. "Style" suggests something optional; "Health" suggests necessity. The rhetoric employed by the plastic surgery pushers attempts to equate breast implants, Botox injections and the like with base-line normalcy. As Jewell's contention that breast implants may become as routine as manicures and haircuts, using the language of health to discuss elective cosmetic procedures gets us to stop asking "Should I get plastic surgery?" or "Why would I need plastic surgery?" and gets us to ask only "Where should I get plastic surgery?" It's in this that we take for granted that we should we disfigure or refigure ourselves at all. There are other implications. If engineered beauty is equated with health, then the byproduct is that natural or visible aging is equated with sickness and disease. Some cosmetic surgery clinics or "aesthetic medicine spas" advertise cures for the maladies of aging. If you consider that arthritis, Alzheimer's and wrinkles (which is of course the one they really mean to "cure") are all maladies of aging, then you've just seen that wrinkles have been linguistically lined up with Alzheimer's. In my <a href="http://adfeminem.typepad.com/adfeminem/">blog</a>, I've written extensively about this issue of the cosmetic surgery industry's hijacking of the language of health.

People are not products. www.adfeminem.org

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