20 May

#HarlotHappyBody – what about cosmetic surgery?

Me in 2008 aged 21.

Me on a night out + faithful padded bra in 2008 aged 21.

I don’t mind who knows that when I was 21, I looked in to having surgery to make my breasts bigger. I’d just been made redundant so I was young with a lump sum of cash and of course my first thoughts were ‘woo hoo, let’s make my lady lumps more lady-like!’

Surgery seems like quite an extreme ‘solution’ from an outside perspective, but when your self-esteem is that bad, it feels like this one painful and expensive procedure is going to be the magic wand that fixes everything about you and make you who you want to be.

When you tell people you’re considering cosmetic surgery, you inevitably encounter negativity and some people will judge you and might even go as far as to call you shallow. To your face. Self-esteem plummets because now there is not only something physically wrong with you, others think you’re a horrible person. Isn’t that just fantastic?

How many of those disapproving people ask the important questions like, “what is it exactly that you don’t like and how exactly will a painful and expensive surgery change anything?”

Facts from BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons)

In 2013, 11,135 breast augmentation surgeries were performed in the UK (source: BAAPS Britain Sucks audit) and bearing in mind this is a 13% increase in the number of breast augmentation surgeries performed in 2012, this is a significant number of women taking action! It seems as though the PIP implant scandal that has rumbled on for the last few years hasn’t affected demand for the procedure which I think, goes to show just how desperate women are to ‘enhance’ their bodies. What is causing this much unhappiness?

I’d also put money on the idea that all of these women being ‘shallow’ is bullpoop because it isn’t just women going under the knife, according to BAAPS “Body contouring procedures showed the biggest increase among males, with liposuction up by 28% and gynaecomastia (or ‘man boobs’) up by a quarter (24%).”

Why did I want surgery?

My reasons were many but boiled down to:

  • Being under-developed: unfeminine and child-like.
  • Clothing: I cannot buy my bra size so I wear heavily padded bras that don’t fit properly. Dresses either fit in the hips and gape at the chest or fit in the top and burst at the hips. Isn’t clothes shopping traumatic enough as it is?!
  • Media: There has been so much about if you have a problem, fix it. I thought my breasts were the problem, not the way I thought about them. If you haven’t already, take a look at Naomi Wolf’s ‘The Beauty Myth’.
  • Men: Breasts have been over-sexualised that as a society people get their knickers in a knot when women use them for their intended purpose (feeding babies). So who would want me with my itty bitty titties?
I even had padding stitched in to my wedding dress so I could wear something delicate and slinky!

I even had padding stitched in to my wedding dress so I could wear something delicate and slinky!

I didn’t put the brakes on my surgery plans because I had an epiphany, I just thought I could do more fun stuff with my cash. Besides, I could always revisit surgery when I’m older, right?

What did change my mind was finding a lump in my breast in 2010 and my GP didn’t have a great poker face on the subject. Two weeks later I had a follow appointment at the hospital but in that time, I’d never been so scared in my life. Two years prior to this I had considered having the muscles ripped from my chest to have bags of silicon shoved in the cavity when I could have just been happy that ‘the girls’ were healthy?

Fortunately, the lump was benign but I had it removed because it caused me discomfort and it was likely to get bigger. My stitches got infected which sucked but also means I still have a fading (but thick) scar around my nipple. Every time I look at it I feel grateful that I am healthy and my sense had won the war against my vanity. Well, for now.

Kill'Her Instinct

The #HarlotHappyBody campaign

Unlike most of the Harlots in the #HarlotHappyBody infographic, I don’t love my boobies and I wouldn’t even say we’re at peace because I still feel unfeminine and sourcing clothes to wear still can leave me sobbing on the changing room floor but we’re getting there. When I got married in August 2013 I wore the kind of dress I NEVER thought I’d even consider because I’m so out of proportion! Yeah, I had loads

of padding stitched in as I couldn’t wear a bra with it but I worked it and I’m pretty happy with my photos (see above ©luna photography).

Boobs are great but it would be stupid to define myself by them and I urge other people with body confidence issues to do the same. When you shuffle off this mortal coil, do you think you’ll be remembered for having chunky thighs and small boobs or will you be remembered for being a badass? I really hope future generations think I said and did awesome things rather than thought I had killer boobs.Cosmetic surgery can be the answer for some people but I haven’t ruled it out completely being the answer for me. If I’d had the surgery in 2008, would my life be different today? I’d enjoy clothes shopping more but I probably wouldn’t have made the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots’ A team because getting hit in the tits sucks as it is without worrying about them literally exploding! I probably would have given up by now for that reason.


By Kill’Her Instinct

In 2014 the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots are supporting Eating Disorder Service, Freed Beeches by raising awareness about body positivity. Find out how the Harlots are supporting the charity by seeing their press release announcing the move.