Thursday, December 18, 2008

blessed are the paps

[being discussed at The Exponent.]

Two dinner-time conversations at family gatherings:

dinner number one; the patriarch of the family loudly bemoans the women in the stake who are dumb enough, deceived enough, lacking-in-the-spirit enough to get those "disgusting breast implants."

dinner number two; the same patriarch, in discussing Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction
loudly scoffs at how stupid Janet must be to think that anyone would want to see her "old ugly shriveled up 40 yr old breasts."

Talk about your lose lose situation.

The way the ladies in my family resolve this dilemma breaks down by generation. The women 40 and over (my mother and aunts) chose to embrace (or endure with relative good humor) "old and shriveled up". In fact, one dear aunt for her 50th birthday gave her boobs 'a gift' by refusing to wear a bra the entire day. The women in their 20's and 30's (my sisters and SILs) are, almost without exception, making arrangements to have augmentation, not giving a darn about some old guy's assessment of their spiritual/mental capacity.

Me? My dirty little secret (well, not now) is that I do harbor a hidden curiosity about what a scalpel and a tiny bit of silicon (or saline) could do for me; I'm not entirely impervious to comments about "old ugly and shriveled up." (And I am much closer to 40 than I am to 20). But... have you SEEN breast implant surgery? I saw one on the Health Channel once a while back and I still get the willies thinking about it- the graphic slicing and dicing of such a sensitive body region (Naomi Wolf refers to it "sexual mutilation"). I'm much more inclined to get a nipple ring thank you very much. Less blood, shorter healing time.

Which makes me wonder: I know the injunction against extra piercings is an official from-the-pulpit edict. But what about breast implants? Have church leaders spoken out against elective cosmetic surgery in a similar way? (I'm too lazy to search this out for myself, so if you have a link, please share it.) I know a lot of LDS women do get augmentation and don't feel conflicted about it at all, whereas a second stud in the ear (don't even mention the nipple)~ No way!

But mostly I just wonder what it is that goes on inside the head of that dear patriarch, the beloved head of my family, when he makes such comments as the aforementioned ones. The underlying sentiment in both statements are ones of disgust, an abhorrence for a woman's breasts (or at least for breasts that aren't naturally young and plump). Maybe he really is disgusted by breasts. Or perhaps it is his way of trying to circumvent his own normal (natural man?) response to women's breasts, to be above any perceived sexual impurity by taking an internalized guilt and projected it outward as a defense? I don't know.

It is all just a mess of mixed messages.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

some more about tattoos...

In case you didn't know, tattoo's are usually on my mind. Simmering on the back burner or dancing around the edges of my thoughts, occasionally right there in the forefront, egging me on .

But after all this time I still don't have one. Typically I chalk it up to not having found the desired imagery and location, but I think it's a bit more than that. See, I spoke to this woman the other day; she had an amazing tattoo on her left arm and after talking for a bit she mentioned that she had had huge buyers remorse the day after she got it. She wore a certain a shirt and hated how it looked with the tattoo. This after planning the tattoo for some time- putting down deposits at parlors all over town then finally spent quite a bit of time working with this particular artist on the image. Yet she still woke up the next day, looked at her fresh ink, and wondered if she had done the right thing.

She loves her tattoo now, but it was good for me to hear her account because I am inclined towards having buyers remorse. Almost every large purchase or decision I make causes me conniptions after I sign on the dotted line. "AAGH! It was a mistake! I shouldn't have done that!!!" Then I usually get over it and am happy with what I bought/did.
But still.
The permanence of it, on my flesh!

So, for the moment, I satisfy my urge for ink with ball point pen on the regions of my body that my right hand can reasonably reach. And maybe eventually I will be ready for the next level. And even after I am ready, I may still have buyers remorse the next day, and that will be okay. Here is my most recent doodle:
flock of birds_diptych

" I had leave the house of self-importance
To doodle my first tattoo
To realize a tattoo is no more permanent
Than I am..."
-Ani Difranco. Shroud