[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.