Do big boobs boost self-esteem?

A new study says implants make women happier.

Published March 22, 2007 10:25PM (EDT)

Oy. From the University of Nip 'n' Tuck -- er, I mean Florida -- comes a study claiming that women who undergo breast enlargement get a boost in self-esteem and sexual satisfaction.

Hmmm b

And since the study only surveyed its 84 subjects two or three months after their surgeries, it's hardly remarkable that many of the women would still be feeling the effects of their change. Like a new pair of pants or a new haircut, a new look often feels good -- especially the kind you've been anticipating will make you feel good. It's a shame the study didn't contact women five or 10 or 15 years after the boob job to see if plastic surgery had a lasting effect on subjects' self-esteem or just functioned as one more pit stop in an endless search for a more acceptable body.

What's hilarious is the way the study's being spun as a scientific response against prevailing negative stereotypes about women who want plastic surgery and a paucity of attention to female sexual issues. Here's researcher Cynthia Figueroa-Haas:

"Many individuals, including health-care providers, have preconceived negative ideas about those who elect to have plastic surgery, without fully understanding the benefits that may occur from these procedures. This study provides the impetus for future studies related to self-esteem, human sexuality and cosmetic surgery."

Oh, by all means bring them on. Perhaps they could so conclusively link high self-worth to large fake breasts that we could get augmentation surgery mandated for all girls under 18? Forget Title IX and Mathletes -- let's really give girls a sense of importance.

The researcher also subtly compares breast surgery to Viagra, penis patches and other tools of the male impotence industry: "So much attention is directed to men's sexuality issues; we have all seen countless commercials on drugs and therapy devoted to improving men's sexuality. Unfortunately, very little is discussed regarding women's sexuality issues," Figueroa-Haas said.

When American men begin to undergo penile augmentation surgeries (which, according to the Mayo Clinic, no reputable medical society endorses) to the tune of 360,000 procedures a year, I might buy that comparison. In the meantime, I'll be guarding my sagging self-esteem with an underwire bra and a watchful eye.

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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