Why women want fake-looking breasts

Professor Debra Gimlin

Thursday, February 20 2014 at 7:30PM

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49 Belmont Street
Aberdeen AB10 1JS

Professor Debra Gimlin

What's the talk about?

Please note the change in venue for this talk

A great deal of social science scholarship has focused on why women have cosmetic surgery, despite the financial costs and physical risks. There are no clear answers. What the research does indicate is that women who submit themselves 'to the knife' generally want to look like they did before they had kids or got older or their bodies changed in some way that they felt was beyond their control. Essentially, they want to look like 'themselves'. Who could blame them for that desire?
I'm going to talk about a different set of desires. I've interviewed women who've had cosmetic surgery for nearly 20 years and it's been only in my most recent interviews (with Americans) that I learned that some women want to look 'fake' -- not their faces, necks or thighs, but their breasts. They want to look 'obviously augmented'. They want to look like they can afford breast augmentation, like they're not getting 'saggy' with age, like they're sexy and desirable because they work at it. I think there's something else going on that I haven't figured out. I'll appreciate your thoughts.

Debra Gimlin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. Her work focuses on the body and its modification, with particular attention to the ways that women in different countries explain their body work.