Let ’em sag

Last week, I went to the gynecologist for my yearly check up. Before starting the exam, the doctor asked if I had any concerns.

“No,” I said, then paused and put a hand to my chest. “Although sometimes I wonder if I’m starting to sag.” I fear that my body doesn’t measure up to the current ideal, a common worry among women.

“How old are you?” He asked.


“That’s pretty young. I don’t think you’re sagging.” But a paper gown concealed my chest; he couldn’t know for sure.

He went through the routine: Pap smear and then breast exam. “So, do I seem saggy?” I asked, now that he could tell. He would know better than I since he examines hundreds of breasts.

“No, not at all.”

“Then I must be seeing a lot of implants lately. All I know is there are women older than I am who seem really perky. At the gym I see them, perky even when lying down for sit-ups. Not that I’m looking, but they’re hard to miss when you’re surrounded by mirrors in an aerobics class.” I’m forced to look at my reflection next to these women, and I can’t help feeling disheartened.

He laughed and said, “Well, at middle age, if they look like that, they’re either wearing a great bra, or they have implants. There are quite a few implants around here. Lots of plastic surgeons and—well, quite a few implants. Believe me.”

I did believe him, and I felt better. I’m not really sagging, I’m just a natural 34B in my 30s and insecure. Yet, I probably have a healthy body image compared with the 6,503,714 women who underwent major cosmetic procedures last year. That number came from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons Web site, where I learned that breast augmentation was the third most popular surgery after nose reshaping and liposuction. The statistics show that 219,883 women had breast augmentation surgery last year, and the number has increased steadily over the past several years. These women are carrying on the tradition of distorting their breasts in order to meet current beauty standards; in ancient Greece, 14th century Europe or the 1920s, they would have bound their breasts to make their torsos appear flat, the ideal of those times.

I’m guilty of comparing myself to current fashion models, but it isn’t something I lose sleep over, despite the fact that I’ve taken the time to write this commentary. I do have one thing to say, though: you implant ladies don’t help the younger generation’s self-esteem. Implants may make you feel better about yourself, and I can’t fault you for that, but you must know you’re pounding one more nail in the coffin of body acceptance for younger females. You’re perpetuating a cycle. We see you at middle age with perky breasts, we start to think our breasts are sagging, soon we’re thinking about getting implants ourselves. You can break the cycle. Let your breasts droop; let us feel good about the lift we still have. Let us look forward to a future where the natural sag of breasts is accepted, rather than doom us to feeling unattractive among Victoria’s Secret boobs on otherwise normal bodies. Do us all a favor—save your money and let nature take its course. Let ’em sag, ladies.