Sunday, 30 August 2015

A Note on Ariel Winter's Boobs

I really enjoy Modern Family. Not just in the "this alright, I'll leave it on" sort of way. But in the way that I'll watch each new one as it is released. So it would be silly of me to pretend not to have noticed how puberty his Ariel Winter.

Although it seemed like the kind of celebrity gossip I'd usually ignore, I was intrigued by this article about her decision to have breast reduction surgery.

My gut reaction to it was, Well, if that's what makes her feel comfortable, good for her. It's her body, let her so what she wants with it, her logic seems sound.

But after a further moment of reflection, I found myself feeling less position towards it. I still completely and wholeheartedly support Winter's right to do whatever she wants with her own body. I also think that, as far as surgical body modification goes, it doesn't seem like the kind of procedure likely to herald the start of a vanity-fuelled lifetime of dangerous surgery. It's not like she spent $86,000 trying to look like someone else. Even if it was, it would still be her body to take those risks with, her right to make those choices.

Her reasoning is actually very reasonable. It's common in women with larger breasts to experience back pain, which she describes as being horrifically bad: "I had a lot of back problems. I really couldn’t stand up straight for a long period of time. It started to hurt so bad that I couldn’t take the pain. My neck was hurting so bad and I actually had some problems with my spine."

That's a very good reason to get body modifying surgery. It, along with full-body burns and mastectomies for breast cancer sufferers, is one of the main reasons breast remodelling was invented.

But it's not the only reason she gave.

In her interview with Glamour magazine, she talked about not being able to find clothes suited to her body shape. She spoke about not being able to dress in a way that was considered "appropriate" for a 17-year-old because there simply wasn't anything she could buy that suited both her figure and her age. She spoke about people talking behind her back about whether or not her breasts were real or fake from the age of 14. She talked about having to pretend to be confident with her figure because "we live in a day and age where everything you do is ridiculed". She talks about how she didn't feel respected for her work as an actress because so many media outlets focussed so much on her breasts.

"It made me feel really uncomfortable," she says, "because as women in the industry, we are totally over sexualized and treated like objects."

I, in no way, have any objection of Winter's decision.

I do, however, object entirely to the kind of society that puts a young woman under that kind of pressure.

It's reasonable to see why those things would make her feel uncomfortable, especially as it's all happening in the public eye.

But, beyond the medical benefits it offers her, I don't think it's Winter who needs to change here.

I think the attitudes of the media and the fashion industery need to change. Photographers and journalists need to stop making objectification the primary function of stories about and images of women. Clothes need to be designed with every body type in mind, not just the contemporary 'ideal'. These aren't difficult changes to make, especially compared with the number of womn - young and old, famous or not - who feel the need to resort to surgery to conform to unrealistic standards.

I don't understand why people think it's not an extreme measure to resort to invasive surgery because it's not fashionable to be big-breasted or wide-hipped or round-bellied or short-legged. It's not okay to marginalise people with normal and naturally-occuring body shapes that don't meet increasingly unattainable expectations of beauty.

I want Ariel Winter to be comfortable in her body. That means, I want her not to feel pain that occurs naturally but can be avoided through surgery. It also means that I want her to be able to look her natural self, or whatever self she chooses, without being judged for it, or ogled, or objectified, or labelled, or reduced to nothing but her looks because of it.

I want every human being to feel comfortable in the skin. I want them to feel that way without having to undergro dramatic and unnecessary surgery to feel that way. I'd like to live in a world where everyone can find clothes they feel comfortable in and where no one feels like their natural or chosen body, for whatever reason, is drawing unpleasant levels or kinds of attention.

And I don't see why this is such a controversial or unpopular opinion. I don't understand why people are preapred to accept that they're not good enough in the body they were born in, for any cosmetic or non-medical reason.

Well they are good enough

You are good enough.

Regardless of whatever part of you is too big or too small or too puffy or too saggy.

What is not good enough is the culture that tell you this is not true and, worse still, makes it actively difficult for you to believe it.

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