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These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: feminism

I Am Buying Tits: Feminism and Breast Augmentation

jasmine banks

Monday afternoon I sat in the exam room. I shifted back and forth trying to figure out how to get comfortable in the stiff white disposable underwear  the nurse gave me. She knocked, "Jasmine are you ready?"  I answered reluctantly. "Just follow me this way," she instructed. The nurse led me to a room with a photography backdrop and tape on the floor.

"Turn to the side." She snapped a photograph. "Lift your arms up." She snapped another photograph. These would inevitably be the "before" pictures that would serve as the example of the no good horrible body that was in need of transformation. It would be these same pictures held in juxtaposition to the "after" photos that would help countless women decide on implanting their muscles with a silicon sphere. After the nurse finished taking photos to her satisfaction we went back to exam room where I put on the stiff white disposable underwear. The doctor entered shortly after us and sat matter-of-factly on the stool. "Let me take a look at you," he said while pushing open the medical gown. He informed me of all the ways he could change my body to make it look better. His prescription:

  • A breast lift
  • Augmentation
  • Lower body life and tummy tuck

My body has been through several phases of transformation. The most recent transformations (extreme weight loss and breastfeeding for 7 years) has left my breasts in some kind of shape. I've wrestled with this before in this writing space: ideals about boobs, breasts, tits. What I know is that I really like mine and I want them back. I've lived life as DD and I have a B cup because of the weight loss.

I cried at the surgeon's office. Anchor scars and feminism. Self acceptance and self empowerment. It all feels so heavy and hard to navigate. I conceptualize the surgery as a form of restoration. Then I feel conflicted about foreign objects in my body. All of my ambivalence is part of the struggle with feminism and being educated on the state of being in the world. Do I want my bigger breasts back because Patriarchy and messages about "The Feminine"?

JustJasmineBlog

Can a feminist get breast implants? Do feminists get breast augmentations?

There is too much narrative around these questions. Some much, in fact, that I believe you have to reduce the conversation down to your personal reflections. We all have to analyze the context in which our choices occur and take responsibility for them.  I think we stray from the path of empowerment when we are comparing our body against the body of an ideal woman and pushing ourselves to achieve that ideal. Does a woman who has had her breast disfigured for various reasons stand against Patriarchy and refuse to get implants in order to make a statement about her body and it how it is okay no matter what? Some feminists should. Other feminists should. I'll bear the weight of my decisions, but not anyone else's. SO the answer is:  Yes. This feminist can get breast implants. I'll still be a feminist... just a feminist with really expensive tits.

What Todd Akin and I have in Common

jasmine banks

Todd-Akin-MEME.jpg

This content appeared originally in "All That Jazz", a weekly column I write in the Siloam Springs Herald Leader.   

Do you know Todd Akin? He wasn’t on my radar until recently when his comments about the magical stop rape button in my uterus made headlines. Akin seems to believe that a woman’s reproductive organs know how to prevent pregnancy in a situation like rape. We can “shut that whole thing down”, according to his remarks, which leave me stupefied and almost speechless. Therefore, pregnancies rarely ever result from rape.  Akin upped the ante in the hot debate about abortion by using this explanation as why rape should not be made an exception in pro-life situations. Maybe we should start referring to Todd Akin’s comments as “The Rape Comment Heard Around the World”.  Everyone had something to say about it, and rightfully so.  The course of events went like this: Todd Akin made some really nasty comments about “legitimate rape”. The media went haywire with responses, rebuttals, rebukes, and raunchy jokes. The GOP quickly went on  clean up mode nervously stuttering, “we SWEAR we aren’t with him” in hopes Akin’s comments wouldn’t impact the success of their upcoming campaigns. The Democrats quickly parlayed the comments by Akin, as well as other outspoken Conservatives, into a “Don’t Vote GOP Because They Don’t Mind Rape” campaign.

It has all been gross! I am disheartened by the reaction of both sides of the aisle. We are talking about rape, people! As a sexual abuse and assault survivor I am utterly aghast that Todd Akin or any other leader or educated person would make a statement like this. I fumed for days as I logged on to my social media platforms and could not escape all the news about rape. I was snappy and angry. “THAT MAN SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN,” I thought. My opinions and the opinions of others who are furious are very warranted. Akin, Huckabee, and Ryan are all very off base in their comments concerning women, rape, and their reproductive rights. But! But! But!

Mr. Todd Akin and I aren’t so different. You read that line correctly. I am just as guilty as Todd Akin about holding a misogynist, demeaning, and disrespectful view of women’s reproductive rights. One night as I was reading through people’s comments about the Todd Akin mess I saw my friend, Audra post this on her Facebook status:

There it was, staring me in the face. I have made jokes about Mrs. Duggar, I confess. Her choices baffle me and I have been very judgmental toward her. Reading Audra’s comment, however, I realized that my form of marginalizing women was a more acceptable form. As an outspoken feminist my platform has been women’s rights, and yet here I was joining Akin’s ilk in discriminating against a women, solely because of her exercising her reproductive rights. What Akin said was disgusting and what I have said about Michelle Duggar is disgusting. All women, regardless of how they choose, should have the right to choose what is best for their bodies. Bar none.

I consider Todd Akin an enemy to women and their rights. Todd Akin, your comments were horrific, ignorant, and inappropriate. Todd Akin’s comments were all those things, and still, they reflected back to me my own hypocrisy. Todd Akin and I aren’t that different, after all.  I think the Dalai Lama said it best, “In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.”

What do you think? Do my comments about Michelle Duggar do the same thing that Todd Akin did in respect to women? Are you guilty of misogyny and limiting women based on your own bias, or do you think what Akin did was different?