When is the right time to teach your kids that some women are not comfortable with the size of their breasts, that society is full of judgmental people, and plastic surgeons can make their boobies bigger? After puberty? After high school? How about 9 years old?
That's the age of most of the kids who sat in an elementary school classroom in Virginia recently, fondling breast implants brought in by a plastic surgeon giving a presentation for "Shady Grove Elementary's Career Day." NINE! Can we say inappropriate?
Listen, I understand that not all breastwork has the same connotation. There are women who have implants done after a mastectomy from breast cancer. There are women who actually have their breasts made smaller because of back pain. There are women who are psychologically healthy and are having a little bit added to the rack because they WANT TO, thank you very much. I have no real beef with plastic surgery in the mammary glands in any of those cases.
This isn't about implants. It's about age-appropriate topics. It's about what an elementary school exposes kids to on career day, and what kind of an impact it has on kids' psyches.
None of those women who have breastwork are 9 years old. At 9, most girls have yet to even spout breast buds, forget actual breasts. Puberty hits the average girl a year and a half later (although, admittedly, it's getting earlier and earlier in America). Speaking as the mother of a daughter and a woman both, the longer we can wait until they contemplate the idea of theirs not being "good enough," the better. In a perfect world, a woman would always be happy with the body that nature gave her, period.
Implants are fun to touch. They're squishy, and no doubt the kids got a kick out of it. But what's the message sent home to all the kids?
Frankly, putting these implants in kids' hands isn't simply an issue of the girls' self esteem. It plants in the boys' heads that there's another ideal out there too. That somehow breast implants are a GOOD, perhaps healthy thing for women. It took a classroom of "ewww, girls are icky" boys and presented them with the concept of a breast as something that needs to be enhanced.
What would you have done if this was your kid's school? Support it or freaked?
Image via bonnie-brown/Flickr