Why Are Women Unhappy With Their Breasts?

We know that the majority of women are unhappy with their breasts, but a new study is striking in its revelation that about 70% of women are unhappy with the size or shape of their breasts.

The survey showed that, although women’s concerns about their breasts changed with age, the overall fact did not change:  at all ages, most women are unhappy with their breasts.

The study also made one explanation seem unlikely: women are not unhappy with their breasts because their partners are. Overall, the majority of men (56%) are happy with their partner’s breasts.

So, what makes women unhappy with their breasts?

One hypothesis states that it is media that makes women uncomfortable with their breasts.

In the words of the study, “Women’s breasts, perhaps more than any other aspect of women’s bodies, are widely presented for evaluation in television, movies, and popular magazines.”

Certainly, this is true and comparison with supposedly ideal breasts may make women unsatisfied with their breasts and several studies have associated more television viewing with an increased desire for plastic surgery.

But this is likely only one part of the story. Another part is probably that women are overestimating the importance of larger breasts to men. Studies have shown that women overestimate the size of breasts preferred by men.

Finally, breasts are very important to women, more so than to men. As one researcher put it, “Women’s breasts are invested with social, cultural, and political meanings. . . .  Breasts are seen simultaneously as a marker of womanhood, as a visual signifier of female sexualization, as synonymous with femininity.”

With this level of significance, it seems that women would feel more pressure to have perfect breasts.

Women’s dissatisfaction with their breasts is a common, but personal and individual problem, but also one with a solution. Women who feel their breasts are too small (28% overall, 38% of women aged 18-25) can have breast enlargement. Women who feel their breasts are too droopy (33% overall, 47% of women aged 56-65) can have a breast lift.

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Meet the Doctors
Dr. Downs
Dr. Downs

Ronald K. Downs, M.D., F.A.C.S. founded The Centre, P.C. in Elkhart, Indiana in 1992. He is an active member in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Downs is also a member of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, The American Medical Association, The Ohio Valley Plastic Surgery Society, The Rush Surgical Society, and The Indiana State Medical Association where he serves on the board of directors and has served as the president from 2003 to 2004.

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Dr. Viscardi
Dr. Viscardi

Patrick J. Viscardi, M.D. has been part of the surgical team at The Centre, P.C. since 1998. Dr. Viscardi graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, as a summa cum laude. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Rochester in New York. Dr. Viscardi completed his internship and general surgery residency at the University of Louisville, where he served as chief resident from 1994 to 1995.

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