For decades, 42-year-old sisters Tanesha and Tiwan Sweet were teased, taunted, stared at and whispered about, because of their size 40G breasts. There was even an incident of what could be considered sexual assault; Tanesha tells ABC News:
"I used to work in a nursing home and a lot of the older men groped at me and touched me."
Ugh. Shudder. In our society, large breasts are considered desirable and sexy, and usually stories about breast reductions involve the patient having physical problems — back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain. But large breasts can take an emotional toll, as well.
Women often come in with social complaints," Dr. Russell Ashinoff of The Plastic Surgery Center, says. "People make fun of them, stare and there's outright sexual harassment, and it's hard to believe it's still happening in 2012." Of course, most insurance companies will cover breast reduction surgery if it's causing physical pain. But it could be argued that emotional suffering is a lot more damaging and longer-lasting.
In a recent post about sexual objectification on Sociological Images, Caroline Heldman explains how we're inundated with images that erase the individuality of women, often by focusing on breasts. Heldman writes:
The damage caused by widespread female objectification in popular culture is not just theoretical. We now have over ten years of research showing that living in an objectifying society is highly toxic for girls and women.
Toxic enough that women are voluntarily going under the knife, both for implants and for reductions. And Tanesha says: "I wish I would have done it sooner."
Twin Sisters' Torment Led to Breast Reduction Surgery [ABC News]
Sexual Objectification (Part 1): What Is It? [Sociological Images]