How Deep Is My Silicone Valley?


Silicone breast implants are back in the news, as the FDA debates ending its 13-year near-total moratorium on the things.

Back in 1992, then-Reason Editor Virginia Postrel wrote a piece for the Wash Post that's just as relevant now, especially since this has never really been about science or safety:

The breast-implant debate reveals at least three other fundamental divisions—about the interests of consumers, of women and of science—that reflect very different sets of values and ways of understanding the world: How much justification must consumers give the government for their choices? Are women liberated by rediscovering their natural femininity or by seizing control over their biological destinies? And, at least for the sake of public policy, how do we sort evidence from anecdote?

Whole thing here.

Over at National Review Online, Sally Satel weighs in on the matter, contending that feminists want to control women's bodies by denying them implants for ideological, not scientific reasons. Which means that that the two groups may have something in common after all.

NEXT: Every Man His Own Defector

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  1. Many feminists and conservatives are puritanical. They’ve always had this in common.

    Conservatism = bad
    Libertarianism = good
    Feminism = bad
    Egalitarianism = good

  2. Does this mean the mega-boob look that was popular in mid-90’s porn will be making a comeback?

  3. Actually, the silicone look is the more natural look. Saline is responsible for the “cantelope” look that was common with many porn stars and strippers in the mid 90’s. Europe and South America are the light years ahead of us in breast implant technique thanks to the FDA’s arbitrary ban.

  4. We must close the breast implant gap!

  5. How on Earth can we let Europe and SA get ahead of us on the shallowness curve!

  6. I’d like to close the breast gap…

  7. Conservatism = bad
    Libertarianism = good
    Feminism = bad
    Egalitarianism = good

    But doesn’t:

    Feminism = Egalitarianism


    bad = good


    Conservatism = Libertarianism = Feminism = Egalitarianism

  8. Plus, at least according to the Slate Explainer, silicone feels more real than saline.

  9. So, can all the American women with saline implants sue those who forced silicon off the market, driving them to resort to inferior boob enhancing material?

  10. Don,

    Feminism was supposed to be equal to egalitarianism, but it ended up being more of a female form of machismo (IMO). Nonetheless, that was clever.

  11. I find this conversation heteronormative.

  12. What I found most amusing was the quote from ?Anna Daly of Nashville? who said, “We all deserve to feel beautiful, and if not beautiful, at least normal.” I wasn?t aware that inserting non-essential, functionless items into your body is ?normal.? But then, we all have an appendix and there?s no real reason for that either. The article also reports her saying that ?today’s main option, implants filled with saltwater, sloshed in her chest? Every intimate encounter with her is like sex on the beach ? or at least sounds like it.

  13. I’m one for beautifying America, and I don’t know why implants aren’t a government program, like putting flouride in the water.

  14. Feminism was supposed to be equal to egalitarianism, but it ended up being more of a female form of machismo (IMO).

    I think some of it really is about radical egalitarianism. You know, women should earn the same, be equally represented in the workplace in whatever industry, have an equal presense in police, fire, the military, etc.

    The “female machismo” branch, IMHO, is a small highly vocal minority. Very useful, in that they make feminists overall look silly. Which is a good thing, because the main branch of radical feminism is anti-free market, anti-capitalism, etc.

  15. Here is a good place to ask this question that has been bothering me:

    If a guy says he doesn’t like big boobs, is he gay? Discuss. (and then reply, please)

  16. If a guy says he doesn’t like big boobs, is he gay?

    It means his wife or girlfriend has small boobs and has made it clear that she doesn’t want surgery.

  17. thoreau,

    What if he doesn’t have a wife or girlfriend?

  18. thoreau

    I disagree – having had gfs of both varieties I have to say I prefer those with smaller breasts. There are many reasons for this, ranging from simple asthetic preferences to not having to hear “my back hurts” twenty times a day.

  19. Well, the smaller ones seem to hold up to the ravages of time a bit better . . .

    I suppose the artificial varities are not as prone to this failing.

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