The Feminist Case for Breast Reduction

Before she hit 11, Melissa Febos was one confident and athletic child. She could run around and play barefooted all day in her rural New England hometown. But then came the development of breasts, and her life changed. 

According to Febos, her case was unique to her peers because her breasts came earlier than other girls her age. Not only did they appear early, but they were also much more prominent than her frame could handle. Their appearance became like a before and after marker for her body.

A Life Changed Forever

Part of Febos’ problem with her bust size was the physical discomfort she experienced. In the 80s and 90s, bra technology was not where it is today, so she could not access a bra that would sufficiently support the weight of her breasts when engaging in physical activity.

This, unfortunately, marked the end of playing sports and pretty much anything to do with outdoor games. But it was not the end of her problems. Her large breasts meant she had to contend with stares from boys and men and loathing from girls who wrongly viewed her as promiscuous based on the size of her bosom.

For over 25 years, she endured unwanted attention for all the wrong reasons. Febos always knew she was queer and dated girls from her teenage years. Still, she could not escape the unwanted staring, fetishizing, and touching of men. 

It Took Years to Finally Take the Leap

“It is easy to contend with being sexually objectified as a woman. But it is different if you are as young as 12,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Sacha Obaid.  

When speaking about her struggle with her large breast size in her essay, Febos, a renowned feminist and author, said it was not until she was 30 that she finally stopped caring about what people thought or said. This gave her the confidence she needed to decide to undergo a breast reduction. 

Febos had to ask herself if the surgery was what she wanted. When the resounding answer from within her was yes, she knew it was the right thing to do. It did not matter to her who would have a problem with it—even her fellow feminist crusaders. 

A New Life

Febos had suffered so much because of her breasts; she had gotten used to treating them as something that needed hiding. In the first weeks after surgery, she could not bring herself to look at her new form in the mirror. Instead, she opened her shirt to let her partner look and tell her what she saw. 

According to Febos, her adaptation to her new self was amazing. She can now enjoy the little things in life that her old body was denied, like shopping for clothes online, wearing a bra without an underwire or having none at all, running without needing to clutch her chest, and wearing a tight-fit T-shirt outdoors without getting honked at. 

Today she and her partner can joke about her transformation, and the thought of her breasts, which previously kept her preoccupied, rarely comes to mind. According to Febos, she never thought she would need to discuss her surgery. But coming out to talk about it has helped inspire people struggling with body image issues that they have kept bottled in for years.

Interesting Related Article: “Top questions about breast lift surgery