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Women's Experiences with Breast Augmentation and Reconstruction

Title: Women's Experiences with Breast Augmentation and Reconstruction: Bodies, Emotions, and the Self.
Name(s): Sischo, Lacey, 1979-, author
Martin, Patricia Y., professor directing dissertation
Joiner, Thomas E., outside committee member
Padavic, Irene, committee member
Simon, Robin W., committee member
Department of Sociology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation study examines breast surgery (breast augmentation and reconstruction) as a social problem whereby women, through an agentic response to conform to gendered beauty norms, surgically alter their bodies in an effort to enhance (or sometimes reclaim) their femininity and, ultimately, improve their self-esteem. Women who undergo mammoplasty do not exist in a vacuum. They are situated in a social context characterized by social inequality and power disparities that are played out in and through their bodies. While a growing body of literature has examined cosmetic surgery, little is known about breast surgery, even though it is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures. My dissertation compares the experiences and interpretations of women who have had breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, women who have had a mastectomy and chosen not to have reconstruction, women without cancer who have had cosmetic breast augmentation, and women without cancer who have not surgically altered their breasts. Through in-depth interviews, I explore factors that lead women to have (or not to have) breast surgery, women's attitudes about their bodies (and breasts in particular), how these attitudes are reflected in the decision-making process, and the ways their decision influences their identities and feelings about their bodies. My dissertation speaks to theoretical issues regarding the relationship between gender, breast surgery, the body, and identity. According to my findings, breasts tend to be more central to the identities/selves of Reconstruction and Augmentation than to No Reconstruction and No Augmentation women, which helps explain why some women elect to have their breasts altered by surgery whereas other women do not. Breast surgery is also a body project that women use to manage negative emotions related to their bodies and selves.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1696 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Sociology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Summer Semester, 2008.
Date of Defense: February 29, 2008.
Keywords: Gender, Identity, Emotions, Breasts, Body
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Patricia Y. Martin, Professor Directing Dissertation; Thomas E. Joiner, Outside Committee Member; Irene Padavic, Committee Member; Robin W. Simon, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Sociology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Sischo, L. (2008). Women's Experiences with Breast Augmentation and Reconstruction: Bodies, Emotions, and the Self. Retrieved from