Oh hell, looks like it’s time to talk about boobs.
Charlotte Flair made her return to Smackdown Live this week after being out of action. It’s no secret why she was out of action, either, she had been performing for months with two ruptured breast implants.
I’m not saying this as a joke because I cannot imagine the kind of pain she had to be in. In an interview she mentioned the pain beginning in her shoulder blade and just kept getting worse the longer she put off the surgery to have them repaired. Also, Flair stated that she “got sick a few times like that might have been from it like the silicone had gone all the way to my armpit.”
Flair is hardly the only woman in the WWE with implants. Earlier this year both Peyton Royce and Billie Kay underwent enhancements prior to their call-up to Smackdown Live. Also, Alexa Bliss reportedly had her implants replaced between Wrestlemania and Backlash, with plenty of people comparing “before” and “after” photos trying to figure out if she’d gone up in size and, if so, how much. But is that really our business?
Look, during the Attitude Era women in WWE got new boobs. It was like your signing bonus. Rumors of new women’s talent were generally accompanied by notes of when they’d undergone the surgery before debuting with the company. Even when the AE ended it was rare to see someone who hadn’t had some kind of enhancement done to their breasts. The claim for awhile was that because breasts are naturally lopsided (one is bigger than the other) the implants helped “even them out” and make them look better on TV. Which is ludicrous, it was just about “we want our women to have bigger boobs and the part of our fanbase we’re most desperate to please want women to have bigger boobs.”
It was never mandatory and over the years it became less ubiquitous. Until it finally reached where we are today: a mixed bag of women who do and women who don’t. But as this past year especially has proven, the crowd is a mixed bag, too. I’m not even talking about the guys who still think heaving chests should be the division’s focus (shout out to the jerk in Pittsburgh to spent an entire Bayley match talking about how “she needs a boob job to match her big Latina butt.”), but about the people, especially women, who’ll argue that women in modern WWE getting breast implants is counter to supposed message of empowerment coming from the Women’s Evolution.
At which point I think it IS worth discussing. Not in a “how much bigger are her boobs” but in a grand sense of “what’s the correctly feminist way of viewing breast enhancement surgery?”
I’ll admit, the whole thing is difficult and an ongoing conversation in my head. So I’m going to illustrate that in the only way I can truly capture my thoughts: with a meme.
Women in WWE getting breast implants are getting surgery in order to please men in the audience. It completely undoes their message of empowerment.
Women in WWE choosing to get breast implants is just that, a choice. We shouldn’t shame them for that choice because they have the right to bodily autonomy and all they’ve done is exercise that. In a way, getting implants is empowering.
But especially in WWE there are definitely physical “types” they prefer to push, and with their women that generally involves having large breasts but a trim body, something very difficult for most women to achieve without surgery. With that in mind, it’s not fair to say that any decisions about appearance are made without the added pressure and possibly coercion of the men in charge of the company? Getting implants may be personally empowering, but what is the cost in the greater scheme of things? Is that something that should fall on the shoulders of the women in question, after all they are equally victims of a world that sells the idea of beauty they’re trying to meet. On the other hand, isn’t their embracing of that ideal and getting ahead because of it also detrimental to women who refuse to conform?
There’s no way to resolve this debate fully, you can still be empowering with breast implants, maybe we need to stop trying to make everything women do into some kind of symbol of “empowerment,” especially when it comes to vanity, and seriously, somebody needs to invent implants that can withstand a decent clothesline.
Of course, this is meant to focus entirely on women in WWE and doesn’t even begin to include the issue of the ever rising number of teens getting plastic surgery. It also doesn’t address the situation of trans women who get implants. I’m not going into either of those here because it only further proves that there is no one good answer. And that there shouldn’t be.
Oh, and along those lines? As I mentioned on Twitter, my aunt’s power washing company came across a load of demo implants when they were cleaning out an old hospital. I am extremely tempted to grab a few and take them to live wrestling shows with me to whip at anybody yelling about boobs during women’s matches. If you want one so badly, here, have one.
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