[lit-ideas] Re: "No dating please - we're American"

  • From: Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 14:40:00 EDT

I have three colleagues and numerous friends who have found their mates via 
online dating services.  On the plane yesterday, there was a big ad for what 
has become quite the rage in KC--the set up is that you sign up with various 
criteria (I think-I've not been <g>) and then get matched with a member of the 
opposite sex for (I think) about a ten-minute conversation.  At the end, you 
decide if there are any that you would like to see again--and if they do the 
to you, then you get matched together and know you are both interested.  
The online services seem to range from just posting about yourself and to 
your interests to filling out questionaires which go rather indepth as to your 
beliefs, etc. 

I am not sure that it takes away from the matching that is done via friends, 
co-wrkers, family members or from meeting potential dates via volunteering or 
sports or places of faith or whatever served in the past to create matches.  I 
think it is just another option.  

I cannot believe (almost) Julie's post about the sex education stuff in her 
kids' school.  In my child's school district, they are very careful about 
making sure that parents have the option to view anything prior to it being 
discussed with the kids and/or not having their kids see it.  

I was thinking, though, of how it really does seem to not be 'sex' that the 
kids are after--I would agree with that--but other aspects of what fills a void 
in the human psyche.  OR, it may be that thing called peer pressure (like the 
son who was dressing like a gangsta because everyone else was doing so...) 
and then I read this...and was thinking of the quote in it about how the girl 
was being teased as to her size...peer pressure by who? girls or boys?  and 
 Because of sex? Because of a need for attention?  This trumps safety?  

Marlena in Missouri

Teens Getting Breast Implants for Graduation

By Susan Kreimer - WeNews correspondent

(WOMENSENEWS)--This summer 17-year-old Aubrie Wills is getting a special 
graduation present. It's not a new wardrobe, a laptop computer or a trip to 
Cancun. It's a set of breasts.

"If I go to college, then no one's going to know my boobs were small," said 
the Grapevine High School senior who endures teasing in suburban Dallas. "It 
would be a lot more evident if I did it in the middle of the school year."

Her mother, grandmother, two aunts and stepmother have implants. Aubrie, who 
turns 18 in July, hopes to enhance her 32A cups to a small C. "If my mom is 
offering to pay for it now, why not?" she said.

Last year, 3,841 women 18 or younger underwent breast augmentation, a 
24-percent jump from 3,095 in 2002, which represents a 19-percent increase from 
in 2001, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Only 978 
girls had the procedure in 1992. (Women between 19 and 34 account for a large 
segment of those getting implants; 114,005 last year.)

More teens visit plastic surgeons this time of year. "You see it around 
graduation," said Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, the society's president. "You see it 
holidays and spring break, especially around the Christmas season."

The phenomenon is taking off across the country, but doctors say implants are 
especially popular in Texas and California. "Breasts are a fashion item," 
said Dr. Garry Brody, professor of plastic surgery at the University of 
California in Los Angeles. "In the 1920s--the flapper era--women were binding 
their breasts to make them look smaller to suit the fashions."

"When I graduated high school in 1990, the big thing was nose jobs," said Jo 
Trizila, director of media relations for the Greater Dallas Chamber. Now, 8 of 
her 10 friends have implants. Those who couldn't afford them took out a loan.

Body Image Trumps Safety

With television shows like "The Swan" showcasing plastic surgery, more teens 
view breast augmentation as a commonplace procedure.

A 17-year-old who saw Dr. Edward Melmed before graduation "thought it would 
be a fun thing to do," said the Dallas plastic surgeon, who removes implants 
and testified before the Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel in 
October. "They regard it as having your hair done or getting a new watch. She 
had no 
concept that this was a serious operation."

"We tell them it's real surgery," said Rohrich, chair of plastic surgery at 
the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "It has real 

But for many teens, appearance trumps caution. "Our biggest concern with 
adolescents is that they may not necessarily appreciate the relative permanence 
the changes," said Dr. David Sarwer, a psychologist at the University of 
Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Center for Human Appearance in Philadelphia. 
has gathered anecdotes about "suburbs of big cities where cosmetic surgery is 
a relatively common Sweet 16 or high school graduation gift."

Dr. Douglas Senderoff of New York, who practices in Manhattan and Westchester 
County, says minds are often made up before consultations with him begin. 
Several 17-year-olds inquired about implants, he recalled, including a teen 
severe asymmetry. Insurance covered implant surgery for one breast and 
reshaping the other.

When parents ponied up $7,000 for breast enlargement--a cost that varies 
depending on location--"they thought it was important for their (child's) 
well-being," said Senderoff, who turns away girls under 18. "At 16 or 17, you 
may be 
very skinny. By 18, you may fill out a little more."

Try telling that to teens who admire full-breasted magazine models. "We get 
calls from teen-age girls like, 'I'm getting my implants next week. What do I 
need to know?'" said Diana Zuckerman, a psychologist and president of the 
Washington-based National Center for Policy Research for Women and Families. 
"Teen-age girls have the worst body image."

Unanswered Questions

"In the patients I'm treating, it's severe lack of breast tissue," said Dr. 
Susan Kolb, a plastic surgeon and holistic medicine specialist in Atlanta. 
"It's not that they have a B and want to go to a C."

Kolb knows how they feel. As a flat-chested 31-year-old Air Force doctor, she 
decided it was time to change. After surgery in 1985, she experienced a 
common complication known as capsular contracture--tightening of scar tissue - 
--around the right implant. Years later, her left implant leaked silicone. She 
developed fibromyalgia and other immune-related disorders along with 
disease. In 1997, she traded those implants for smooth saline.

"A lot more research needs to be done on the safety of breast implants," said 
Kolb, 49, an expert on saline and silicone complications. "There are a lot of 
unanswered questions in my mind." Risks include surgical complications from 
anesthesia, excessive bleeding and infection.

Over time implants rupture or deflate, requiring additional surgeries. This 
can happen immediately, within months, several years or later after the initial 
procedure. With saline implants, women sense a change more easily. But the 
thicker silicone-gel implants maintain a better shape, compromising detection 
a rupture.

Implants also can make it more difficult for mammography to pinpoint breast 
cancer. Removing them could result in loss of breast volume, distortion and 

To inform teens about the health hazards, Kathy Keithley Johnston visits 
Missouri's secondary schools. She passes around an implant in health education 
classes and shows graphic photographs of girls disfigured after implant removal.

"We want to be the primary clearinghouse of information in the U.S. on breast 
implants," said Johnston, a registered nurse and executive director of Toxic 
Discovery in Columbia, Mo., which reaches out to high schools and colleges 

Johnston, who turns 53 this month, remembers being teased as a flat-chested 
teen. In 1984, she was implanted at no cost in Midland, Texas, as a poster 
child for a manufacturer's video. She co-founded the advocacy organization in 
1995, the year after autoimmune disease compelled her to part with implants. 
plastic surgeon had assured her they would last a lifetime. It turned out to be 
a lifetime of pain and suffering.

Cindy Fuchs-Morrissey underwent a bilateral mastectomy at 35 after three 
silicone-gel sets to correct a deformity. She got the first set at 18.

"The surgery was a birthday present from my parents," said Fuchs-Morrissey, a 
46-year-old mother of three girls in Macon, Mo., who suffers from multiple 
sclerosis. She believes her 14-year-old daughter Hilary's scleroderma, a 
systemic sclerosis, is linked to silicone crossing the placental barrier.

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration approved saline implants for women 
18 and older. Its recommendation is only advisory because breast implants, 
unlike medications, are not regulated by the FDA. Silicone-gel implants are not 
approved for marketing and are available to women only through FDA-approved 
clinical studies.

At 19, Kacey Long went from 34B to 34D while yearning to belong to the "ritzy 
culture" at Baylor University in Waco. This past September, about three years 
later, she had the implants removed due to excruciating pain and silicone 

"My best friend's mom worked for my plastic surgeon for 12 years, and she 
received breast implants six months before me," said Long, now a 22-year-old 
graduate student in special education at Texas A and M University-Commerce. 
said that in her time at the office, no one ever had any problems. So I really 
thought that I had inside info and that these devices were completely 'safe' 
and maintenance-free.

"I am still paying on my augmentation surgery," she added, "even though my 
breast implants are now at home with me in a jar, where they should have been 
all along."

Susan Kreimer is a freelance medical writer in New York City.

For more information:

National Center for Policy Research for Women and Families-- - Implant 
Information Project: - http://www.breastimplantinfo.org/

Humantics Foundation-- - Breast Implants: Recovery and Discovery: - 

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