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Brian In NYC

Laurie I suspect when medical science figures out a way to surgically increase the size of the penis we'll see a great shift in those numbers regarding which gender gets the most plastic surgery.

Caitlin Kelly

As usual, we differ on this point. You seem persuaded that many? most? women are dying to surgically alter themselves, when many of us are just fine with whatever size or shape we've got and we find friends and lovers who like it too.

With the the time, money and attention they waste on plastic surgery to become "perfect", women could totally alter the world -- not just their hips or faces.

Laurie Essig

Gee, I didn't say most- although certainly many, many women (and a growing number of men) are getting work done. Plastic surgery and nonsurgical procedures like Botox are only growing in number. Resistance, like the Vulva Knitting Circle, also exists. Beauty capitalism sells us all stuff- you too- don't you shave? dye your hair? wear cosmetics? Some of us will buy boobs, others botox, and still others just a lipstick or two. Standardization of bodies is a process, one that some people are resisting but most of us are both resisting and submitting. You, Caitlin, are also resisting and submitting, no?

Caitlin Kelly

I do shave, color my hair and wear makeup. Which, I guess, is submitting. I don't see it as that, which you do (?), although I take your point that, on some level, it is submitting to these arbitrary standards.

I guess when it comes to injecting poison or collagen into my face and having someone come near with me a scalpel, that's a little more than I can handle. My rebellion is not starving/exercising myself into becoming or staying a size 2 or 6 -- to please whom, exactly? -- and truly not caring if I get below a size 12; even my ob-gyn's nurse, when, surprised as she recorded my weight, said "You carry it well."

I can hit to the outfield and still clean up nice. Works for me.

Laurie Essig

But we are talking about a difference in degree, not kind. I too don't do Botox or surgery (for one, who has that kind of money?)- but as one of the patients I interviewed said: Hell, going to the gym is way more painful than getting lipo.

I guess my point is, our "free will" comes in how we negotiate the dilemma that is our body in late consumer capitalism. I work out all the time to be "healthy" but also shave, pluck, dye, and spend insane amounts of money on anti-wrinkle cream. Am I really liberated from the Body Project? No, just negotiating it and resisting it differently than her.

And I would bet that even the women knitting vulvas as a form of resistance are themselves also engaged in the body project in some ways. But good for them for creatively resisting- like early factory workers who put their clogs in the machinery to mess it up- saboteurs.

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