Barbie artwork symbolizes America’s boob jobs

Chris Jordan, a visual artist known for critiquing America’s consumerist culture, has the art world abuzz with his latest work, a photograph of a woman’s breasts that upon close examination is actually a huge sculpture made out of 32,000 Barbie dolls.

Why 32,000 dolls? Jordan picked the number because, shockingly, it’s the amount of breast surgeries performed each month in the United States. You’re reading right: 32,000 boob jobs. Every month.

Could it be? Let’s do the math: start with all of those Hollywood women who admit to getting breast enhancements like Pamela Anderson, Dolly Parton, Tara Reid, Jane Seymour, Tori Spelling, Kelly Rowland, Victoria “Posh” Beckham. Then triple that number a few times to compensate for the stars who are hush hush about their fake boobs. Next, add reality “stars” who confess their boobs, too, went under the knife like Kendra Wilkinson and Holly Madison of The Girls Next Door, Heidi Montag of The Hills, The Apprentice’s Helene Speight, and Indian dancer and actress Rakhi Sawant (Big Boss).

Recently Brigitte Neilsen, reality TV superstar, took it all a step further (doesn’t she always?) by undergoing various plastic surgery procedures — including a breast augmentation — for a German reality program.

Now, add all of those not-so-famous women who get boob jobs, as reported by the media. These include the thousands of young women each year who now opt for boob jobs instead of cars as high school graduation presents. Add to that the recent onslaught of Asian-American women who are surgically enhancing their bust size. Finally, let’s not forget the girls, yes, girls — not women — who get parental permission (and probably financial aid) to boost their boobs. The number of teens 18 and younger who got boob jobs in 2003 was more than 11,000 according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Wow, I guess 32,000 is right. In my high school, my punk rock friends and I made fun of the mainstream girls who looked like Barbies. (In fact, we called them “the Barbies.” We could think of no worse insult). Our culture is obsessed with the way Barbie looks: blonde hair, blue eyes, tiny waist, big boobs. But, get this: an astute cultural critic years ago figured out that if Barbie were a real person, she would stand six feet tall, with a 19” waist and 39 inch bosom.

Lesbians, as a whole, used to frown upon plastic surgery. Lifting your face or getting your eyes done was an affront to older women. It was ageist and wrong. Getting your boobs done? Utter madness. We were to love our bodies and rub them down with patchouli oil and pray to the goddess.

However, this past decade (read: The L Word) has changed everything: Lesbians nowadays, especially you young whippersnappers, are as influenced by Hollywood and pop culture as anyone. Long gone are the days of Birkenstocks and do-it-yourself haircuts. I hear baby dykes today say that boob jobs are fine, a matter of choice. After all, these are our bodies, right? Fake boobs are even showing up with in our culture. (Did you get a gander at the boobs on the hot doctor Tina slept with last season on The L Word? If those weren’t surgically enhanced boobs, I’m a unicorn. Yes, I know that lady was an actress. Doctors don’t look like that.)

How do you feel about breast augmentation? Is it OK to get your boobs altered sometimes and not others? Would you do it? Would you date a girl who has had a boob job? Would you sleep with her?

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