Equal Time Fall 2019

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decade. Folk has gotten two breast reductions herself, so she fully understands the urgency of women who want to get this procedure. “I was a 34 DDD, now a 34D. I tell all of my patients that I have had the surgery, and even show them my scars if it helps, so I am pretty open,” she says. My breasts grew pretty quickly during high school… the biggest problem for me was feeling self- conscious about my appearance. I like fashion, and felt limited in what I could wear.” In my experience, I felt the same limitations when, seemingly overnight, my burgeoning chest size hijacked my self-esteem. I squeezed into three sports bras every morning, my humiliation as transparent as the attempts to disguise my insecurity. Hobart College sophomore Stella Jalai also struggles to reshape her body to better fit the Victoria’s Secret ideal. “I tend to complain about having big breasts and not being able to wear certain clothes and looking fatter than I am because my breasts make shirts look bigger on me,” Jalai says. “Even though I get attention from boys, which gives me confidence, I always wonder if it is because they like my body or because I am an attractive person.” There is an unspoken obligation for women to conform to a sexualized society that promotes perfectly proportionate bodies. This is evidenced by the rise in breast reductions among adolescents. Tyler Greene, a first-year student at Richmond University, also thinks a smaller cup size would go a long way towards increasing her confidence.

“Smaller breasts seem very popular among celebrities, so I feel pressured to alter my appearance to look more like them,” she says. “There is a lot of pressure to attain the ‘perfect’ body, and it does not usually include large breasts.” As these societal pressures rose around me, I no longer felt “normal” in my own skin. Despite this, I always knew I was Sophie underneath my strategic layers of clothing. While crude comments about my appearance eventually became background noise, I realized that, this being the 21st century, I had options. After hours of research, I mentioned a breast reduction to my mom. Our conversation carried on for months as I peppered her with arguments in favor of the procedure. She grew to understand I was tired of the camouflage — I couldn’t run, jump, play sports, or sleep comfortably. My breasts were not only diminishing my confidence, but also my health and quality of life. On June 15, 2017, I awoke from anesthesia 750 grams of breast tissue lighter. I wasn’t emptier, though, but rather overflowing with self-love. The walls of adversity and self-recrimination that had built up around my midsection gave way to joy and acceptance. I escaped a place of isolation to emerge stronger than ever. For the first time in three years, people, including me, saw and accepted me for who I am. Finally, Sophie Schlosser came out of hiding once and for all.

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