Archive for February 2011

Breast Implants and High Rates of Suicide: Body Language of “Self”

February 22, 2011

Today, any woman with a credit card can have breasts of about any size she would like.  I don’t know too many men-myself included- that don’t appreciate the work of a skilled cosmetic surgeon. And, while many, it seems, view a pair of “knock-off” Nike shoes as nothing they would want in their closet, with only an authentic pair of Nike’s being worthy of wearing, a quick stroll down the beach will confirm that most men don’t feel the same about breasts. Real, or not, who cares; a busty young lady strolling by in a bikini with her top spilling over with silicone will turn just as many heads and ignite just as many “fire’s” as the real thing.

However, when we look at those who get breast implants (as it relates to non-verbal communication) the landscape changes radically. Apart from the fact, that as a male, my eyes are biologically drawn to certain areas of a woman’s body(before I can even be aware of it consciously), there are things I am using as part of my assessment when doing a body language analysis; things that for others, only serve as a distraction. While many women-especially those with implants-would like to think otherwise, most men can quickly tell you who has implants, and who doesn’t. Gravity is not selective; when you see 45 year old women with breasts that don’t move when she walks, you’re not looking at a genetic anomaly, in most cases.

With all other things being equal, and without access to other information,  I can draw some pretty accurate generalizations about a woman, just by knowing that she has implants, and yes, this is body language. Will I be right all of the time? No. Will I be right far more than I am wrong? Absolutely!

Six well designed and high quality studies have been conducted, looking at the psychological profile of women who get breast implants. (Again, let me stress, these are generalizations, meaning, they won’t be true of every single woman with breast implants. It will be true, though, when looking at this group as a whole, and will apply to a great many of the women within this group)

In an article published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2007, it was revealed that the suicide rate of women who have had breast augmentation as being double that of the general population. Another study in the Netherlands showed the suicide rate was triple in women with breast implants. Furthermore, they found these women were more likely to:

  • more frequently use alcohol and tobacco
  • have a higher divorce rate
  • have had more sexual partners
  • report higher use of oral contraceptives
  • be younger at first pregnancy
  • have had an abortion
  • have a below average body weight, leading to concern that some may be experiencing eating disorders
  • have a history of psychiatric problems

Realize that these studies do not infer that getting breast implants causes these things. Conversely, it hints at the idea of the psychological makeup of women who get breast implants, also lines up with the type of person who is at a higher risk for suicide etc.

This is one series of studies that, upon first seeing them, made perfect sense to me. After all, a safe bet is that most women getting implants didn’t like their body (and thus themselves) when they had smaller breasts, and felt like they would feel “normal” after they got bigger “boobs”. And, for some, that seems to be the case.

For far more, though, we are finding that the implants make no difference, and they still feel as “flawed” as they did beforehand. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about these concepts years ago in his landmark book, Psycho-Cybernetics published in 1960.

Maltz was a plastic surgeon who often saw patients who were still dissatisfied with how they looked, even after plastic surgery. Maltz found that the real problem was at the level of self-concept, self-esteem, or body image, and, that until corrected in their mind, no amount of cosmetic work would help.

So it is years later; studies show that women seeking breast augmentation have often been teased about their breast size, have low self-esteem, and have suffered and/or been treated for some type of psychological disorder. Every single woman? Of course not, but a rather significant portion of them.
Over the years, I have had, as clients, several women with breast augmentation, a couple of them working as strippers. If you were to meet them on the street, they projected an outward image of utter confidence, poise and really looked like they had it together. In fact, there were a couple who looked like they stepped right out of the pages of Playboy magazine; they were stunningly beautiful.

However, on the inside, they were as insecure as they come, full of self-doubt, and had been depressed throughout much of their adult lives. It was a case of “what you see is NOT what you get”.

Therefore, one useful generalization you can make, when reading people with a limited amount of exposure and information, is that women with breast implants are likely dealing with some less than useful self-esteem/self-concept challenges. Based on current studies, you’ll be right more often than you’ll be wrong.

Body language and non-verbal communication is a fascinating and never-ending journey, one that offers the ability to make more accurate decisions, communicate more effectively and learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. If you are a man, I probably won’t have to twist your arm to get you to start paying more attention to a woman’s breasts.

 If you are a woman, there is nothing that you or anyone else can do to get men to stop looking at breasts. It is what it is. It was going on 500 years ago, and, if this ball in the sky is still here, it will be going on 500 years from now. I have a feeling that most women know this anyway.

 In fact, a recent study showed that 47% of men looked at a woman’s breasts first, around 1/3 looked at their hips and waist first, with only 20% of the men looking at a woman’s face, first. No matter what men looked at, first, though, when they did look at the breasts, they looked longer there, than anywhere else.

Remember, even body language clues that don’t apply to every single person, in every single situation, can be useful as a part of the overall information you use in your assessment. Of course, something as reliable as an asymmetrical facial expression (signaling contempt) is best, when available, but that won’t always be the case. Use what you have, and continually refine your skills, and before too long, you’ll find it’s become second nature.

© Copyright 2011-Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved.