Sydni Deveraux: On body modification, elective surgery and the joys of changing your body in the age of the Internet.
A little post about body modification, elective surgery and the joys of changing your body in the age of the Internet. This was spurred by comments I see on Instagram on people’s accounts, Facebook, society’s response to Bruce Jenner, body builders, the burlesque community, debates over black women’s hair, etc…
So I’m kind of a public figure, right? I’ve worked and worked on my craft, my body and my voice and it seems that some people dig that. And I dig that. After all I’m an entertainer.
“Hair colour, weave, wigs, nails, tattoos, implants, piercings, shaving, waxing … radical diets … even radical haircuts – none of us look like we would if we never fussed with our appearances…”
When I went on a fat-loss journey a few years back I dealt with so much bullshit it was enough to give me anxiety. Fifty pounds is a lot of weight to lose when you are a naked lady on the Internet. People had opinions, and they are entitled to them, but it was exhausting to hear ‘friends’ proclaim that they liked me “when you were bigger”.
I posted about it, since it was hard not to notice my body changing in public and I’m not one to not acknowledge a pink elephant in the middle of a living room. Also, other people were on the same journey and if the internet isn’t a useful place to inform, share ideas and connect, I don’t know what is.
I have never changed for other’s amusement, only for mine – though it would be impossible to proclaim that I have not had my mind sculpted by culture, art, my parents (natural body builders and trainers in the 80s), my childhood and what I intrinsically find beautiful. I’ve studied art history, the sociology of sexuality, why we are attracted to who we are and why we like what we like. I do this constantly in a desire to understand why some things are hardwired, like being attracted to the .6 waist to hip ratio and why symmetry is intrinsically more attractive to us and signals markers of fertility and health.
“If you respected me because I “had a natural chest” (a ridiculous little comment made today), I argue you never respected me since you only saw my body and not me as a human being.”
Body shaming is still when you proclaim things like “I prefer you natural” to someone getting some sort of procedure – and while we are talking about natural, none of us are. Hair colour, weave, wigs, nails, tattoos, implants, piercings, shaving, waxing, plucking, radical diets full of creatine, even radical haircuts – none of us look like we would if we never fussed with our appearances. What about those transitioning to another gender?
My body doesn’t make me who I am, though looking however I want to look in order to express myself in whatever way I choose is an expression of who I am, in some way. We are not our bodies. We have a body. It is the only thing that is ours to do with what we want. And in some ways, every fucking choice a woman makes about her own fucking body is political. Feminists up in arms over women’s choices perplex the fuck out of me. When we all get free choice, we get change. With free choice and equality and burning down the bonds of stigma, society changes.
So, I’ve started posting about my upcoming breast augmentation on 2/23. I’m super excited and don’t need you to be. It’s not about you. But somehow people make it about them. Which is too bad. I know another performer who is about to undergo the same procedure soon and I’ve been watching her commenters too.
If you respected me because I “had a natural chest” (a ridiculous little comment made today), I argue you never respected me since you only saw my body and not me as a human being. You are making assumptions on my reasoning for getting breast augmentation and I assure you, you couldn’t possibly know my mind and heart around my choices and I’ve no interest in laying them out to you. My choices don’t affect your life and in many cases, none of us ever asked your damn opinion on whether we should do something to our body or not. If a paperweight sized object is placed into my body on my terms and that destroys your respect I think we have bigger issues at play.
“I wonder how magnificent we would all look if it was simply expected that we could do whatever we wanted to do with our bodies without drama.”
Many public type figures might tell you what they are doing for a multitude of reasons and mine are simple:
All of a sudden photos of me with bigger breasts are going to show up on the Internet. And if I didn’t address it, many people would treat my new chest like a big ol’ busty elephant in the middle of the room. A lot of people see my tits weekly, and up close. And I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
I won’t be performing for a bit, and for a lot of my friends might seem strange or worrisome. I’ll be hopefully focusing on painting, meditating, time with friends and writing. Life imitates art, so I’m sure tits will come into play in any photo projects I’ll be doing (still a naked lady on the Internet, y’all) and sure as shit in any ridiculous selfies I may post.
I don’t post to impress, have you question me or offer up your opinions on my body. Just to inform and also to ensure that with my friends knowing – I get epic motorboats when I’m all healed up.
So shut your shit about anyone doing anything with their bodies; let them be happy, work shit out, do what they got to do, and experience their body on this planet the way they want. Support the right of choice and creativity instead of your possibly very narrow standards of acceptable behaviour that you think deserves your “respect”.
In keeping quiet but still being naked online I feel I fall prey to stigmatising my own decisions. I think breasts of all types are awesome. Period. Others who choose to modify their bodies may not feel the same way that I do about saying anything publicly – and that’s totally okay too.
Your shaming my or anyone else’s decisions to modify or create another appearance for themselves only creates more stigma as well. What’s more I think you would be SHOCKED to know who among you has considered work or has had anything done that you would never know about unless they changed right in front of you.
I wonder how magnificent we would all look if it was simply expected that we could do whatever we wanted to do with our bodies without drama. If changing your hair colour never made a friend blink or work reprimand you, and the saying “life is a stage” was used in every glorious sense of the term. Following our highest joys in work, play and even aesthetically.
Others do not exist to amuse you. I exist to amuse myself and I’m pleased that others are amused by that as well (I do try to be entertaining). And I applaud any human for doing implicitly what they want to their body no matter how fucked up society might treat them.
Big gratitude to my family, friends, peers and fans who have kept their opinions to themselves and let me do my thing. I love the fuck out of you. I’ll squish your face with my boobs when I see you on the other side.