Point & Counterpoint: Breast Implants in Women's Bodybuilding

Breast Implants in Bodybuilding

Do implants make a difference in judging the physique in body building.

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Breast implants have been, and probably always will be, a controversial issue. I believe that what an individual does in his or her personal life-as long as it doesn't harm others-should not be up for public scrutiny, and breast enhancement definitely belongs in this category.

Whether or not female bodybuilders who have breast implants should be scored down in competition has recently become an issue. For those who feel they should be, I would like to pose a few questions: Is the breast a muscle or a fat deposit? Can the breast itself-and I'm not referring to the pectoralis muscles-be enlarged through weight training? Does breast size affect symmetry, and if so, what's wrong with "bitch tits" on a man? Why is it that sexual bodyparts are only considered when the judges are evaluating women's physiques? To make it fair, shouldn't we say, "The larger the bulge, the better and more masculine the man"?

Bodybuilding involves developing a well-muscled physique through weight training and other exercise. Based on their composition-mostly fat-the breasts should be excluded from any judging criteria. (Calf implants are another story, however.) Only if the judging is done in a sexist manner do breasts come into play; sex appeal should have nothing to do with winning a bodybuilding show.

The real tragedy is that women bodybuilders who choose not to have breast-augmentation surgery are sometimes viewed as masculine. This is indeed unfortunate. To put pressure on an individual in such a way-either to undergo the transformation or be viewed as less of a woman-is not unlike the superficial social pressure of having to "dress like a lady" or wear makeup.

All of us-men and women-would like to think of ourselves as beautiful. A big part of the drive that pushes bodybuilders to be bigger and better than the average person is the inspiration of seeing improvement and feeling better about ourselves. If a woman feels that larger breasts will increase her self-confidence and sense of well-being, then so be it. It's not up to some governing body but an important personal decision.

Imagine a large-breasted woman-say, Dolly Parton- with the muscles of a bodybuilder. What happens if she decides to enter a physique contest? Would her breasts affect the judges' decision? Absolutely. How could they not? They would obviously alter the balance of her physique and thus her so-called total package, not to mention the fact that they would enhance the appearance of her pectoral development. Therefore, breast size, whether genetic or surgically manufactured, is a factor in bodybuilding competition.

Let's take a similar hypothetical situation in order to get a clearer view of this dilemma. What if there were such things as clavicle, or collarbone, extensions? A narrow-shouldered bodybuilder could get them and thus look as wide, or wider, than many of his genetically gifted peers. No muscle mass would be altered, only the length of each clavicle. Would that be considered fair play in the competitive bodybuilding arena? I think not. Bodybuilding is about doing the best with what you've got, not being surgically altered to have better proportions.

And that's what it boils down to-proportional augmentation. Surgical alteration-be it breast implants, calf implants, clavicle extensions or whatever-should not be allowed in physique competition. As I said previously, the point of bodybuilding is to develop your God-given musculature and physical proportions through training, not by way of a doctor's scalpel and a few strategically placed bags of saline solution.

If a woman wants to have breast implants to enhance her self-esteem, I'm all for it, but she shouldn't plan to enter a bodybuilding contest without being penalized for the synthetic augmentation of her proportions.

How do we determine who's been altered and who hasn't? Well, that's another ball of wax. Nevertheless, breast implants are cheating as far as bodybuilding competition is concerned. If you've got them and you're competitive, you should be scored down.




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