After a recent screening of my film The Breast Cancer Diaries at the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing I came home to my husband, kissed my sleeping kids goodnight, put on some comfy clothes and turned on the TV. As I flipped through the copious cable stations the clicker fell upon a sports channel and–I kid you not–the Hooters International Best Breasts Beauty Contest.
Now for the record I have neither the best breasts nor the worst breasts because I lost them to breast cancer–so I have no breasts.
I also chose not to reconstruct them though I was young and had kids and a husband. I’m a worrier, and I knew I would worry about fake boobs. (And this was a personal decision so if you’ve had reconstruction, as my friends have done, I say more power to you.)
So there I was, jaw on the floor–the best breasts, are you kidding me? It was like the Miss America contest with no redeeming value (I suddenly had respect for the “what do you want to do to make the world a better place?” question. At least it tries to have depth.)
And before you worry that I am anti-breasts, let me assure you I am not; I had a pair and I miss them every day. But when they stood in the way of me and the rest of my hopefully long life I had to let them go. And I learned the hard way just exactly what breasts don’t mean.
They don’t mean that I am a woman. They don’t mean that I am beautiful. They don’t mean that I am better than everyone else because mine are bigger. They don’t mean that the right man will only love me if I have them. They don’t mean happiness. They don’t mean I am sexy. They don’t mean I am healthy. And they don’t mean I will live a long and successful life.
Of course having breasts is typical; not having them is not. And my husband has been an angel to deal with this difficult challenge in his marriage to me. But he loves me, so he’s doing it. Yet had “hooters” been as important to him as they were to the people on that TV screen I was watching, I would be divorced by now. And who wants that?
So I watched these beautiful young ladies with tops that jiggled on the contest stage, hoping their name would be called as Miss Best Hooters or whatever, and I thought–oh I hope you know. I hope you find out. That your breasts, as big and as beautiful as they may be, are not worthy of all this praise. They may take you some place tonight– for the short term–but in life, you are more than your boobs. So very much more.
I don’t care about the Hooters contest personally because I have the wisdom that cancer forced down my throat 6 years ago. But for those young ladies and those oogling them from chairs in the audience, and to all those with clickers in their hands watching from their televisions across the world, I am worried. Who will tell them? How will they know? As I clicked to another channel, I thought–I hope they find out the truth about Hooters.
Just not the way I did.