The IASPS recently published its study on the most popular cosmetic procedures worldwide. In the United States of course we know that these are 1) Botox, 2) chemical peel, and 3) Breast augmentation. Worldwide, in fact, breast augmentation is among the most common procedure in the society’s figures. It shows up in the top three procedures of most countries, even though the list obviously includes non-invasive procedures, which in this country outpace surgical procedures almost by a factor of ten. It is noticeably (and explicably) absent in the lists of all Muslim countries, which focus primarily on skin and facial procedures, noticeably rhinoplasty.
Interestingly, however, there are only two countries which feature breast reduction as a top procedure: Germany and Switzerland. Why this might be so is complicated, but it can have a profound impact on the prevalence of breast augmentation in heavily German communities, such as Pennsylvania.
The St. Pauli Girl aside, Americans do not think of German women as exemplars of beauty, especially not of voluptuous beauty. There were, for example, no German women on the recently published list of Hollywood’s 50 best breasts. There were plenty of contributions from France and Italy, but the closest to Germany is the Swiss German Ursula Andress, who appears courtesy of the Bond film Dr. No. The most famous example of a German actress in Hollywood is Marlene Dietrich, who presents a very masculine figure most of the time. Furthermore, when beautiful German women are presented in the movies, as in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’s Elsa, played by Alison Doody, they are typically presented in a similarly masculine fashion.
But does this relate to the actual image German women have of themselves? After all, St. Pauli Girl is in fact a German beer, with German-designed marketing. Are German women perceived so differently from women around the world?
The answer might have nothing to do with attractiveness, per se. According to an article on German culture, German women have long been “circumscribed by the three K words: Kinder (children), Kirche (church), and Küche (kitchen).” Women have felt this limitation more strongly in the 20th and 21st century and have sought to make their way out of tightly-controlled circle of their lives. Perhaps breast reduction is part of this. At least two of these words, Kinder and Küche, are tightly bound with the visual image of copious breasts, whether in the maternal sense or in the bountiful flesh association with a woman in the kitchen. So breast reduction surgery [http://www.geisingercosmetics.com/breast_reduction.html] becomes a powerful symbol of women’s liberation, liberation not only from children and the kitchen, but also from the cornucopious expectations placed on them by men and represented in the St. Pauli Girl.