One of the most tantalizing attributes of the female anatomy is the breast. The boobies. The fun-bags. The jugs. Forever immortalized along a spectrum from much revered ancient art to modern day nudie magazines. Large, symmetrical breasts are one of the indicators of pure femininity.
Scientists have suggested that the visual importance of the female body owes to indications that the woman could easily care for a child. In an evolutionary sense, perfectly sized, symmetrical breasts indicate (to a male) the female with the best capacity to feed and rear a child. But in the modern world we’re kind of past that, and physical presentation is probably more informed by what we see in the media than by actual genetic fitness.
However, growing up in any of the countries on this list as a flat-chested young girl can lead to mockery and bullying due to not fitting the cookie-cutter female form, and many women opt for elective surgery to “improve” their figure and self-esteem. The following countries have the most cases per year of breast augmentation, and it should not be surprising that these countries are among the most westernized and image-centric in the world.
There are a variety of reports on the internet that say Greece is higher on this list for reported annual elective plastic surgery procedures, but wherever it truly falls, the desire for “fitness” is definitely there. Like most European countries, Greece is image-obsessed. In fact, most of the countries on this list are places where the citizens epitomize the US as the central hub of fashion and beauty. Greece is just the first on this list to fall into that category. Accurate numbers are hard to come by though because so many sunbaked Grecians cross their border into Bulgaria for cheaper surgeries. With the Greek economic crisis limiting most people’s expendable income, cheaper is better, (even if there is travel involved and a language barrier) because the accommodations and care involved are completely equitable at a fraction of the cost. In fact, reports indicate that breast augmentation in Bulgaria costs Grecians 30-50% less than in Greece.
9 United Kingdom
The UK averages about 30,000 breast augmentation surgeries per year which cost around 7,000-9,000 US dollars a pop, no pun intended. Since most of the augmentations are for purely cosmetic purposes as opposed to actual medical purposes (like reconfiguring the breast after a mastectomy), most of the procedures cost the customer out of pocket. This indicates a real, deep-down psychological need for perfect boobs. And what drives that need? Is it the fact that the UK is one of the world’s foremost fashion centers? Perhaps. But with female icons like Victoria Beckham sporting big ol’ boobies on a body that has about a 2% fat content, it’s really no surprise. Big breasts and twig-like bodies is the quintessential trend in the UK.
It’s a little surprising that Canada is so far down on this list, seeing as to how so many people see it as a country closely associated with the US. This is however, a great misunderstanding. Canada is far more down-to-earth and far less celebrity-obsessed than its “sister to the south,” and honestly, the basic structure of society is so different that it’s almost surprising to see Canada on this list at all. But women here still see the same movies and magazines, and breast augmentation counts for about 25% of all elective plastic surgery in Canada. One of the differences found between Canadian augmentation and American augmentation is that Canada is far less reluctant to define for customers the potential negative aspects of breast augmentation, such as its ability to create difficulty in mammograms, etc., whereas providers in the US who are more likely to pass a pamphlet along to you rather than discuss in detail face-to-face what could go wrong in the short and long term.
Russia is known for its incredibly beautiful women; its ice-white blondes and its dark, exotic beauties. Many of the US’s most famous supermodels hail from the Motherland, and while many of these stunners are not known for their brilliant curves but more for their height, slenderness, and amazing faces, the American ideal still holds true. Older women hoping to look younger and more fitting of the female form spend many dollars annually for breast implants (followed by lipoplasty), and many younger women hoping to be discovered by modeling agents and whisked away to a life as a jet-setting model are going under the knife as well.
Venezuela and Colombia are known for their voluptuous, exotic beauties like Diyana Mendoza and Gaby Espino and the unshakeble Shakira, and they’re connected to Brazil so they have a similar ethnic background. With a combined total of 82,900 surgeries performed last year, it’s easy to see that the two countries take their image seriously. The breast implant-obsessed culture found in this region is almost tragic though. In recent years, thousands of Colombian and Venezuelan women have found themselves suffering from faulty implants, which often rupture and require additional surgical correction. But with import/export laws giving preference to China (where inspection and regulation criteria are more lax than other countries) finding good replacement implants is difficult and has created a black market for this specific purpose. Many women in these two countries save for years to get the augmentation procedure only to find themselves with botched surgeries and no money to fix what went wrong.
The next four countries are easily the most image-obsessed countries on this list, aside from the big ol’ number one. Spain ranks 5th on this list (with 38,800 augmentations performed in 2013) but 10th overall for most plastic surgery operations annually, and the most likely reason for that is the low cost of breast augmentation (and other cosmetic surgeries) in Spain. With some procedures as low as $2500 US, Spain is quickly becoming a destination treatment location. So it’s kind of like having a destination wedding, only instead of vowing to love and cherish another human being, you’re vowing to fill out all your sweaters and swimsuits, till death do you rot. Nothing like spending your vacation time in the beautiful country of Spain experiencing the indoors as you recover in your hotel room for 7-10 days post-surgery.
Oh Germany…the land of weird pornography and delicious sausages is not only in fourth place on this list with 55,160 boob jobs in 2013, but they also had the highest number of penile enlargements in the world the same year. Guess who has the least? The US, what?? So…not only are the women incredibly distressed to fit the mold of perfection, but so are the men! And they’re willing to pay lots of money and risk potentially lots of pain to look and be perfect. Who is it that Germans are comparing themselves to as far as body image? Well, Heidi Klum is German for one, Diane Kruger, Claudia Schiffer, Michael Fassbender, etc…I’m getting sweaty just thinking of this list! No wonder Germans are so hard on themselves!
Mexico reported an astounding 57,690 breast implant procedures last year, but they weren’t just Mexican women. Another country that is growing an international reputation as a prime location for “medical tourism”, cheap surgeries and super-close proximity to the US has resulted in an upswing in elective cosmetic procedures annually. For those who are serious about saving a buck on a body-altering surgery, they risk encountering questionable tap water, sticky-fingered street merchants, mobs of beggars, and the obvious language barrier to have a boob job in Tijuana, or in any other mecca of “reputable” plastic surgeons in Mexico. What this means is you should proceed with caution and make sure you weigh the pros and cons of destination surgeries. Is it really worth it?
Surprise! The country that spawns some of the hottest hotties is second in the world for breast augmentation surgeries with an astounding 226,000 performed in 2013 - that’s almost four times as many as Mexico. Brazil is known for its busty sun-drenched beauties like Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Gisele Bundchen. So…you know, another mysterious land of beautiful woman churning out a societal image of feminine perfection. For a staggering number of women, that image requires going under the knife for some surgically enhanced pseudo-perfection. This plastic surgery is an incredible market in Brazil, often given as birthday presents, graduation gifts, etc. A variety of events can be celebrated with breast implants. Even women who live in the favelas save for as long as they have to in order to afford this procedure.
1 United States
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2013 saw the most radical amounts of money spent on plastic surgery in the US since the 2008 housing collapse. Americans have had five years to stabilize their bank accounts and the first thing on their list to-do with that disposable income is to blow up dem boobies!! In fact, 313,700 procedures were performed in the states in 2013. And of course the US is number one on this list. This is the country that is singularly obsessed with looks. This is the country where all little girls are raised on Barbie and the next step in societal training on what is acceptable looks-wise is celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Christina Hendricks, Scarlet Johansson, and Jessica Simpson. Women in the US are striving to look like onscreen icons with unusual and nearly unattainable bodies, so essentially, the media is creating a customer base that is incredibly devoted to looking “perfect”.