A history and sociological analysis of breast implant technology
"Meticulously researched, thought-provoking, and stylish, Cleavage proves beyond all doubt that a breast is never just a breast."-Elizabeth Haiken, author of Venus Envy: A History of Cosmetic Surgery
"This is a wonderful, absurd tale, filled with dark humor and irony, too outrageous to be true, but starkly, carefully documented. It is a well-written, well-researched contribution to the story of the medicalization of everything about women."-Barbara Katz Rothman, author of Genetic Maps and Human Imaginations: The Limits of Science in Understanding Who We Are
"Cleavage is a fascinating, finely nuanced, and sophisticated account of the history and meaning of breast implant technology. All surgeons, women considering breast implants, and public health professionals should read and ponder this remarkable book."-Elizabeth Fee, National Library of Medicine
Women's breasts have been idealized as symbols of femininity and motherhood. They have held great social and psychological significance as objects drawing intrusive gazes, and as images of self worth to be measured against an idealized form. It is no wonder, then, that a technology emerged to alter and "enhance" their appearance. Nora Jacobson traces the hundred-year history of one such technology: breast implants.
Organized both chronologically and thematically, this book examines the history of breast implant technology from 1895 to 1990, including the controversies that erupted in the early 1990s over the safety of the devices and the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of their use. Jacobson examines such topics as politics and bias in medical practice and the role of bureaucracies, corporations, and governments in establishing policy and regulating implant technology.
Nora Jacobson is a medical sociologist who conducts research on how the social construction of health and illness affects the making of health policy. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.