Sunday, February 26, 2012

Masha Gessen: Breasts Old and New

Masha Gessen, who visits 3/8, wrote an extraordinary series of articles for Slate in 2004 in advance of undergoing a double mastectomy in 2005 after discovering that she possessed a genetic mutation that predisposed her to a deadly form of breast cancer.

"All of this abstract talk about breasts—other women's breasts, breasts in general—is of limited application when I am trying to think about cutting off my own. So, it's time for full disclosure. For years, other people liked my breasts more than I did. The usual pubescent discomfort with a changing body lasted longer for me than it does for many women: I thought my breasts were too large, and, looking androgynous and liking it, I didn't particularly enjoy having breasts. Over the years, as I got into better shape, they actually got a bit smaller...." More.

A fuller discussion of her experiences (before and after) is presented in her book, Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene (2008).