Victoria Beckham has finally admitted that she had breast implants. Are we shocked? Surprised? Do we even care? Is it news? A resounding 'no' to all of the above. (Incidentally, if you're going to comment that this isn't news then I suggest you save yourself a bit of time, stop reading now and go and ingest some real news, this is a comment piece after all).
Still with me? Great. The real story here isn't that we're all gawping in horror at her terrible admission, rather than the fact that she has waited until now to tell us. Why did she refuse to admit it at the time? It was glaringly obvious that she’d had cosmetic surgery; nobody that thin has boobs like pert grapefruits up to their chin, yet she arched a perfectly plucked eyebrow, kept her pouty mouth shut and went on with her business.
Female celebrities' bodies are always considered public property and the second they change, no matter how minute or insignificant the shift, the media jump on the owner of said body like a pack of wolves; speculating, criticising and casting judgements.
They do this inevitably and mechanically, without a thought for the person in the picture or the millions of readers, many of whom will shape their own beliefs based on the throwaway comments and perceptions of those who are paid to rip these bodies apart (metaphorically). The tabloid press loves nothing better than a story about a high profile celebrity gaining or losing weight or having cosmetic surgery and will do anything they can to source and publish the gory details; sizes, costs and pictures as they rub their hands together with glee over the most recent pair of double E cups.
It is nobody's business to judge women on their bodies and what they choose to do with them and it is nobody's business to judge a woman on her breasts; real or not.
This isn't exactly the same situation, but I have lived with eating disorders for most of my life, I know how it feels to desperately want to change your body. I didn't go under the knife, but I did work against nature to achieve what I thought would make me feel better. Like surgery, anorexia and bulimia don't come without risks, but they were risks I was willing to take to feel momentarily better about my appearance. It was never an exercise in vanity and I never felt pressure to lose weight; I put it on myself – it was all me. Women who choose to have cosmetic surgery must feel a similar way.
There is always a presumption that a woman's decision to lose weight or have cosmetic surgery is the result of the amount of pressure put on her to achieve 'perfection'. The media and the celebrity-obsessed culture that we live in certainly don't help with that, but that belief is one that I find disgustingly over-simplified and patronising. We're not mindless sheep and we are intelligent enough to make our own decisions about our own bodies without being influenced entirely by what we see sprawled across the pages of Heat, Reveal and the Mail Online’s sidebar of shame.
Victoria Beckham's refusal to comment on media speculation over her own boobs was an admirable snub to all those who make a living out of commenting on something which, quite frankly, is none of their business. VB's body is her own and it is up to her what she does to it. Why should she or anyone else go to the press to 'admit' or 'reveal' the new additions to her chest? People would talk anyway, so why add to it?
The ex-Spice Girl's silence actually speaks volumes. She made a decision to make a change, a decision that thousands of women make for many different reasons; as a confidence booster, a result of societal pressures, or even a career move. It's not a decision that anyone makes lightly, but whatever her reason was, her decision to keep shtum, pretty much sticking her finger up to the press leeches, is the one that matters most. By not talking extensively and unreservedly about her body, Victoria Beckham has had power over the media, who have been forced to focus instead on her career as a designer and life as a mum. The ball has always been in the Beckham court and she has played well. Her silence prevented media speculation from turning into a media frenzy, and in a world where we are under constant pressure to look a certain way, to aim for some impossible and unrealistic definition of perfection, this can only be a good thing.