Susanna had breast reduction surgery when she was sixteen. I took these photos in her west coast living room. This is Susanna's story:
I had breast reduction surgery two weeks before my seventeenth birthday. I come from a long line of large-breasted women: my mother is southern Italian, and all the women on her side of the family are short, dark, and huge-chested. By the time I was sixteen, my breasts were gigantic beyond the A-DD scale. I wore XXL sports bras with the straps cut and sewn shorter.
I hated having huge breasts. I felt cheated by them: I had all the downsides of big boobs – back pain, difficulty fitting into clothes and bras, unwanted attention from men – with none of the upsides. Squashed into too-tight sports bras, my breasts looked like one giant uni-boob on the front of my body – decidedly not sexy. I could never wear spaghetti-strap or halter tops to show off my chest, because skimpy tops wouldn’t conceal my huge and unattractive bras.
After surgery, once the pain wore off and the bandages were gone, I felt terrific. I can’t resist saying that I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders – emotionally and physically, I really did. I remember the first normal bra I wore. It was black with grey flowers on it. I was thrilled. I kept flashing everyone my new breasts – I finally felt like they were sexy.
The initial elation was a great self-esteem boost, but it didn’t erase my body issues completely. When I showed my new breasts to a male friend, with whom I had been in complicated sexual relationship for a while and whose approval I was desperate for, he poked them disinterestedly and said, “I thought they’d be perkier.” I remember that moment so clearly, how crushed and mortified I felt.
Post-surgery, my breasts were down to a C-cup. Unfortunately, I wasn’t completely done puberty yet, and in the years following my surgery, my breasts kept growing. My breasts are now too big to fit into normal North American bras so I order them online from the