Booby-Trapped is a self-help psychology book that describes many breast-related
issues of individuals (actually composites of ten women) who interact in ongoing group
therapy sessions with the author. The author/therapist’s premises are:
This work traces some of our twentieth-century American perceptions of beauty, femininity, and sexual attractiveness. The author stays on task with the variable psychological, cultural, social, and generally uninformed responses to the question, “How do you feel about your breasts?”
- Women are invested emotionally in the size and shape of their breasts.
- Women are vulnerable to aesthetic, cultural ideals regarding breasts.
- Women become entrapped by their perceptions of femininity and eroticism.
- Women of all ages and backgrounds often blame intimacy issues in their lives on the
sizes and shapes of their breasts.
In Chapter 8 (It’s Not Nice To Fool Mother Nature), the author proposes and makes analogous
comparisons between current breast implant practices with horrible twelfth-century Chinese practices of binding and crippling young girls’ feet; female circumcision in northeastern Africa, Egypt, and Middle Eastern regions; and Victorian clitorectomies by male doctors who apparently wanted absolute guarantees that women patients would not masturbate or ever enjoy sex.
The author weaves authoritative quotes and spontaneous client utterances with her empathetic responses to group dialogue to describe the respective breast issues and eventual personal movements of all towards better emotional/mental/behavioral health. Group members learn
from each other, share and invest in the group process, and consequently endure, move through, and past presenting symptoms to make whole and claim more, if not all, of their bodies, identities, and images.
Each page brings the participants (and reader) new insights into how breasts have been used
to fixate, obsess, manipulate, hide, and dodge intimacy, loss, dependency, rejection, fear, depression, sexual addiction, sexual orientation, identity, competition, health and mortality
issues. Isabel’s struggles with an addicted husband and her breast cancer, and Pat’s ambivalent, conflicted relationship with a “perfect”, now deceased, mother are deeply-moving stories. All
the members’ denials, body language, verbal contributions, support, and desire to help moves
the other towards emotional health and greater self (breast) acceptance.
If you want a constructive, informative way to understand more about yourself, this book provides a “Treasure Chest,” or personal workbook, to help you discover if, where, and how
you may be “booby-trapped.” The book offers more resources including the author’s web
site for those who wish to share memories and experiences with new Bosom Buddies (c.f..,
I highly recommend this heartfelt, insightful, provocative look at the experiences, issues, and goals of courageous women of all ages who wanted to learn and work together to support others’ emotional health, maturity, intimacy, breast and self acceptance.