Nili Sachs
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Buy *Booby-Trapped: How to Feel Normal in a Breast-Obsessed World* online

Booby-Trapped: How to Feel Normal in a Breast-Obsessed World
Nili Sachs, Ph.D.
Beaver's Pond Press
278 pages
June 2003
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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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:

  1. Women are invested emotionally in the size and shape of their breasts.
  2. Women are vulnerable to aesthetic, cultural ideals regarding breasts.
  3. Women become entrapped by their perceptions of femininity and eroticism.
  4. Women of all ages and backgrounds often blame intimacy issues in their lives on the sizes and shapes of their breasts.
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?”

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.

© 2004 by David L. Johnson, Ph.D. for

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