Specifically, to whom do they belong? It seems to me that we spend a lot of time treating breasts as the property of people other than those to whom they are physically attached. I'm surprised when I hear women's male partners being made part of the equation of whether or not she should have breast reconstruction. It's not that I don't understand that he loves her breasts and will miss them, and that there will be some adjustment period for both partners without them. It's that I see this as similar to a partner gaining or losing weight over time; cutting or growing hair; even losing a limb. These are things that happen. Whether or not we adopt cosmetic responses to these things depend on a lot of factors. I'm certainly not going to say that no one should ever use prostheses for cosmetic reasons. But I do think a woman's decision to have reconstructive breast surgery should not be driven by her male partner's desire for her to have breasts. This is a deeply personal decision. The male partner's role in this case, from the perspective of my admittedly short experience as a woman with breast cancer, is to say, "I will love you no matter what. You will always be beautiful, with or without breasts." (If that's not true, then ladies, you married the wrong guys.)
And you know, I'm sure that this kind of thing happens in lesbian relationships, as well, but when I think back to the Lesbian Nation of radical lesbian feminism, I somehow can't quite envision these discussions taking place in these ways. I can envision women challenging the medical establishment's treatment plans and looking for alternative healing, but I can't quite imagine such focus on breasts on the measure of a woman's sexual worth.
I should also say that I don't really have anything against breast reconstruction. I could argue that I'm a purist, and that it seems disingenuous to me to hide the breast cancer epidemic under implants. But it's not really that for me, although I do think there's a grain of truth there. No, it's more that, while I thought about a boob job a few years ago, it never really seemed worth it to undergo the risks of surgery and anesthesia for something cosmetic. I still feel that way. I may not feel that way in five years - I don't know. But for now, it just doesn't seem worth it to me.
That's kind of how I feel about wigs. I don't really want to wear a hot, itchy wig every day. Mostly, I want something that will cover my head and look good. Hats and scarves fit the bill, as do partial wigs (falls?) that peek out from below the hats and scarves. If I can feel good and avoid scaring Bean, then I'm ahead of the game.
I think what this boils down to is two things: 1) I'm not necessarily looking to pass (outside of certain situations). This is what it is, I'm not the first woman with breast cancer and I won't be the last, and I don't feel I need to make myself look like everyone else to hide it; and 2) I don't want to spend unnecessary money or take unnecessary risks. (I'm more than happy to take reasonable and necessary risks, and to spend money on things I really want, though.)
You know what made me really happy today? My hair is nine inches long in some places, and the wig stylist said that she thinks they can use it for wigs for kids with cancer who have lost their hair permanently. My heart soared when she told me that - it just felt so wasteful and sad to throw my hair away, and I will be so happy if someone else can use it.