chapter  6
21 Pages

Rationality and Narrative: Media Stories About Safety and Risk

The story of breast implants isn't the simple one it once seemed-not a story of technology triumphant over the limits of the body, but one of wishful thinking, greed, and gullibility. The drama being played out now is equally complex, and there's no subtextual analysis available for the women who have unwittingly been assigned roles. (Davis, 1992, p. 170)

Magazine and newspaper headlines read: "Time Bombs in Breasts;" "The Implant Panic;" "My Breast Implant Disaster;" and the "Silicone Scare." Television anchors introduced stories with "Another health risk for women ... ;" "Another disturbing medical story ... ;" and referred to the "dangers of silicone implants." Between December 1990 and July 1992, the print and electronic news media told a public story about silicone breast implants: the women who had them, the plastic surgeons who inserted them, the companies who made them, the government agency that regulated them, and the scientific community that tested their safety.