Public Perceptions of the Implant Story
The study of communication and silicone gel breast implants has not been a dull, dry, ivory tower research topic. It has proved the subject of lively concern everywhere we went. As we talked with friends about our research, they expressed intense interest in the issue. Some felt women had been misled by doctors and the health industry. Feminists often saw this as another example of the exploitation of women by the male medical establishment. Media critics thought the press coverage had distorted the facts. Conservatives saw a continuing decline of trust in the experts on whom we must rely to live in a complex era. Doctors lamented the traditional physician role being undermined by amateurs. Others criticized the FDA for doing toe little, or too much. Some volunteered materials, often clippings from out of town papers. While the issue was being played out nationally in Congress and the FDA, it was also being pursued in conversations day after day. If people talked to us this much about implants, surely they discussed them with each other when we were not there to notice.