Why these itty bitty women are smiling

When a photographer told Ashayla Webster that he did not work with small-breasted models because they "weren't sexy", it hit a raw nerve.

Instead of acquiescing to the common perception that big boobs are more attractive, Ms Webster has gathered a small army of Perth women who are fighting back.

As Perth cosmetic surgeons report that the breast augmentation business is "booming", the women will launch a photo book next month that gives 20 local women a platform to speak about their body image issues.

The group, who have dubbed themselves the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, is led by Ms Webster, a 22-year-old university student and freelance model who decided to act after the photographer told her he would not photograph her.

"I replied to a casting call that he put up and he messaged me and said he did not work with small-breasted models because they weren't sexy," Ms Webster said.

"I already felt this way about myself - I didn't feel very attractive or feminine or anything like that.

"After I got that message back, I raged on Facebook and somebody said to me, 'Why don't you do something about it?' "

The Itty Bitty Titty Committee. Picture: David Savage

During a visit to Sexpo last year to hand out Itty Bitty Titty Committee cards, Ms Webster was further motivated to spread the message that small breasts were beautiful after she was handed a flyer for a plastic surgery business.

More than 8000 women a year get breast implants in Australia, about 800 of which are in WA, at an average cost of $10,000, according to the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery.

ACCS spokesman Daniel Fleming, a cosmetic surgeon of 19 years, said many women got breast implants for good reasons but he was concerned there was a segment of younger women who competed to have the biggest breasts - a situation he believed was being driven by social media.

Dr Fleming said young women were increasingly going overseas for cut-price breast surgery.

"There is a perception among women getting breast augmentation, not all women but too many women, particularly younger ones, that bigger is better, and it most certainly is not," Dr Fleming said.

"The larger the implants, the larger the risks."

Subiaco plastic and cosmetic surgeon Patrick Briggs said the cosmetic surgery industry was "absolutely booming" and he did 150 to 200 breast augmentation procedures each year.

Dr Briggs said it was important that women chose an appropriate size.

Ms Webster, who wears an 8B-sized bra, said she and the other women in the book had become much more comfortable with their bodies since getting involved. "I really want the message out there that women should be happy with themselves and learn to love themselves and that they don't have to resort to drastic things like surgery," she said.

Associate Professor Sue Byrne, from the University of WA's psychology department, said it was almost normal for women to not be totally satisfied with their bodies in today's society but it was important that women accepted their bodies.

The book, which includes a list of the positives of having small breasts, will be launched at the Body Right exhibition which runs from February 21 to 28 at the Smart Space gallery on William Street.

The exhibition will showcase the beauty and diversity of different body types.

The West Australian

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