Objectification of the woman’s body by the media is the genesis of the controversy surrounding butt, lips, and breast augmentation. Some critics have suggested that the models presented by the media are unreal and should not be used as the basis of how women view themselves or are viewed by others. However, the model is the basis for the choices being made, particularly as involves butt, lips, and breast augmentation. Those going for these procedures are determined to have the same butts, lips, and breasts like the stars they watch on the television screens. In the recent past, the media have been awash the increase in the popularity of the plastic and cosmetic surgeries. The image of the “ideal” beauty has major effects on the individual and the society in general. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful (Heyes 15); however, the reality of the side effects of butt, lips, and breast augmentation cannot be ignored. Hence, even as women strive to look more beautiful and even compete with the reality TV stars, experts have suggested serious side effects on individuals and society that they should bear in mind when undergoing the related procedures as shall be discussed.
Reasons for the Increase in the Number of the Surgeries
It has generally been noted that following a decline in the surgeries during the period leading to 2014, and the picking up on the trend after then, it is possible that the breast, hip, and lip enlargement procedures have been greatly commodified. The decline was potentially due to the economic downturn, which has been stabilizing in the recent years. Hence, from that point of view, women could be spending that amount of cash for the same reason they would spend on clothing to enhance their self-image (Heyes 15). The enhanced butts, breasts, and lips have largely been viewed as a symbol of beauty by those who are performing them. Those who perform the surgical procedures are somewhat convinced that the enhancement will make them more appealing, especially to the men. Hence, they are prepared to undergo the costly procedures for this reason; to make them more appealing and attractive. Hence, the rationale for the procedures is the need to enhance one’s image and to make it more appealing.
Women appear to be in pursuit of the cutting-edge beauty, explaining why there is an increase of those seeking plastic surgery and other enhancement procedures for their butts, breast, and lips. Women are striving to reach for the perfect image as defined by the media. For the woman within the western society, the media appear to be communicating a very strong message of beauty. In fact, the media has important highlights on social trends as well as communication of the “ideal” image (Berberick 2). Hence, the communication of what it means to be feminine has an impact on the way women views themselves and the choice to take up the surgery to change the image to the “ideal” one. While the mainstream media has always played a role in passing this message, it is the rise of the internet that is particularly driving the increase in the behavior seeking the surgeries. The media has the power to impact on the most crucial decisions made by the audience.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s President, the most critical reason for seeking butt, lips, and breast augmentation have nothing to do with the way those seeking them feel before they come into contact with the media. Hence, the reality is that the media images are the primary reasons for the decisions to seek the surgeries. The media models are used as the social standard for measuring beauty. The rounder derrières are the “real” definition of beauty is what women are seeking to achieve. The current trends and expert reports reveal that women are increasingly seeking assistance to change the way they look. In turn, there has been an explosion of butt, lip and breast enhancement procedures in the market today, in response to the demand. The media has sent the message that has been entrenched within the society that the natural beauty is not beauty until it is something similar to what the media presents.
The media has always used an exploitive representation of the female body. Indeed, the media has come up with the image of the woman that should be the model for use in making decisions that are related to the body image. The media has come up with what defines beauty, though largely misleading, which is being used for comparison. The “ideal” that is endorsed by the Western media and held within the society is the basis for the rise in the number of plastic surgeries as women strive to achieve that image. Even as the woman is craving for that perfect body shown in the media, there is a lack of realization that the image is far from reality. The failure to realize that the beauty being viewed is a fabrication is the reason women are seeking the procedures, some unsafe and placing the woman at risk of major health complications (Berberick 8). It is unfortunate that some of the images are fictional or the work of experts striving to construct the ideal model.
The Effects on Individuals and Society
There is a major trend in the American society today leading to the increase in the number of plastic and cosmetic surgeries. Experts contend that among all plastic surgery procedures, butt and breast augmentation have become the most popular in the country (Livingston 2). One of the implications of the increase in the procedures is the cost implications for individuals and society. Over 10 million procedures are revealed to have been performed in 2014 by board-certified plastic surgeons (Heyes 17). Interestingly, most of the procedures cost as high as $4,000. For instance, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, fat grafting costs around $4,356, $4,860 for butt implants, and $4,571 if one desires a butt lift (Heyes 23). Butt lifts and butt implants, were in 2014, the leading procedures within the plastic surgery in the United States. While the cost might vary from one service provider to another, the figures indicate the reality of the cost implications to individuals and society for the plastic and cosmetic surgeries.
The Effects on a Person’s Self-Image
The butt, breast, and lips enhancement procedures were mostly performed by young and older adults to enhance their self-image. For some, the idea was to look younger than they were. The self-image and self-esteem view of the surgeries has changed probably due to self-esteem issues affecting individuals of all ages (Minerva 1). The doctors performing the procedures are highlighting a new trend where teenagers have joined the caravan of those seeking plastic surgeries and other butt, breast, and lips enlargement procedures. Over the years, although their numbers have remained relatively low, there has been a noted increase over the past few years of the number of teenagers who are seeking the treatment. The rise in the number of teenagers having breasts implants and butt enhancement procedures is a clear indication of the impact they have on their self-image, especially as teenage is the age at which majority are seeking approval. In fact, they are seeking to be noticed, not only by those belonging to the opposite sex, but also approval from other female teenagers around them.
Experts in plastic and cosmetic surgery have revealed a change in the trend regarding the age of their modern clients. Previously, plastic surgery was being sought by women beyond the age of 60 years. During the past years, it would be almost impossible to have a teenager coming in for a procedure, especially not to enhance their butts, breast, or the lips. However, things have completely changed as the increase in teenagers, and young adults is becoming evident. Some authors consider a reality of “obsessive concentration” as women become greatly obsessed with the way they look and the impact of their image on the way others view them. Women do not want to look anything below what they are seeing in the media, making them to go to any extreme, including risking their lives performing unsafe procedures (Berberick 9). The body image has not been immune to the celebrated model showed in the media.
There are many women, especially the younger ones who suffer from low self-esteem issues if they are not beautiful according to the social standards. For instance, the women who do not have the big butt and breasts are highly likely to suffer the issue, especially if the society expects something different. Hence, by augmenting the butts, lips, and breasts, the self-esteem is boosted as the woman now fits the ideal status. The impact on the self-image of the women has a contribution to the society as it breeds more confident members, but it is likely to come at a huge cost, not only in terms of finances, but also in the health of those seeking the procedures. Evidently, plastic and cosmetic surgery will continue to grow in popularity as more people pursue the “ideal” beauty (Berberick 5). But the society might have to be contented with the major side effects of the procedures.
The Side Effect on Physical Health
While the “ideal” beauty seems critical for most women in the American society, experts point out some serious side effects relating to their physical health in all the procedures being performed for butt, lip, and breast enhancement. The problem is made worse by the reality of some of the side effects being irreversible or taking a great deal of additional cost to reverse the procedures. The side effects are experienced from the procedure or the medications that are used in the process. The side effects can be suffered during the surgical process or the post-operative care. There are also risks that occur during the operation, some of which the surgeon and the patients are not prepared for (Morgan 56). Thus, while the people are pursuing beauty, it is critical to understand that it might come along with a major cost to the health and economy of the patient and the society in general.
The health status of the person getting the surgery is at a huge risk due to some aspects of the procedure going wrong or in the case when the procedures are performed by individuals who are less qualified, probably because of the cost implications. The question remains as to whether the pain and suffering associated with some of the procedures are worthwhile. Some of the people who have had the surgical procedures carried out on them have aired their regrets because of the side effects and the suffering they have gone through. A good example is Andressa who has aired in the media her regrets for having had the implants injected to enlarge her butts. In fact, this is just an example of individuals who have suffered the health impact of the procedures performed to enhance butts, breast, and lips. Another example is Beshine, who is presently the women with the “Biggest Breasts in Europe” (Minerva 1). Even for those who have successful procedures, there is always the undue cost, financially, physically, and emotionally.
Pain is one of the common side effects experienced in any surgical procedure. One of the main causes, especially in breast augmentation procedures is “capsular contracture.” The pain is caused by the formation of scar tissues around and putting pressure on the implant. Another common cause of pain is the damage to the nerves or the muscular changes that occur in the process. There are situations in which the pain is idiopathic, which means that there is no cause that can be identified for the pain. Besides the pain, there are risks that the patient has to deal with, including clotting of the blood, hematoma, as well as other post-surgery problems (Morgan 56). The problems can arise from the way the procedure is done or due to failure to take proper care of the wound. Some of the individuals are pushed by the need to look more “beautiful” to the point that they do not take into account their health and safety. Hence, it is critical for the patient to be very careful in taking care of the wound that emerges as a result of the surgical procedure.
Most of the surgical procedures involve use of intrusive devices most of which create wounds on the skin. Where this happens, a healing process is involved that should entail a great deal of care. Some of the wounds require a lengthy healing process and a great deal of physical suffering. Scarring or issues with the wound as it heals are risks that the person getting the procedure must be aware of. When the procedure involves an incision, healing the wound can cause complications. Also, even where the wound heals well, there will always be the scar, although this is something almost 100% of those getting the procedure are prepared to deal with. The healing wound can suffer a risk of infection, especially if it is not well taken care of. Most health care facilities are careful to ensure that the surgical and recovery environment is sterile, clean and generally safe (Morgan 52). However, being a surgical procedure, there is the inherent risk of germs invading the wound and causing an infection. In this case, some infections can be severe and costly to treat.
Issues of Sexism in Breast, Butt, and Lips Enhancement
The issues of sexism play out in the reality of breast, butt, and lips enhancement within the social setting. In fact, most of the actions and decisions made in society continue to be viewed from a gendered perspective, invoking the reality of sexism in the procedures. Whenever the enlargement procedures are mentioned, the idea that comes to the mind of most people is that the procedures only involve women. The sexist view ignores the reality that men are increasingly seeking similar or other surgeries targeted to “better” their appearance and image. Whenever there is a discussion on the issue of commodification of the human body, as a result of media influence, the image of a woman is invoked to mind. Women continue to be objectified by the media, with major impact on how the society views the woman’s body (Berberick 3). Cultural standards, as instigated by the media continue to cast the woman in a sexist way, with the communicated images being entrenched within the minds of the people.
The image of “ideal” beauty created by the media has become part of the society and the basis through which the women are being compared to. Within the modern society, men are making a comparison of their women to the image promoted by the media, ignoring the reality that that should not be used as the model of the real beauty. The same has continued to be negatively affected by the objectification and the resultant sexism. A study carried out by Swami et al. (2010) revealed a “strong relationship between sexism relating to the beauty ideals and the rigidly-consumed practices” (p, 367). As the beauty ideals are oppressive, Swami indicates that “patriarchal attitudes lead to considerable associations between the endorsed ideals of beauty and sexism” (Swami et al., 366). The society, in general, increasingly looks at the woman through a sexist eye.
In the United States, many women are entangled in a vicious cycle, including the need to boost the self-image with major side effects that could result to diminished self-image based on the detrimental side effects. The primary cause is the media, which has sent the message of what the ideal beautiful woman is expected to look like. In the process, there is a noted increase in the number of women who are pursuing butt, breast, and lips enlargement, all in the efforts to look like the model presented in the media. The media is full of models of beauty that most people seek to emulate. However, the surgeries are leading to serious side effects, not only to individuals but to the society in general. The procedures are proving very costly based on the side effects involved in the process and after the augmentation. The major issue within the society is the sexism ideas that are presented within the society in relation to the ideal image and the decisions that follow, including the surgeries. Probably it is not possible to reverse the trend because of the effects of media, but people should be aware of the potential side effects that come with the procedures.
Berberick, Stephanie Nicholl. “The objectification of women in mass media: Female self-image in misogynist culture.” The New York Sociologist 5 (2010): 1-15.
Livingston, Amanda. “Plastic Paradise: The Trends & Effects of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism in Economically Growing Countries.” The Cohen Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, p. 2.
Minerva, Francesca. “Cosmetic Surgery and Conscientious Objection.” Journal of Medical Ethics (2017): medethics-2016.
Heyes, Cressida J. Cosmetic Surgery: A Feminist Primer. Routledge, 2016.
Morgan, Kathryn Pauly. “Women and the Knife: Cosmetic Surgery and the Colonization of Women’s Bodies,’.” Cosmetic surgery: A feminist primer, 2009, pp. 49-77.
Swami, Viren, et al. “Oppressive beliefs at play: Associations among beauty ideals and practices and individual differences in sexism, objectification of others, and media exposure.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 34.3 (2010): 365-379.