Dying to be Beautiful: In Pursuit of Perfection
For as long as time and lives have been recorded, depending on the culture, surgeries have been performed to “better” the recipients; although, it may have been needed in some cases. For example, in India the noses of criminals and adulterers were cut off for permanent public shame. Sushruta (an Indian Doctor) took it upon himself to fix the faces of the ex-criminals and adulterers in hopes he could encourage forgiveness and reduce public shame. His procedure required removing skin from the person’s cheeks or forehead, which was then applied to the nose. As the years passed and societies changed, the reasons to undergo plastic surgery changed too. Plastic surgery went from being used for repairing the noses of those that lost them in India, to fixing fallen soldiers and covering brands of ex-slaves in Ancient Rome, to what it is today. A society with a growing percentage of those suffering with body dysmorphic disorder (a mental disorder characterized by a distorted body image and obsessions about perceived physical shortcomings), and unattainable ideals of thinness and big breasts. All the while, the main recurring role model for these so-called ideals is a 12-inch plastic doll with an impossible and unattainable figure and features; Barbie. A standard Barbie doll is 11.5 inches tall, giving a height of 5 feet 9 inches at 1/6 scale. Barbie's figure has been estimated at 36 inch chest, 18 inch waist and 33 inch hips. At 5'9" tall and weighing 110 lbs, Barbie would have a BMI of 16.24 and fit the weight criteria for anorexia. According to research by the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, she would lack the 17 to 22 percent body fat required for a woman to menstruate. I personally don’t know anyone that would want to live like that. Barbie may only have existed since March 9, 1959, but it’s amazing to see the kind of internal damage and influence one doll can have on the entire female population of the world. The thoughts feeding the hunger for the “Cult of Thinness” are not just a side effect of Barbie’s existence. It’s emanating and oozing out of practically every person we meet, every place we enter, and everything we see. We can’t escape it. No matter where we go. It’s even waiting for us for when we get home. Bombarded by advertisements on websites, newsletters, walks or drives to work or school, on tv; the list goes on. Even some parents have even joined in on telling their children they should be skinny (girl) and muscular (boy). If Barbie is the role model, it is no wonder as to why people are insecure about themselves, and a fair percentage eventually undergo plastic surgery. Some say only women are subject to symbolic damage (insecurities), which are society created. However, women are not the only one’s suffering with insecurities. Walking through the streets or a mall, or just watching tv at home, advertisements displaying thin, but big chested women and muscular men everywhere you go, after awhile it starts to get to you. “I’m not good enough if I don’t look like that.” Maybe they start obsessing over their “imperfections” and start trying any method that comes up in an attempt to “fix” what they think is broken. Women do represent the majority of all procedures performed, and that’s because advertisers would not spend the money on advertisements for women, if they did not know whether or not it would attract women’s attention. Majority of the cosmetic industries profits are gained from the female population, and they even influence some men to purchase some cosmetic products. But that does not say that men are harder to persuade, because that is not the case. On average, women are typically more easily persuaded because they are usually more worried about their appearance than men and companies take full advantage of it. As a result, poor self-images and poor self-esteems come forth, and they may look into...
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