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barbie personified: going under the knife to attain perfection

A woman once said to me, ‘Fake boobs look better than fake hair’ and I was stunned for a moment, wondering how, in any situation, the irreplaceability and permanence of breast implants could ever be more appealing than hair extensions that can easily be removed at the end of each day.

Breast augmentation, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, liposuction, buttox augmentation, labiaplasty, face lifts.

Gone are the days of shape wear and fitted corsets to obtain a more hourglass figure; nowadays one can just have a rib removed to save the inconvenience. While ribs play a vital role in protecting organs like our gallbladders and kidneys, some women feel the risk is worth a lifetime of possible complications, even with the knowledge that fat distribution has little to do with ribcage structure’.

The ideal body measurement of an adult woman still sits at an archaic, outdated and unrealistic ‘36-24-36’ ratio and though we may not desire to obtain this exact proportion, we still strive for symmetry. Media coverage of standardised beauty can be partly to blame; however we may also apportion a little blame to ourselves. Magazines sit on shelves and yet we subjugate our weaknesses to images of a minor demographic, by buying into a dangerously fuelled dream. It’s no longer enough to show dedication in our work and home lives, we must be physically and utterly exemplary for our own peers and ultimately, for the mirror hanging above the bathroom sink.

This propelled me to ask the ultimate question: Why do we go under the knife to obtain perfection?

Plastic surgery is no longer taboo. It is rather an expensively glamourised activity. Women as young as eighteen are lured into the world of breast augmentation, with promises of solving inadequacy issues with a little nip tuck.  Dr. Nalini Chilkov reiterates the importance of ‘looking before you leap’ and becoming educated before you decide to go under the knife ‘willingly.’ In a shocking list comprising of all known complications of breast augmentation, debilitating autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia, breakage and leakage, chronic breast pain and necrosis were just a few of the risks outlined. A rare cancer called anaplastic large cell lymphoma was also linked with breast implants. Furthermore, a small population of women undergoing breast enlargements were at a greater risk of dying.

Today, a new line of cosmetic surgery known as “Injectables” promises women the confidence they seemingly lack. Their website features an image of eleven (mostly platinum blonde) models sporting a line of promotional t-shirts over their sculpted stomachs and larger than life bosoms. The ‘lip enhancement’ section of the website promises ‘a stronger cupid’s bow and prevention of lipstick bleeding’ with the aid of their ‘dermal filler injectable gel derived from a harmless sugar called hyaluronic acid, collagen and elastin.   Yum!

Once upon a time, a good lip liner ensured the prevention of lipstick bleeding and a perfect, matte red worked well with small lips. But nowadays, if your lips aren’t perpetually bee stung (see Angelina Jolie, Samantha Harris…) you need to have them altered, and quickly.

So why are we so obsessed with the inflation of our body parts? Could we be trying to satisfy some desire to look like our lost stars? To acquire Sophia Loren’s lips, or Marilyn Monroe’s iconic hour glass shape?

Ultimately, we may be driven to surgery in a subliminal attempt to defy our own mortality. Simply living and portraying ourselves through intellect and emotion isn’t enough to establish a place in the material world, a podium is needed, where we may leave a miniscule footprint behind, to say:

‘I was here too and I was beautiful.  Did you see me? I never did catch a glimpse of that ghost called perfection, but I tried awfully hard to imitate it through a double D cup.’

By Sophia Anna

(Image credit)

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