Sunday, 15 November 2009

Profound disquiet arises in my breast

As previously noted, I occasionally watch crap TV, something Foxtel is very good at providing. Last night Dr P and I watched a documentary on plastic surgery, by Louis Theroux. Talk about creepy! It was set in California, and the programme gave the viewer to understand that plastic surgery is a pretty routine event there. Young women, who probably have not yet given birth, turned up in droves to have breast implants, liposuction, nose jobs, and nips and tucks all over, it seemed. There were also a number of men who had upper arm muscle implants as well as implants in their breasts to make them look more muscular. I thought they looked really weird. The separation between the breasts/chests looked very unnatural and strange. All the patients/customers babbled on about their self-images and self esteem, and how important it was for them to look as 'good' and 'hot' as possible. Louis Theroux himself underwent liposuction and emerged looking rather pleased with his improved body image. It all made me feel quite sick. The doctors interviewed did not seem to have any worries about their own bodies and faces, and believe me, they were no oil paintings themselves.

After watching all of this, and wondering what the world is coming to, I went to the website of a plastic surgeon, who is the son of friends. His practice seems to be predominantly breast implants, the cost is $8000, and there are glowing testimonials about the doctor, the staff, the care, the surgery and above all, the results. There are before and after photos of the breasts (but not the faces). There were mentions of how they had always hated their breasts, and again this reiteration of the importance of body image to their self esteem.

It makes me feel quite sick, for various reasons. I really hate to think that some doctors concentrate on this sort of surgery, probably, of course, because it is so financially rewarding. We think of doctors as being good people who care for others, heal them and save lives. At least, I suppose, they are not engaged in violent crimes, drug peddling, swindling people or dishonestly cheating them and destroying lives, like many other rich and successful people. But all the same most plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons does not seem to me to be improving our society.

Perhaps women are particularly vulnerable to the media and business manipulation and social pressures to conform to artificial notions of beauty and thinness. There is such constant emphasis on the female body, and what seems to be an incessant pounding of images, advertising, and stories, that young women in particular evidently increasingly feel it is normal, imperative and their entitlement to undergo botox injections to stop the appearance of aging, and to have breast implants, so they look 'hot,' and can wear plunging necklines revealing their nice new albeit artificial D cup size breasts. It is as though many women cannot apply rational thinking processes to their body images. The notion that an unaltered body is beautiful and worthy seems to be disappearing.

What are we doing to our young women? How can we better protect them?

And why are breasts described as pert or perky?


molly said...

I think we've lost the plot, as a society, when it comes to teaching our children what is important and what is not. I believe that beauty comes from within. No amount of botox, or silicone, or nipping and tucking, can make you beautiful if inner beauty is missing. The inner beauty that comes from loving and caring for things larger and more important than ourselves and our petty worries.

Anna said...

I too find it odd that most plastic surgeons are men who seem completely comfortable at being able to note all the supposed flaws in a woman while ignoring their bodies. A nice bit of patriarchal superiority there.

I don't understand when it became okay to cut up our bodies at will and insert or inject foreign objects. It's not natural or normal. And when the risks of any surgery with anaesthesia are so great, why would you elect to have a procedure that you don't actually need?

Meggie said...

IMHO I feel these surgeons are committing crimes of violence- surely cutting a perfectly good body open to insert foriegn objects can only be violation?
One could also say they are ruining lives... what of the future when the body rejects the implants or grows monstrous around the insertions? I suppose they get a double dip, as it were, when they need to remodel once again.

The only time I have approved of an implant, was on a young man I knew, who had unfortunately been born with almost no lower jaw protruberance. I must say, not only did it improve his looks, but it improved his personality allowing him to shine.
Of course plastic surgery has a very real place in the world, but purely for vanity? I don't think so.

Pam said...

Yes indeed. What they said. And bleughrgh as well.