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Beauty Standards and Cosmetic Surgery

Essay by   •  April 23, 2019  •  Research Paper  •  2,365 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,825 Views

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Beauty Standards and Cosmetic Surgery

Beauty and what makes one attractive have for years been defined and dictated by industry standards. The production of advertising tactics and material such as magazines, social media and the shows and commercials produced on television create unrealistic standards that are often hard or even in some cases impossible to reach. Magazine weeklies and the media industry sell under the false pretense of uplifting women and their physical appearances. However, due to the fact that the representations printed in these magazines are so difficult to obtain, the images actually subconsciously destroy some women. Most women fall under the immense pressure of feeling the need to fit the standard created by modern mass media advertisers. Magazines, television, and other influential advertisements are marketed to help women "validate themselves" by providing products that are believed to improve their appearance. Women read these magazines, see commercials, models and shows day in and out in hopes that if they follow the advice and information given in the media, they will be accepted in society as more attractive. Advertising strategies are like bait that lure women into purchasing these forms of media, which further manifest unrealistic beauty standards. One of the most detrimental strategies is the destruction of the female body into individual parts. This deconstruction of the body has led to a greater attention of distinct body parts as opposed to viewing the body as a whole. The increase in false-positive advertising regarding individual female body parts has led to not only an increased volume of the number of cosmetic surgeries but also an increase in the number of self-imposed mental and physical health issues amongst women.

To be perceived as slim and thin is one important desire of the modern man. Meanwhile, women care exceptionally more than men about their physical attraction, or rather society puts more pressure on the female gender as a whole. Therefore, women feel obligated to change their body so that they embody the cultural ethics of beauty that is propagandized by the media and cosmetic industry advertisements. Slim women and tall muscular men are the most common of such standards. These patterns of televised ideal bodies affect personal body satisfaction, mental health and the way the body is perceived in social spaces. From the perspective of the mass media, the ratio of the thinness of the waist and wide spread hips is idealized and expected for women to be considered "eye-catching." Other images in posters, television, and music also portray the "ideal woman" as tall, fair skin, and thin with a tube-like body as the ideal image for attractive women. Music videos also play a role that sends a particularly subliminal message that women should live up to the sociocultural ideal; women portrayed are almost always direct representations of what a certain culture defines as beautiful. In addition, television has become an increasingly influential method to inspire girls, especially for college females. However, attention to weight and beauty being defined as mainly European starts at the age of 3 in America. In the United States, 99% of girls from the age of 3-10 own at least one Barbie doll. Young girls idolize Barbie and her physique yet it has been scientifically proven that Barbie proportions are very nearly physically impossible to obtain. In fact, the only way to for a woman to be shaped like Barbie is for her to remove vital organs or undergo cosmetic surgery.  In a study conducted in 2006, the results concluded that girls exposed to Barbie at a young age “experience heightened body dissatisfaction”. (DITTMAR, HALLIWELL AND IVE 2006) This study also concluded that the negative effect on young girls’ body esteem could possibly result in not only unhealthy eating behavior but also eating disorders. Due to the fact that young and old women alike are constantly presented with images of females who fulfill unrealistic standards, women attempt to fit these standard through unhealthy measures such as waist trainers, cosmetic surgeons (Dr. Miami is a famous cosmetic surgeon known today for creating unattainable body shapes that are seen as attractive today), malnourished diets, etc.

 Plastic surgery originated in World War II as a way to treat natural diseases and conceal the complications of any STD’s and syphilis. A simple challenge up-roared from the medical reasons for cosmetic surgery. If plastic surgery can help people improve their exterior and feel comfortable in their skin, why not do it? This challenge made plastic surgery an expected phenomenon. Today, cosmetic surgery implies using medical and remedial techniques or processes to improve general appearance. The cosmetic surgery unlike traditional surgeries has no medical reasoning and is done simply to modify only the outside appearance. Cosmetic surgery is used as a technique of extreme and risky change of the body to overpower it. Changing one's physical appearance plays a significant part in the development of identity. A person's identity is directly correlated to their confidence levels. Cosmetic surgeons provide clients with the ability to reach their most desirable body or rather a physical appearance. Plastic surgery has gained substantial recognition among the younger generations.  “Dr. Miami” being one of the most famous, is a famous cosmetic surgeon known today for creating unattainable body shapes on women seen on reality TV, music videos, models and adult videos. Yes, women do have the right to go under the knife to feel more comfortable with themselves whether people agree with it or not but when you undergo unnatural measures and hide it to seem as if your shape is God-given is when an individual contributes to the problem.  Some of these women gloat that they’ve gone under the knife but the problem comes in when most are more extremely private or evasive and silent when society idolizes their body as all natural and try to attain their look knowing it is unattainable by natural means. The higher level of acceptance in terms of plastic surgery today can also be attributed to mass media. There are numerous television programs that expose their audience to the surgical process and praise the physical enhancements. The proponents of plastic surgery argue that it greatly contributions in enhancing a person’s self-confidence. Since the year 2000, there is not a specific procedure recognized by the Plastic Surgery Statistics Report as minimally invasive that has not increased in volume by at least 10%.  More severe surgeries such as tummy tucks, breast augmentation, butt lift and lip augmentation have increased by at least 50%. This speaks to the fact that media has focused more on individual parts of the body and how they should look as opposed to acknowledging the body as a whole. If someone view’s a typical television show such as “Botched”, which is about plastic surgery, they will see a common principle suggesting that an unsatisfied individual only needs a surgical operation to turn their body into a motivating inspiration. However, this moral is not only taught on television shows but also in printed material. Magazine weeklies often cover stories discussing a new type of surgical procedure and its benefits. Plastic and cosmetic surgery are presented as the quick fix solutions that will allow women to easily assimilate into the beauty standard. Mass advertising desensitizes individuals to the procedures that were once seen as taboo. Yet, something that is very rarely discussed and advertised that could contribute to this desensitization are the negative effects of plastic surgery. Though these percentages are proportionality lower than the amount of success stories, women are still willing to risk these negative effects for something as simple as (or what used to be simple) an outward appearance. Often times women have allergic reactions to the foreign materials placed inside the body. As well as the scarring that can occur most times even with the most detailed recovery system. Unfortunately, women feel the need to represent the European beauty standard and go to unhealthy or invasive measures to attain this image.

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