Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ugly Duckling No More

Today I walked into the bedroom and into an episode of Dr. 90210, a show following doctors performing plastic surgery. I watch the show from time to time if I'm folding laundry and absolutely nothing else is on. Sometimes the patients are compelling such as when Dr. Rey travels to Mexico to help kids with severe deformities and in urgent need of surgery to alleviate their pain and/or disfiguration. But mostly the show is about beautiful people striving to become more beautiful. I admit I have little sympathy for a beautiful blonde bombshell weeping before the camera that her lips just aren't pouty like Angelina Jolie's and her bottom isn't the exact shape of J-Lo's.

However, what irked me today was the statement Dr. Rey made to a patient undergoing plastic surgery "Now you won't be an ugly duckling anymore!" My jaw dropped. First, the girl was not in any way ugly, though the lack of self esteem was clear upon her face. Second, he just called her UGLY! Fine, she wants to be prettier, but should a doctor chime in to confirm her defeated self image?

There was a time when plastic surgery was spoken of in hushed voices. Shows like these make plastic surgery seem normal, desirable, the thing to do and their effect is resulting in higher rates of plastic surgery. Is it responsible to show 100% happy customers 100% of the time with no side effects or problems? There is a darker side to plastic surgery and the fact that none of these shows really talk about that reminds me of shady side effects swept under the rug by drug manufactures such as "Requip- helps restless leg" and as images of happy restful legged people prance through the screen a hurried voice reads the side effects dismissively such as how Requip can cause the random urge to gamble? But aside from the physical side effects that can happen, what about the emotional consequences? People can get addicted to plastic surgery, and plastic surgery is SURGERY, not without complications. Instead of a society encouraging women to respect themselves and their unique beauty and to ignore the assault by the media of the adulation of youth, instead of telling women to not fall into depression and anorexia because they don't look like airbrushed Victoria Secret ads, society is instead encouraging new ways to get that uniform look? What does that say about us?

Sadder still: How will the daughter whose mom paid $10,000 to obliterate and refigure a nose feel about her own identical nose? What will that tell her about who she is?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nicely said. It seems that as women gain more and more rights (legally), they loose others (socially). And the sad part is that most women don't realize this.

poetic muslim said...

I hate these shows their so depressing , especialy people who clearly have nothing wrong with their face ! these plastic surgeions think their their god on earth its sicking to say the least the obesesion is going way 2 far ( beuty) its one to take care of yourself its another to remove excess skin due to pregancy or weight lose its whole different ISSUE TO BREAST ENLARGEMENT thats absured !....and the risks their huge ..people make it out 2 be like their minor .

Anonymous said...

Once on the episode tehre was a lady who wanted a diamond surgically imbedded into her hand- cos basically she had everything else of hers surgically altered already. Oh, and ok Dr. Rey's wardrobe is what's friggin ugly. geez.

Jane said...

I am ashamed to admit that I have also seen this show. To me it highlights the emphasis on shallowness in popular culture. I think we can all agree that reconstructive surgery is one thing; vanity surgery is another. Of course people have the right to do whatever they want to their own bodies but I also wonder what message adults send to their children when they get vanity surgery. There are many things about the way I look that I would love to change if I had a magic wand. However I would not take the risk of surgery (and it is risky) just to look a little prettier. As I said to a friend once, "I would love to have my behind look better. Before I had kids it was about four inches higher. But what if I died from the anethesia or from complications? How awful would it be to have died from a butt lift?" There is no pride in that kind of death. I think there is too much pressure for women to look like a celebrity. It's as if it is no longer acceptable to look average or get older. Age should be welcomed and respected, not airbrushed away by lasers and scapels.

Tee said...

~weeeeird vibes~

We're on the same wavelength again.

Last night I watched a documentary on the Sundance channel (I think) about nose jobs in Iran.

I said to Carlos, "What about when their child is born with this nose they hate so much? What will they say? What will the child say later?"

It creates a cycle of low self-esteem and self hate.

Iran is the nose job capital of the world. It's actually stylish to walk around with the bandage on your nose. It's a status symbol.
These women say a Western nose is more beautiful. How sad!

They also showed women who didn't check credentials and their noses were so disfigured it was unfixable. It was awful. (Think Michael Jackson). And these women were gorgeous before, with beautiful Persian noses.

You have to watch the documentary.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the one I saw:
http://www.smediaint.com/pages/documentary/documentary17.htm

It's called "Nose, Iranian Style"

Here is a short news clip on this same topic, but not the movie I saw. http://www.metacafe.com/watch/159871/nose_job_in_iran/

Anonymous said...

Jane rightly said: "reconstructive surgery is one thing; vanity surgery is another".

Plastic surgery is intended to treat medical conditions like burn (skin graft), cleft palate etc.

Its shame that thousands of dollars get spend to lift butts, chins and noses in perfectly healthy people, while millions die of hunger on this planet. Doctors are squarely blamed for their greed.

MYSTIC

slskenyon said...

Good thing I was never a fan of 90210.

I remember watching a special on it once when a young lady, who looked just fine, by the way, went in to get some minor work done (I forget what her original complaint was). I was most appauled by her interaction with the "concerned" surgeon, who preyed on her insecurities (already apparent given her choice to have the surgery in the first place), who convinced her that she should include a few other procedures that she was not originally intending to have done.

Excellent concluding comment on your post, too.

Aisha said...

anon- it doesnt have to be that way... as always in openly opressive regimes that tolerate honor killings and mistreatment of women.. and in nations where a women's youth is valued to the point as the only thing they should worry their pretty heads about.... its women oftentimes bringing one another down. Its sad

Poetic Muslim, amen! Its ridiculous and these shows are making the rise of such surgeries increase exponentionally, its troubling.

Anon, lol, yeah i noticed that particularly on the day of the "ugly duckling", its all just distasteful but his clothign doesnt help matters :)

Jane, amen! Jamie Lee Curtis is an example of a woman aging gracefully... it should be embraced... honestly people like Joan rivers etc... it looks sad.... you can't cling to what was and you are more than just your looks. Sigh.

Tee, I think i've seen that. What a coincidence! Its really distateful and I dont understand the fad, they dont have bad noses? why noses? Thats so random to me. I guess in the Us its an obsession with boobs and in Iran noses?

Mystic, ..and there lies the rub.. doesnt it? *sigh*

Slskenyon, I never was either... but if its on you just watch it.. but Id ont know if I'll even watch it for the sake of something on anymore... it was really disheartening to see what i saw. The special you saw, was it on plastic surgery or a special on the show Dr. 90210?? Thats outrageous!!!

Suroor said...

well said!

Tee said...

Aisha - Because in Iran the women have to cover their whole body and leave only the face exposed, this has backfired and caused them to be obsessed with their appearance.

Liposuction is the most popular in the West, but in Iran, it is the nose job because that is what they are allowed to show.

Girls, and even some boys, are peer pressured and teased if they don't get a nose job and they have a "Persian" nose. Many in the younger generation feel they can not find a husband if they don't have a nose job because there is so much competition.

They say it all started when they had access to TV/movies from the West and the Women wanted to look like the Western "Barbie" like actresses.

It's sad that the worst of our culture is what spreads fastest.

Aisha said...

Suroor thanks, hope you're well!

Tee, thats awful. Sometimes i forget that Iran is like that now. The Persians I know in the US are just like anybody else and most are quite assimilated... sometimes you forget what happened to their country.... wow... that's sad. I guess its like in schools that thought uniforms would bring down the teasing on clothing and the classes it created.... instead kids found other ways to do so by buying expensive hair things, accessories, shoes, socks. They found a way to try to trump the other kids. Sad.

The Urukian said...

let them be plastic, at least that way we'll know who's real

Hira said...

if people want to opt for it ...i dont think anyone has the right to object....these people are playing around with their own bodies and wasting their own money...so let the fools do what ever they want to ...just because they have tryd out every thing else ..they want a change...these people living in the west are done with drugs..enough sex...crossed the limits of success ...so obviously left with such foolish stuff..which includes these plastic surgeries ..sucide...wars .and now its RELIGION....

The Arcadian said...

it's not a Western illness...

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the rhinoplasty (nose job) centre of the world. The reason why plastic surgery is more prevalent in the West is simply because they have the resources for it. Where I come from (Iraq), they're just as obsessed with outer appearances, and I'm pretty sure if they had cheap plastic surgery on offer, 90 per cent would go for it.

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