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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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7 Responses

  1. That Girl
    That Girl June 15, 2006 at 9:23 am |

    It will never be enough – there is no objective standard of beauty. The most beautiful (agreed-upon by society) people will get “fine lines”, the older mothers will always get a stretch mark, there will always be something that someone can point to and say “not perfect”.
    My best friend obsesses because her thumbs are naturally slightly crooked. I think of that whenever Im tempted to obssess on some aspect of my appearance I dislike.
    If you love me you dont care and if you cant love me because of some perceived physical flaw then no thanks anyway.

  2. Anne
    Anne June 15, 2006 at 9:24 am |

    Good questions.

    I’m not sure if the medical establishment has any ethical responsibilities. In the case of liposuction, they are providiing a service that customers are paying money for, which brings in capitalism – and what ethical responsibilities has capitalism ever followed?

    It would have to be a change in our culture/society, which would then reflect in the practices of the medical establishment. Going after the institutions does nothing when the center is shit.

  3. hedonistic
    hedonistic June 15, 2006 at 9:48 am |

    I’m torn. On the surface, it looks ridiculous: Some people have way too much time on their hands, and way too much money, if they’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on . . . their elbows? Back fat?

    But here I am. I had liposuction on my neck and jawline because although very skinny (115 pounds) I had a hereditary double-chin that really, really bugged me for YEARS. Two years ago I came home from a family reunion thinking, “If I don’t do something about this NOW I’m going to look like a basset hound when I’m 50. I see what my relatives look like and frankly, I’m scared.”

    So, yes, the trend is ridiculous, but I’m the last person in the world who may judge it harshly.

  4. Peshna
    Peshna June 15, 2006 at 9:59 am |

    Maybe American attitudes towards beauty aren’t always so bad?

    Here’s a comparison of the reaction between US teens and Italian teens to the concept of different kinds of beauty… (I’d post an excerpt of the article, but it is only a short commentary, so I’d be copying it in its entirety, and I suspect that would be an internet no no.)

    http://www.beginningwithi.com/oped/beauty.html

  5. EL
    EL June 15, 2006 at 10:42 am |

    I’d be willing to wager every penny in my bank account (which is only about $50, but still) that it’s virtually only women who are asking to have, say, their pubic areas liposuctioned. I just can’t imagine many guys walking into a plastic surgeon’s office and saying, “Can you help me, doc? My cock is too fat.”

    Brilliant.

    I’m glad you mentioned the pubic area lipo thing because that was the part of the article that really threw me. For one thing:

    “In Brazil, bikinis are very small, and she complained that a little bit of fat stuck out over her bikini,”

    Well, I’m having trouble picturing this.

    But another thing is that I find it interesting how women would be willing to actually forego sexual pleasure in exchange for “good-looking genitals”. I mean, I got a Brazilian wax once and it hurt while it happened and it numbed my genitals for two weeks afterward – I would never go do that again. Because I think of sex as for me, not as a presentation for my partner.

  6. Em
    Em June 15, 2006 at 11:29 am |

    I don’t care much about plastic surgery provided it isn’t objectively harmful to the patient. Most implants are questionable in this regard. But moving your own flesh around until it’s in a shape that pleases you–go right ahead! If you get addicted to it and become a laughingstock, not my problem. If you are terrified of death and getting old, not my problem either. But I think the vast majority of plastic surgery patients have ‘one thing’ that has always bothered them and are very satisfied to have it finally off the radar.

  7. BStu
    BStu June 16, 2006 at 10:23 am |

    Blaming the people who feel these insecurities is just a way of belittling the results of cultural pressures without actually suggesting there is anything wrong with thos cultural pressures. The women getting plastic surgery isn’t ultimately the problem, only a sympthom. The problem is a culture which has established deeply unrealistic standards of beauty paired with intense pressure to maintain those standards. That women bare such an incrediably disproportionate brunt of this disfunction exposes it all as a deeply sexist system which serves to oppress women.

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