Saturday, May 27, 2006

Backstreet plastic surgeries: caveat emptor

A recently published book edited by David Benatar calls plastic surgery a 'contested surgery.' Here in the United States, there is a tendency to make plastic surgery purely a matter of consumer choice, though the facts that most consumers are women, and many surgeries involve lips, buttocks, and breasts are something that leaves the practice open to criticism from a feminist point of view. Aren't women who alter their bodies in these ways paying lip service (pun intended) to male power? Or conversely: isn't it a legitimate way for women to improve the circumstances of their lives? Wouldn't opposing the practice be unduly 'paternalistic'?

In developing countries, inequitable access to 'elective interventions' is very pronounced: quite a few women seem to desire plastic surgery, but very few can afford it. The rich alter whatever the natural lottery bestowed on them, while poor generally make do. Which brings us to the story of Rosa, a Chilean woman who wanted to regain the good looks of her youth and find a partner, but could only afford a backstreet breast-and-lip job. After Rosa got drunk (the cheapest anesthetic), some guy called Claudio injected each of her breasts with a litre of silicon gel that is normally used to lubricate industrial machinery. Neither the aesthetic or medical results, according to Rosa, are very pretty. And she is apparently not alone: possibly hundreds of women in Chile undergo similar procedures in pursuit of happiness and love.


Blogger breast said...

cosmetic surgery is for men and women, what feminism has to do with it, cosmetic surgery is one of the things that induce long lasting happiness and satisfaction, the excitement does not wear off in few days, it is there every time you look in the mirror

3:03 PM  
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