SBG’s article on Dr. 90210 has got me checking out the show occasionally to see just how bad it gets. The answer is: really bad.
Last week, a doctor was performing liposuction on a woman… who was a size zero. As he rammed the lipsuction hose under her skin repeatedly, like a very angry jack hammer (which I could barely stand to watch), he chatted cheerfully about how hard it was going to be to find any fat in this woman. Then, pray tell, WTF ARE YOU DOING GIVING HER LIPOSUCTION? And that’s not even touching on the general controversy over liposuction as a method of weight loss.
Right now I’m (not) watching a breast implant operation. If seeing them shove bags of snot-alike brutally up under skin that’s stretched inches out of shape with their instruments doesn’t make you think twice about implants, I don’t know what will. Maybe the footage of another woman, whose implant has ruptured, getting all the silicone dug out of her breast meat, looking like carcass hanging on a butcher’s hook. I can’t figure out what the point of this graphic footage is. Are they trying to let real life women know what they’re in for if they pursue major cosmetic surgery? Or are they helping women reduce their self-image to a lump of meat, so women can more easily contemplate dropping thousands of dollars on unnecessary surgery designed to make them conform to a societal ideal?
Additionally, the doctor had a lot of concerns about his ability to get this breast implantation right, given that the woman is very petite. Did he try to talk her out of it on that basis? Nah. Did he ask her what she’d done to try to get comfortable and confident with the flat chest she she has? Nah. He makes a comment that some women are quite secure about their small breasts, but those who aren’t should feel free to get implants. Afterwords, he was so proud of his work and how beautiful he’d made this woman. It was all he could talk about.
I’ve got to say… cosmetic surgery is not evil, and I’m not judging those who want it. I do empathize with the urge to “correct” a feature that’s particularly large or small or doesn’t look like it did twenty years ago. But at some point, you have to consider this is a multi-billion dollar business fueled by a lot of really negative messages about how we have to be beautiful not only to find mates (which is belied by all the not-so-gorgeous happy couples I know, even here in L.A.), but to be successful. Even men are starting to see a correlation between looking young and vibrant and becoming Vice Presidents in their companies. Excuse me, but since when did we expect CEO’s to be hotties? What the hell does beauty have to do with your ability to take charge of your department and make the right judgment calls? Like I said, I’m not even convinced the majority of men consider hotness a prerequisite for marriage: most men seem to be very intimidated by spectacularly gorgeous women. But if we don’t keep up the myth of necessary beauty, this billion-dollar industry of unnecessary surgery might fall apart.
And the bottom line is: cosmetic surgery for fashion is a double-edged sword. Smaller breasts were in vogue in the 70’s and 80’s – if that fashion comes back (and it will, sooner or later, as all fashions do), will the women getting implants now rush to get them out?