Media implicated in women’s obsession with plastic surgery

By Francisco Bozzano-Barnes on September 28, 2015

By Hyewon Lee
It seems like everybody is obsessed with being beautiful. Of course, this eagerness for being pretty has been a part of human instinct, regardless of the region, age, and culture. But was it ‘this much’ serious, enough to make people willing to be molded into the same face with others? What caused this significant obsession? There are two main reasons: Media, and gender prejudices.
Media plays a significant role by raising standards of beauty. If you go out, or turn on TV, watch YouTube videos, you will see tons of examples of sexual objectification. Sexy, pretty women are necessary for all kinds of commercial. You can even see many porn-like commercials advertising just burgers and fries. When you play video games, I bet that you will never see any normal-looking girl character. Not even one.
Of course it is normal for human beings to prefer beautiful things. But the media’s definition of beauty should be changed. If you see some TV shows or videos, you will easily find out how media treats women who are not considered pretty. Especially in eastern countries, media treats those kinds of women as an idea for comedy. Comedians try to make people laugh by showing the contrast in their behavior when they meet a pretty woman and an ugly woman. People laugh when an ugly woman gets ignored. The saddest part is when women comedians are playing the role of ugly one, making fun of themselves in front of the camera for public broadcasting.
This aspect of media makes the standard of beauty in people’s minds soar high. Women can think that they can be treated like a ‘useless’ human being which has no value as a woman, if they are not pretty. Sounds too aggressive? But it actually happens in our society. If it was not true, there wouldn’t be the ridiculous plastic surgery group buying.
The deep-rooted gender prejudices are also one of the main reasons driving women’s obsession with plastic surgery. As a woman, who was born and raised in eastern culture, I grew up hearing some old sayings like ‘girls should be pretty,’ ‘girls should know how to do some cute things,’ ‘prettiness is a competitiveness of all women,’ ‘it’s a sin if women didn’t wear any makeup,’ etc. I’m only mid 20’s and not even my mom’s age. This means that the prejudice is still strong in eastern culture.
This prejudice literally burdens women and puts immense pressure on them. So women who have less self-confidence, especially of eastern culture make dangerous decisions like surgery group buying or born-calving surgery, believing that this will change their lives. And craving for being a socially-acceptable pretty woman.
We are taught to embrace the ‘diversity.’ We know in our head that people’s standards are all different. We strongly believe we should respect all kinds of people regardless of their gender, age, culture, sexual preference, race, financial status, fame, etc. But why are we so generous about ‘standardizing beauty?’ Why are we so ecstatic on discussing what kind of appearance woman should have?
Nobody can answer this question confidently. Not even women in South Korea who are obsessed with the search for artificial beauty thereby creating a boom for the plastic surgery industry. It is therefore not that surprising that plastic surgery rates are increasing every year. Technological improvement and the rising beauty standard encouraged by media push people onto the surgery bed. Simple and easy procedures like BOTOX and any other cosmetic injections made the perception of plastic surgery much more acceptable than before.
While it is the choice of some women to remodel their faces or bodies, nobody can really condemn their actions, but what seems egregious is the practice of plastic surgery group buying with its inherent unethical and commercial challenges.
Plastic surgery group buying works like this: Korean plastic surgery hospitals post their deals on the group buying websites. It includes some certain lines such as ‘BOTOX for $20 when the buyers reach 200,’ ‘authentic fillers for $100, fixed amount and the lowest price ever,’ and even surgical procedures like ‘magical breast augmentation for $2,500.’ Then consumers participate in purchasing the tickets for the deals. The more customers gather, the cheaper the price is. Customers who paid for the ticket upfront go to that hospital and take the procedure.
Yes, group buying is a clever way to purchase products at a great price. Everybody who wants to be beautiful can get the service with reasonable price. It looks like a good opportunity for the people who are considering taking plastic surgery. But there is one significant problem. The hospitals are becoming ‘factories.’
The beauty factory
If you step into the hospital to use the ticket you’ve bought by group buying, you will see 10 or more patients queuing up in the waiting room. They are the people who bought the same group buying tickets. In most cases, one doctor takes care of 30 patients a day for the group buying surgery procedure. The same procedure that everybody takes. Because it is the regular surgical procedure, it takes more time than the regular office visit. To deal with as many patients as they can, even nurses take charge on consultations or even simple cosmetic procedures, which doesn’t include injection or surgery. Of course, it is the clear violation of the law founded by Korean Plastic Surgery Committee. “The doctor who performs the surgery MUST consult patients prior to the operation,” it says.
Because most procedures are conducted without any specific consultation, there is a high possibility of side effects too. Sometimes, hospitals skip the consultation of the regular surgery and just lay the patients on the bed. “I had cosmetic eye ‘surgery,’ not ‘procedure.’ But the hospital just took me into the operating room without any consultation. In the end, the strings on my eyes were not removed well, so I had to go back to the hospital a couple of more times,” a patient who bought this group buying surgery ticket said. Having a surgery without any consultation, Of course, causes some side effects because every patient have different facial structure.
This factory-like hospital marketing gathers as many patients as it can and it is not different from just pressing people’s faces in a same mold. More than 1,200 patients sell some so-called “great” deals. And they go to the hospital and get out after the 30-minute procedure with the same face as others.
Is there any value with this ‘artificial beauty?’ Can people really be satisfied with this, with all those side effects, being treated like a ‘task’, which doctors should deal with as soon as possible?

Posted by on Oct 17 2015. Filed under Features. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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