Plastica and Fabulous


While reading Edmonds “Poor Right To Be Beautiful, Plastic Surgery in Brazil,” I was reminding of the well known spread that elaborated on plastic surgery in the fashion industry: Makeover Madness shot by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia 2005. The shoot exhibits a female model dressed in fancy clothing looking like she has just had plastic surgery. The shoot touches base on the fashion industry always wanting the female to look perfectly constructed. While the need to be nipped and tucked may not be news worthy to a lot of magazines, it has become a fad and apart of everyday life.

Edmond introduces Plastica as a way of life for the Brazilian people. These women are encompassing what Edmond states is the “inferiority complex,” which discusses that plastic surgery has less to do with wanting to look beautiful, but more to do with “Can I get a job if I become more beautiful?” or “Will I be more accepted in the industry that I am already in?” Much like the fashion industry, the women of Brazil are changing their appearance to fix into what society claims is acceptable. The images in the Italian Vogue touch base on the Italian women’s lifestyle and the need to have a face lift and rhinoplasty – but more so for the effect of approving ones appearance.

Before when surgeons thought of plastic surgery they assumed it was for vanity, to better ones appearance, now – surgeons believe that plastica is for the beauty within as well. While I agree that appearance on the outside will reflect on how you feel about yourself inside, I do not see how this has changed the minds of surgeons. This brings me to my next example, Extreme Makeover and The Biggest Loser. Reality television shows like these take normal people and make he or she over to become the best version of themselves. Shows like Extreme Makeover take individuals who have tried their best on their own – most of the time lower class working individuals who cannot afford the surgery on their own- and they give them a lift, tuck, nip, but not without them doing something in return. For example, for these people to get a lift and tuck they would need to loose x amount of weight. The individuals on the show are usually ones that cannot get a job because of what they’ve looked like, so their self esteem has been lowered. Edmond elaborates on the idea that plastica is about therapy and less about the appearance for vanity.

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3 responses to “Plastica and Fabulous

  1. mannk759

    I think that this spread from Vogue is a great parallel with the Edmonds piece. I think that there is an issue right off the bat with the title of the article, “The poor have the right to be beautiful.” This encompasses the feelings that the Brazilians have towards natural beauty. They are not comfortable with themselves and they constantly need to prove that they can be improved upon, through plastic surgery, in order to get ahead in life, as Hannah has touched upon. I was unaware of this phenomena that is devastating Brazil so I read further on the topic. I found that Brazil has the highest rate of plastic surgery procedures in the world with more than 400,000 procedures being performed annually. I think that these statistics speak volumes about modern day society and how these women feel that they cannot even get jobs unless they improve their physical appearance. They seem to feel as though they need to be fixed physically and the only answer to their problems in life is the drastic affects of plastic surgery. Brazil has also become a destination for “medical tourism”. This is a term coined for the people who cannot have procedures done in their home countries because they may have not been approved by the FDA or for whatever reason they are unable to be performed in places like Canada or Europe, so they go to Brazil to have operations done. I think that rather than taking such drastic measure these women can learn to lead healthy lifestyles, incorporate exercise into their lives as well as redefine what beauty is to them before they take such drastic measures to alter their appearances.

  2. silvianicoletti

    This reading was a bit disturbing to read as it shows the challenges that society has been going through with the media and the women that fashion images and advertisements portray and the way it has troubled young women into the beliefs they carry with them now. It is discouraging to see that plastic surgery has become a symbol of wealth, and that it is necessary to “correct” oneself now. Due to the images we are constantly being bombarded with society has begun to shape a certain aesthetic in their mind of what one should look like and try to mimic it. As it ties into our reading from last week about performance, “plastica” is allowing for people in Brazil to change their appearance in order to be considered differently within an economic basis. The reason why some of these women decided to get surgery done was with the reason in mind that “rich girls may have all advantages but poor girls beauty is so invariably attractive it can threaten class barriers”. People seem to be given hopes that if they are to look a certain way, they will be more likely to succeed. And sadly this may even be so. It has become so important to have a certain appearance when one goes in for an interview or represents their company that a specific look is necessary to fill the shoes of the job description, if not you will lose the opportunity. Beauty is overrated and intelligence is losing against it in a battle that was originated from the false ideas that advertisement portrays. Low – self esteem is sky rocketing because society believes what they see in the images portraying beautiful women in advertisements with ideal life styles… but the women photographed themselves are altered in some ways. Yet, these photos are what helps make the distinctions of what “falls outside of norms” and justifies people for getting their bodies changed to fit in.

  3. stephaniedjesus

    It was very alarming to learn that Brazil is THE destination for plastic surgery and how a lot of procedures are being performed there annually. It makes me think that Brazilians have a completely different idea of what beauty really is and probably feel the need to go under the knife because of this pressure to look a certain way. But this is a case that corresponds to many of us. We thrive to look as what society views are accepted as beautiful and most people will think that receiving plastic surgery is a right of passage. The barrage of messages in media about thinness, dieting and beauty tells “ordinary” people that they are always in need of adjustment and that the body is an object to be perfected. The overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. The real tragedy is that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention. This focus on beauty and desirability effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate. It’s alarming that we are so self-aware of what we look like, what we wear, how our body looks and how we are represented to a crowd and how it’s become our daily and main concern to become happy. If not, we think we’re left out or don’t fit into society, because it’s the same society that “defined” what real beauty is.

    Stephanie De Jesus

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