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In flipping through this month’s issue of People Magazine, I noticed an advertisement in the back of the magazine for a cosmetic surgeon's office in New York City. Neon colors danced over the page, popping out in all directions with graffiti-style bubble letters. The words were positioned amidst photographs and captions that were sprinkled with multiple exclamation points. At first glance, a reader might very well think that a new nightclub was being promoted, not a medical establishment. Underneath the list of services the clinic offers, in big, bold letters, reads the phrase "BOTOX TUESDAYS! $250." This gave me the impression that along with the service came a free cheeseburger with a side of french fries. It seems as though cosmetic surgery has gone the way of the "drive-thru”: drop by, pick up the paper bag with your desired items, and go. However, in this case, instead of receiving inexpensive and poorly prepared food, the package would bear the label of something along the lines of “Botox In A Box.” Or maybe the creators of “Botox Tuesdays” are offering breast implants for half the price during Happy Hour. Even more horrifying than the mysterious “Botox Tuesdays” was the bold print encased in a sort of star design, probably used to place emphasis on the caption that prominently highlights that, in fact, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills participate in their own Botox parties once a month. Now doesn’t that make each and every one of us want to hurry over to Botox Tuesdays so that we can become the spitting image of a Beverly Hills housewife?
This advertisement is simply one example of many that are similar. We have all seen them, plastered across billboards and flashed across television screens during commercial breaks. While thankfully not all of these advertisements present their information featuring flamboyant print and bubble letters, they do have a commonality. Nearly every endorsement that I’ve ever seen for any kind of cosmetic surgery conspicuously features a woman who greatly resembles Malibu Barbie: bleached, bronzed, and plastic. Clinics that offer the enlargement, reduction, and re-molding of body parts have created a phenomenon of fakeness; their services have helped to construct a society in which fake tans, fake lips, fake hair, and fake breasts are obtained just as casually as getting a haircut, or picking up lunch. The media has concocted this trend by appealing to the millions of women, both young and old, who aspire to resemble the bikini-top-clad, raven-haired woman, who is inevitably featured in any cosmetic surgery clinic’s advertisement. However, once the "thin" layer of airbrushing, two layers of make-up, and the hair extensions are stripped away, it is very likely that the model looks just as ordinary as every magazine-reading teenager in America.
While these advertisements strike me as tawdry, they are clearly made in this way to appeal to a wide variety of audiences, and they do. Millions of women have cosmetic surgery procedures performed on them everyday. An astounding number of them are being greatly misled every day in thinking that having such procedures done will allow them to achieve the unattainable goal of imitating this “Malibu Barbie” image. However, the reality of the matter is that many of these cosmetic surgery victims spend the first decade after surgery resembling artificial versions of themselves, followed by multiple decades of “touch-ups” to avoid infections.
I strive never to end up like my Aunt Patty, who would serve as the perfect “after” shot in a “before and after” piece revealing the effects of Botox after thirty years of surgeries; the poison has done absolutely nothing but replace her cheekbones with tennis balls, and leave her with an alarmingly restricted amount of movement in her mouth and neck. I do not wish to ever put my grandnieces and nephews in the awkward position that she has imposed upon us; we all keep our eyes glued to the floor when in her presence to avoid the horrified expression that inevitably washes over our features upon glancing at her face.
A more extreme case is that of Donda West, the mother of famous rapper, Kanye West, who died of multiple complications following multiple cosmetic surgeries by the same doctor, Dr. Jan Adams of Los Angeles. Now, is the risk of death really worth a bigger cup size, or cellulite-free thighs? I say, buy a treadmill and a push-up bra; they serve the same purpose for less than half the price, and don’t cost someone their life.
I refuse to become a part of the mass manufacture of women into plastic, simply because I do not trust that the doctors in charge of sucking fat and shaping noses actually take my health and well-being into consideration. The probability that they are zooming in on my wallet by roping me into a lifetime of “touch-up” surgeries is much too overwhelming. The fact that seemingly prestigious cosmetic surgery clinics publish advertisements that are cheap and trashy only support my assertion about the procedures. If these advertisements were being honest, they would not resemble those of strip clubs, flaunting flashy text featuring deceiving interrogative statements and photographs of synthetic women. Rather, the text would read something like “ARE YOU LOOKING TO SPEND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON YOUR FACE? THEN COME RECEIVE OUR MUSCLE-PARALYZING INJECTIONS! $300 PER PROCEDURE! Note: Procedures are required every 90 days for the rest of your life to prevent poisoning.” Then, the advertisement would read, “If you want to look like this, you should hurry over here and receive your injections now!” directly over a photograph of an Aunt Patty look-a-like, displaying her tennis ball cheeks and inflated lips.
These clinics are attracting more and more young girls every day. The establishments do this by presenting their clients with a false representation of beauty, and then leave them looking like the corpse bride, all while robbing them of their money. But hey, maybe I’m the only one who’d rather not drop 6,000 dollars on a surgery every five years just to keep my lips from exploding.





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IntrepidRose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm
Nice article. You're right on all counts. Maybe someday cosmetic surgery will be rare.
 
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