Recently a friend shared a link with me to an article at TheHoopla.com.au entitled Body Perfection: A New Religion. The article talks about an exhibition by renowned photographer Zed Nelson entitled “Love Me“. The exhibition showed works from Nelson’s five year project which took him to 17 countries to document just how far people will go to attain the “perfect appearance”. From vaginal rejuvenation, to leg lengthening to having toes shortened simply to fit into fashionable shoes, the photos are shocking and sometimes heart breaking.
In many ways, it reminds me of foot binding in China. Beginning as early as 900 AD and enduring into the 20th century, this practice involved breaking the bones in the feet of young girls and rebinding them into a smaller shape. It was done to ensure that the girls would be seen as ladies and to make them more attractive potential wives for wealthy men. Many people, especially in the west, see this practice as barbaric. But really, how different is this from getting your toes shortened to fit into fashionable shoes? Yes we have better surgical practices now. But still, it begs the question–just how far are we willing to go to be fashionable, attractive to the opposite sex and to wear our bodies as a signal of status? Many of these surgeries still may cause complications, from infection to permanent disfigurement to death. And although these complications are rare, the fact that people are willing to face those sorts of risks in the name of “beauty” says something profoundly frightening about our culture.
I wonder about the world that we are creating not only for ourselves, but also for our sons and daughters. Are we creating a new surgical divide between the haves and have nots? Will surgical and other alterations of our bodies become so commonplace that those who have natural bodies are seen as the “working class” or impoverished lower class? Or has this already happened and we just didn’t notice it?
I don’t know. But it makes me more determined than ever to parade my unaltered, unretouched, fluffy, feathery butt down the avenue. If avoiding plastic surgery is a somehow counter culture, then just call me a rebel baby.
The Fat Chick