Plastic surgery v. body modification

Mon 18 Jun, 2012 07:19 pm
First, let me be clear: I know that plastic surgery is about a lot more than vanity. Plastic surgeons do important, constructive and reconstructive work. The type I'm discussing here is more the vanity type work.

I came across this promo for a new TV show:

and it reminded me very much of a documentary I saw years ago about extreme body modification. Except the surgery for one is legal and the other isn't. A lot of the people who want extreme modifications for their bodies go to "back alley" surgeons and self taught modifiers. One guy in the film wanted his leg removed, it felt alien to him. No doctor would remove a healthy limb so the guy ended up shooting off his own leg.

How is it okay for doctors to refuse/agree to add or subtract parts from one group but not the other?

Is it dictated by beauty standards or is there something else going on?

A lot of people think full body tattoos or many, many piercings are indicative of mental illness but what if that person just finds that beautiful? Some people say intense (to distinguish it from extreme) modification is done by people wanting to call attention to themselves. But isn't that what vanity surgery is all about too?

Why is one acceptable but the other not?

What does this say about us?
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Mon 18 Jun, 2012 09:11 pm
I'll expand the topic a bit....

I remember that I always thought foot binding was something done to girls. It wasn't until years later, after reading "Aching for Beauty" that I realized this was really something done to girls, by women, in the name of fashion.

Same for female circumcision (though beauty doesn't seem to have anything to do with it).

Why are some modifications, done within a cultural context, okay while others are not?

If I went to a doctor and asked to have my feet bound or to be circumcised I'd probably be sent to the psych ward. But if I want to have my boobs made bigger or fat sucked out or wrinkles poisoned away -- no problem.

Why is this?
Mon 18 Jun, 2012 10:11 pm
who has these surgeries done?

folks that can afford to pay cash for them. in droves...

wealthy folks get what they want. who's to stop them?
Mon 18 Jun, 2012 10:13 pm
I know a girl that received boobs from her folks for her 18th birthday.

I found it odd on several levels, but she's not my spoiled little girl...
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Tue 19 Jun, 2012 06:43 am
I've known boob job and nose job gift recipients.

One of the latest modification fads is ear clipping -- where the top part of the ear lobe is removed. It's all very strange to me.
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Tue 19 Jun, 2012 06:57 am
i was listening to a radio doc about Australian punk bands in the late 70's early 80's, one of the girl groups had a song which included the line, "I want to tattoo my whole body so nobody will employ me"

the singer, speaking today, said that the idea seemed so radical at the time, now not so much

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Tue 19 Jun, 2012 08:17 am
boomerang wrote:

A lot of people think full body tattoos or many, many piercings are indicative of mental illness but what if that person just finds that beautiful?

Can you actually back this statement up with sources beyond a few anecdotal observations? Any well known publications from psych experts?

Some people say intense (to distinguish it from extreme) modification is done by people wanting to call attention to themselves. But isn't that what vanity surgery is all about too?

There's a major difference between a person purposefully having his limb amputated at a joint because of a really rare fetish rather then prevent further disease like gangrene, cancer, etc... and having an two inch or larger metal ring inserted into the ear which stretches the ear way out of proportion. It's quite possible that the latter individual may not realize the long term consequences that at the time he is permanently damaging his earlobe and that only further surgery could restore his ear to a relative 'normal' shape if he decides to have that earloop removed when he no longer finds it fashionable. Still, this minor alteration is reversible while an extreme modification is not.
Tue 19 Jun, 2012 10:19 am
I didn't say "research shows" I said "a lot of people think". You don't have to wander from this forum to see that. But there has been some research into it, like this quickly found example: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/183866.php

There is a difference and that's why I was trying to distinguish between the two. I would put limb removal and having oneself paralyzed (another one that shows up) as extreme modifications. I called the other one "intense" just to point out that I think there is a difference.
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Tue 19 Jun, 2012 12:48 pm
Parts of the United States have succumb to outer appearances only. The youthful and attractive look of a person has become so important these days that it will define their life.

Hardly anyone pays attention to personality and inner beauty as long as the outer package is presentable.

I am not sure when this trend has started but it's scary to what dimensions it has grown to.

It is one thing to stop the aging process a bit in older years, or to beautify imperfections like a way too prominent nose, but to have every part of your body surgically enhanced to resemble Barbie, is just plain wrong. In another 10 years these young women will look like clones - some of the actresses do already.
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Tue 19 Jun, 2012 01:01 pm
Well, i'm comfortable in my skin. My boobs may be small, but their mine--i'm happy with them as they are.
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Wed 20 Jun, 2012 02:35 am
Foot binding, like genital mutilation is, sadly, about a lot more than fashion. In the cultures in which these things were/are practiced they mean/meant the difference between some possibility for a reasonable life for a woman and being cast pretty much upon the dust heap, or looking at a life of poverty and possible abuse.

In these cultures marriage is the only possible life path for most women, and having unbound feet or a whole vulva mean/t that a woman was unmarriageable, or that she would find a husband only amongst the very poor.

Yes, women do have a part in maintaining the tradition, because it appears unthinkable to them to do anything else and be seen as good mothers and women, but the acts were in no way the choice of or to the benefit of women.

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