Fashion + Body Image

Plastic fantastic? Plastic fantastic? How fashion is leading more women to cosmetic surgery

Over hundreds of years our fashion trends, culture and spending habits have all changed along with the way we view ourselves. With cosmetic surgery on the rise, it has never been easier to have a quick pick me up whenever we feel like it, especially as more beauticians are becoming qualified to take a stab at it. The most common treatments in the UK are micro-blading, Botox and fillers, with 92% of all cosmetic procedures in the UK being for women. But what has driven this change?

Contour, rejuvenate and enhance

It’s quite overwhelming when looking into cosmetic surgery with so many different choices to “fix those troubled areas”, as one company puts it. But the general gist is either to contour, rejuvenate or enhance a part of your body. The idea of cosmetic surgery has been floating around for centuries with nose reconstruction being one of the earliest measures in 600 BC. The types of cosmetic surgery we see today started in 1931 in America, as a harmless way to help people who had either birth or accidental disfigurements. This then moved onto breast enhancements to help with larger breasts that caused pain. As technology and knowledge grew, more procedures came about, as a body of experts lead the way for innovation in the cosmetic world.

The look

Everyone wants the look – well whatever the look is to them that is. Whether that is to be tall or short, thick or thin, everyone has their own ideology of what that ideal look is. Cosmetic surgery allows people to enhance their own looks to get that look that they want. Fashion has a huge influence on this and can be seen time and time again. It’s no secret that people look to supermodels, famous people and other influencers to get inspiration for their own look. But all of these people are following fashion trends to some extent and the way that they are influenced trickles down to the likes of you and me.

Take the well-known Kardashian brand; Kylie Jenner and Kim have two of the most followed Instagram accounts as of 2020. They both have large make up brands offering ways to better your look and enhance your own beauty. They also have been seen multiple times at cat walks, press releases and fashion shows revealing the latest trends. All of us at some point have wanted at least one of Kim K’s most famous features (I will leave you to choose), despite the trend 10 years ago being a simple toned look for your rear, stomach and face. It’s interesting to compare this drastic change on what we perceive as the new normal or look to have. This changes from year to year as fashion does too, for example in recent years we’ve seen the alterations form thick to thin eyebrows or the infamous cat eye that many tried to master.

Media

Fashion can offer inspiration, creativity and opportunity as well as giving a glimpse of our inner voice. It can also be a huge hindrance with many of us chasing the latest trends to fit in. This is where fashion mostly influences the way we see ourselves but the constant uploads showing us who to be doesn’t help either. From all forms of media we are hounded with different choices of who to be; the indie chick, the gym queen or maybe the formal friend. Trends in fashion influence all that we see, which makes us want to conform to these pressures, and they can be especially addictive on social media. With the likes of Facebook and Instagram tapping into our views it’s never been easier to tailor what you see to the look you want, putting this pressure on you to change. Seeing others online with extra smooth skin or perky breasts makes us want that too. The online world may seem pretty perfect but behind the scenes drastic choices have been made to get this look.

Unrealistic standards

Are you a Barbie girl? Because we certainly live in a Barbie World. It’s not uncommon to know someone who’s had lip filler anymore in contrast to how it was 50 years ago. But can you blame them? Growing up I had Barbie’s and Bratt’s to play with, which is setting a strange standard to begin with. Research has shown that a real life Barbie would only have half a kidney with her 16 inch waste and wouldn’t be able to hold her own head up due to her extra-long neck. A few extremists in the plastic and cosmetic world have gone so far as to call themselves the real life Barbie’s (and Ken’s) with thousands of pounds spent to look like them. This in itself became a huge fashion trend with many people wanting smaller waists, bigger lips and fuller hair all to achieve the look.

Unrealistic standards during childhood are not only to blame as fashion also normalises these changes. Barbie’s would often be released with the latest trends in fashion including world famous supermodel Twiggy. Many women aspired to be as tall and thin as her and even took to drastic changes to get there, whereas even Twiggy herself admits later in her life that her looks were unrealistic. The fashion world can be harmful with the “perfect” look being the only thing that matters, but the future looks promising with fashion companies opening their eyes to other more realistic looks.

Real happiness

I like to believe that happiness from within is key. You have to love yourself for who you are as each person is completely incomparable. It’s the differences that make us human and no one should try to push you to be something that you’re not. By all means follow what your heart tells you to do if you feel like you really want that nose job but dig deep first and find out why you possibly want it. Follow fashion influences that give you inspiration and joy rather than ones that make you compare and contrast with them.

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