American Beauty: Dying for Perfection
Dying for Perfection
I’ll be the first to admit my weight causes me a lot of angst and that it’s often on my mind. I'm fully aware that my obsession, as you might call it, has become terribly unhealthy. After reading about a model who died from a botched liposuction operation, I fully understand the damage that an obsession with beauty can cause.
On October 19th of last year, Pamela Nascimento, died after a botched cosmetic procedure. Her family states that she died after suffering severe loss suffered after her kidney had been perforated. Chiefs at Green Hills Hospital in Sao Paulo dispute that claim, stating that she died of a liver hemorrhage. At any rate, police are now investigating the possibility that Pamela actually died in the middle of the operation, but that the surgeon continued with the surgery to cover up his failed attempt to resuscitate her. He could now face charges of manslaughter.
This was the Nascimento’s third time undergoing stomach-flattening operations. She was described as “obsessed with her looks,” having also had breast augmentation and rhinoplasty, as well.
A Cultural Obsession
Our obsession with beauty is becoming dangerous. According to a report published in 2008, Americans spend more than $12 billion a year on cosmetic surgery, and many of these operations are performed by inexperienced practitioners leading to disastrous consequences. In addition to the dangers of cosmetic surgery, certain types of makeup can cause serious health risks as well - many cosmetics often include cancer-causing ingredients such as phthalates, which are not included on the labels because of FDA loopholes regarding trade secrets. And a clip from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” claims that American girls are more afraid of getting fat than of cancer.
For someone like me, whose confidence is already shot to bits because I’ve heard so many times that I’m “big-boned,” “heavyset,” and “thick,” it’s easy to see why women will go to all lengths in order to be pretty. My grandpa always told me beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and as I get older, I fully understand what he meant. Unfortunately, here in America, the standard for beauty is based on a 14-year-old model whose prepubescent body leaves no hope among grown women. Even if I wasn’t overweight, there’s no way I could turn back the hands of time and regain the body I had as a teenager.
It seems as though nearly every female on the planet is trying to improve her looks with one form of artifice or another. This makes me feel like I need to do the same just to compete, not to actually gain ground. Feeling pressured to buy more makeup, make more trips to the hair salon, and continually trying the newest fad diets is not how I want to spend my days.
If a Brazilian model isn’t happy with her body and literally dies after trying to make herself as beautiful as possible, I can’t help but wonder how any of us can ever be satisfied. The desire to be perfect is driving people to the brink of madness, and I feel myself falling victim to this same line of thinking. Not that I'm planning to undergo plastic surgery anytime soon, but I want to lose weight so badly that I’m ready to eat and drink nothing except carrot sticks and water.
Of course, what I consider foolish might be nothing more than normal in the ever-confusing world of unattainable beauty.