To keep things uncomplicated I will be focusing on the United States in this post, simply because the vision of the “ideal image” can vary so widely depending on where in the world you are.
In America however, it is fairly common knowledge that the average “ideal image” of a man is someone who is muscular, handsome, wealthy, has a six pack, and basically every other stereotype in the book (they are stereotypes for a reason! There is always a little truth to be found within!). Women on the other hand are supposed to be thin, pretty, have large breasts, and lots of curves.
Obviously very few people in the country actually have these “ideal” features compared to the vast majority of us who are somewhat unlucky in the facet. So why then do most of the American public dream of this fantasy specimen?
Possible Causes 1: Media
Media (especially now with the emergence of the internet, smartphones, and more connectivity than there ever has been in history) is booming. With more people connected than ever in human history, online media is a very powerful tool to spread words, thoughts, and ideologies to vast populations across the globe.
Almost every single person on the planet can connect with one another from across the planet via the internet which now can fit into your pants pocket. This means that at any given moment, news and media outlets can reach potentially billions of people every single day.
Now, when your magazine reaches that wide of an audience, and you post things that say “this is what the ideal woman should look like”, “why you should lose weight” etc, it will have a very profound effect on many people. Thus, the image of the “ideal woman” slowly begins to form in peoples minds due to the constant exposure to media telling them what the criteria are.
Possible Causes 2: Peers
Everyone wants to be accepted and loved by their friends however, (especially in high school) this is not always the case.
Kids are found to be more susceptible to advertising and image related content than adults, simply because they are still trying to figure out who they are as individuals. Unfortunately, the easy-of-access to the internet is not always a good thing, as young children are bombarded early on with ideas of who they should be to be most likely accepted and loved by society. Very little is done to encourage individuality, and when all of your friends are dressing a certain way, you will more likely than not be the brunt of their jokes if you do not conform.
Why is this bad?
Many of you may be wondering, why does it matter? and to many people it does not. However, it is this authors perspective that when you decide to go get surgery to alter your appearance to please others, it has gone to far.
In some of our previous posts we have taken a look at a few of the “high-end cosmetic medical professions” that are quickly popping up these days, and in the next few weeks we will continue to examine just what drives individuals to go to such extreme lengths to fit in.
Cosmetic dentistry differs from what some may consider “normal” dental work in that it is solely to improve the look of a persons teeth instead of the functionality. Normally, a cosmetic dentist will focus on improving the color, alignment, shape, and overall appearance of a patients teeth with the focal point of interest being the smile.
There has been some controversy surrounding the practice of Cosmetic Dentistry recently however, in that many dentists identify as “cosmetic dentists” regardless of what type of dental training they have. Of course this is to lure in clients, and is considered unethical by many in the industry.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
In terms of legitimate cosmetic dental practices, there are two types that are recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).
The first is the practice of Prosthodontics which is defined by the ADA as: “the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.”
The second is a more widely known practice called Orthodontics, which deals with poor formations in the teeth and bite of a patient. Many school-aged children have gone to Orthodontists in their lifetime and received braces to correct their teeth, but few would know that the practice actually falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry.
Effect on Self Confidence
The effect on a person after they have undergone successful cosmetic dentistry can actually be quite astounding, especially for high school aged kids. For those who have braces in high school, it can be a very hard time. The stigma associated with braces has lived in the halls of lower education institutions for years. Because of this, it is not unlikely that many kids with braces will face some level of bullying from their peers (or at least this was the case when I went to school). However, a persons smile is something that many consider to be the first thing they notice and when braces come off, the smile is definitely rejuvenated. This can have a profound effect on an individuals self esteem, in a very good way.
Why is breast augmentation surgery becoming so popular?
A quick look at how breast augmentation effects those in society.
Breast augmentation has become a very popular surgery in recent years. This may be attributed to the rise of sexual acceptance in America over the past decade, but some say it is caused by an underlying insecurity caused by the media and today’s female celebrity icons. In this post, we will examine the correlation between breast augmentation surgery and societal trends.
Sex in culture has exploded over the past few years. In the 90’s, it was uncommon to find women in scantily clad clothes and showing skin. Now however, women are encouraged by the media and indeed the large majority of society to express themselves sexually by showing more skin and wearing what they want. As a result of this, girls now see beautiful women plastered all over TV, magazines, and even in their peer groups with stereotypical “beautiful qualities” such as big breasts, round faces, long hair, and barely any clothing. This in turn makes women who lack these socially perpetuated features to desire them, which has inevitably led to insecurity and a need to change. Pamela Anderson (pictured below) was a major sex icon in the late 90s through early 2000’s and was characterized primarily by her large breasts.
Effect on society
The rise in breast augmentation surgery can be directly attributed to this societal shift, as women strive to have large breasts and stereotypically perfect features. This in turn can be linked to the media and the portrayal of female icons and status figures who all share some of the same qualities (large breasts included). Furthermore, beauty magazines, female celebrities, and the female culture in general has become obsessed with looks and cosmetic appearance, leading to the younger generations of women to believe this is how they should look as well, and further perpetuating the cycle.