By Emily-Rose Njonde
Posted on October 22, 2021
Beauty standards for women are constantly shifting. Even from the early 2000s to now, the ideal body type has changed a lot. From super skinny to super curvy, women always have particular standards they must conform to in order to be accepted as ideal in society. However, due to the social media boom and the constant exposure to fake and edited bodies, there has never been a worse time to be a young girl.
Social media’s impact
Young people are easily influenced. A Canadian survey on peer pressure shows that “only 10% of the participants say they have never been influenced by peer pressure.” This combined with constant subliminal messaging from mass media telling girls what they should and should not look like can be detrimental. Girls are constantly being told what they should look like, and as women, there are very real repercussions and perceptions for those who do not fit the status quo. Women who do not fit the ideal miss out on opportunities, are made fun of, or are disregarded by many groups. Social media tells us that our worth is tied to our looks, and if we do not look a certain way, we do not deserve good things.
Recently, it seems as though every social media influencer has an hourglass body shape: big chest, thin waist, wide hips and large bum. There is no problem with this body type, however, most of the prominent figures with this type of body got them at doctors offices, genetically or at the gym. The problem arises because many of these “influencers” don’t divulge how they obtain their bodies. The glorification of surgery bodies when it comes to weight loss and sculpting can push young girls to try extreme body modification tactics in order to replicate the results seen online, from extreme dietary restrictions to dangerous exercises and surgeries.
The constant social media exposure we have to these surgically-altered bodies can cause a distortion of reality. BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) body types have been centered so much that they are now becoming the standard. However, most people cannot obtain those results naturally. Young girls may begin to hate their bodies and develop body dysmorphia. A fixation on what they consider to be “flaws” can lead them to fail to understand and embrace what their bodies actually look like. Constantly seeing what is said to be “perfection” can lead to women hating their natural bodies and seeking change by any means necessary.
The dangers of the BBL
As Kim Kardashian and her famous figure became more popular, so did the Brazilian Butt Lift. Despite the fact that Kardashian was not the first to have large hips and a small waist, it was the Kardashians who “popularized” it in mainstream media. Since then, the procedure has become extremely popular, with the amount of people receiving the BBL procedure more than doubling in the last five years. Despite the normalisation of this procedure, it can be an extremely dangerous procedure and life-threatening. Hematomas, skin necrosis, blood clots and nerve damage are but a few of the listed risks associated with this procedure. BBL surgeries have the highest death rate out of any aesthetic procedure in cosmetic surgery. In addition to that, most everyday women who risk this surgery do not have the money to go to Miami or Dubai to enlist trusted professionals. They go to the back rooms of salons, and do not get A grade fat transfers, but instead, random injections with toxic ingredients. Cardi B has even said that before she became famous, she got butt shots in someone’s basement and experienced leakage for the following weeks. This new standard of “beauty” is causing women to severely hurt themselves. Many are risking their lives simply in an attempt to look like celebrities when the reality is they probably never will.
The solution to this issue is honesty and transparency. People should disclose the procedures that they have had done to their bodies and let people know that they were not obtained naturally instead of giving off false impressions. That way, women do not carry the societal burden and negative feelings towards themselves for not being able to meet an unrealistic beauty standard. It is also important to highlight the dangers of the BBL surgery, especially so that young girls who may opt to get this surgery are doing so well informed of the many risks and costs associated with this surgery. However, it is equally as important for young girls to value themselves outside of mainstream approval. It is time that we as a society stop looking to the media, celebrities, and to “beauty” companies to determine our beauty and value. At the end of the day, celebrities are not responsible for our self worth. We must do the internal work of learning to appreciate ourselves as we are, beyond our physical appearances, in order to truly eradicate the negative impact of this BBL era.