Week 4-Human Body and Medicine- By Idy Tam


A plastic surgery reality show, “Lovely Cinderella,” is airing in China. Contestants in this show go through plastic surgery to compete in a plastic surgery beauty contest. The plastic surgery beauty contest and reality show is part of a surging Chinese interest in cosmetic surgery, a luxury that was beyond the means of most people a generation ago, but that has become increasingly popular as expendable incomes have grown. Tummy tucks and double-eyelids have made the list of must-haves.

There are two types of plastic surgery, reconstructive plastics surgery and cosmetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive plastic surgery is usually performed to improve function, but it may be done to approximate a normal appearance. Mostly in cases such as cleft lip, or cleft palate and traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures. The other type is cosmetic Surgery which is a subspecialty of surgery that uniquely restricts itself to the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques. It is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it beyond the average level toward some aesthetic ideal. Botulinum toxin is a medication and a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This scientific term may seem unfamiliar to most people but it is commonly known as Botox, used in cosmetic operations.

I believe that one who is addicted to plastic surgery will never reach the perfection she is searching for. Plastic surgery was first used to reconstruct one’s face so he can lead to a normal life. But now plastic surgery can be seen as another form of art. The “Lovely Cinderella” show in China for example equivalent to a show that competes for the painting, in my opinion. Contestants are like canvases and the plastic surgeons are the artists. The plastic surgeons use the contestants face to construct the “perfection” of beauty. They use implants and eye-lifting, just about any type of facial reconstruction you can think of, to help these contestants win this beauty contest. In a sense, Plastic surgery bridges these three categories together, art, the human body, and medicine. The advancement in medicine allows doctors to begin using plastic surgery to express their artistic talents. This helps women to regain their confidence in themselves and on the hand, allows people who have experienced traumatic experiences live a normal life.

In lecture, Professor Vesna has talked about Orlan, who believes that plastic surgery isn’t tummy tucks, liposuction, and breast reduction or lip augmentation. It’s an expression of the sublime and grotesque, eccentricities carved into human flesh and sculpted in living bone. Orlan’s results attempt to resemble nonwestern images of beauty, like the Ndebele giraffe women, who lengthen their necks by wearing dozens of tight neck rings. She even keeps the blood and flesh discarded after her surgeries. For one piece, she encased a piece of her flesh in glass and attached it to a tableau. She has even included reshaping her face to resemble Zimbabwe’s Ndebele giraffe women and performing during her surgeries, she achieves that end.

By-Idy Tam

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