Week 4- Medical Beauty-allie gates

As I shared in class, I am a licensed cosmetologist.  Working a field inherently infused with superfluity and a certain degree of frivolity is a bizarre experience in that some people obviously take their narcissism too far.  Fortunately, the worst I get are the Real Housewives of Orange County type who freak out until their highlights are the perfect shade of ‘cool and buttery.’ Knowing that the self-obsession does not stop with these Prada-ed mannequin moms, I’ve always been fascinated by those–both doctors and recipients– whom are involved in the more extreme forms of body modification. On one end, we have the evermore manicial recapitulations of the socal barbies, people like Anna Nicole Smith… Dolly Parton…Michael Jackson.

yiiikes!

yiiikes!

One would hope that this depressing charge toward unattainable perfection would end here, or in the relative, skewed vicinity of whatever here is thats embodied by her^.  (Honestly? How did a practice that started as reconstructive and necessary to functioning health become so outrageousyly misused? Let me climb up on my big feminist soapbox and point out the obvious– this is careening out of control. It is unbelievably sad that we have gotten to the point as a society that women are willing to take such drastic measures to attain an aesthetic ideal.) But no, the body mods get more and bizarre in our blitz on normalcy.

Enter: vaginoplasty. the surgical practice of reconstructing the female vagina in order to make it look…more like what a vagina is supposed to look like.

Designer Laser Vaginoplasty is the leading medical group that provides aesthetic surgeries. Per their website, “Laser Reduction Labioplasty can sculpture the elongated or unequal labial minora according to ones aesthetic desire. Most women do not want the small inner lips to project beyond the large outer lips. Labioplasty techniques can also reconstruct conditions that are due to the aging process, childbirth trauma, or injury.” If you call their special hotlines, they have pamphlets that they will send you, exemplifying the perfect vagina you can have. You just have to take out a second mortgage.

So, if this strange side of society is on one end of the scientifically-enabled-body-modification-spectrum, what is on the other?

Enter:

yeah. those are gauges in his cheeks

yeah. those are gauges in his cheeks

and…elf-ears-722622-722655

oh and this guy.images

branding; a quaint little form of self expression

branding; a quaint little form of self expression

and this girl too.

yes, its photoshopped to have a zipper. but it really was split!

yes, its photoshopped to have a zipper. but it really was split!

You know, THAT end.

The thing that shocks me the most is the way that each end of the spectrum is enabled by the same technology. Plastic surgery, it seems to me, is in pursuit of an ideal. Extreme body mods are, it seems, a complete and tangible rejection of that ideal. How interesting that we feel it necessary to jump out of the bodies we have in order to reach one end or the other.

Plastic Plastic Plastic.

allie gates

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