1. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Many Beauty Queens - One Face

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by KaTrian, Aug 19, 2013.

    I came across this article a few days ago in a Finnish tabloid, and while it seems really quite ridiculous, I'd like to hear your thoughts about the issue. Here's an English version of the article:

    http://jezebel.com/plastic-surgery-means-many-beauty-queens-but-only-one-480929886

    Apparently there are certain beauty standards in South Korea that, to me anyway, seem really, really strange and even dangerous, but on the other hand, not all too strange when I think back to the articles we read a couple of years ago for a Uni course about beauty as a cultural phenomenon in the West and the East (I desperately needed credits, but that course was actually really interesting). It wasn't unheard-of for a woman to go under the knife in hopes of a better job, usually to "fix" their eyelids and breast-size.

    What do you think? Is it still best to be "organic" and proud of what were given at birth or have we arrived to the point where, because plastic surgery is available and many people can afford it, going under the knife should be regarded as something akin to getting a new hairdo, applying make-up, or buying flattering, fashionable clothes? Is it just vanity or has it become a way of survival e.g. in working life? And what do you think of these so-called "ethnic makeovers" like the eyelid surgery? Are we, one by one, turning into serial produced Mattel dolls?

    I personally love the diversity of faces and bodies out there (I even prefer to write characters that don't accommodate to the current Western beauty ideals, apart from a few exceptions), and many people who've had e.g. rhinoplasty or cheek/lip/boob implants done look somewhat disproportionate to me, as if in several cases there had been some natural symmetry, say, to the face, and it gets thrown off when the person shaves bumps or size off their nose, chin, etc. I wish we were valued by our skills instead of looks, but unfortunately that's not the case anymore... if it ever has been.

    On the other hand, I think it's good that even those who weren't naturally blessed with a narrow, pointy nose (like moi, not that I'd change it 'cause I think it's pretty cute as it is), high cheekbones, full lips, or ample breasts, can still get the looks they desire... in the best case, anyway, and can thus improve their quality of life. That's freedom for ya, and all that.

    How they're going to pick the prettiest of those Korean beauty pageants -- I have no idea. Maybe there's a raffle.
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like my ex, a plastic surgeon, once told me (of this kind of cosmetic work), "It's not the beautiful faces, it's cutting these beautiful faces and making them even more beautiful." Most good ones really live for reconstructive surgery (these people are absolute wizards at what they can do, it's mind boggling), cosmetic surgery is just means to an end.

    As for overwhelming demand, Vanity, alongside with the Universe and Stupidity, is infinite. And misogyny (which tells women they are as worthy as the shape of their nose) is quite clearly much more rife in certain parts of the world than others...
     
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  3. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I can name some movie stars in Bollywood whose faces look disfigured because they did their lips. They seem to have something in their mouth perpetually and/or swollen lips. They definitely don't have the Angelina Jolly's lips. I understand for movie stars plastic surgery is kind of an investment but don't they understand those full lips don't go with all type of faces.
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What interests me is how much this type of enhancement leaks to our world, that of us "the little people". I know it's already been acknowledged in my future profession that the better you look, the better your chances are of getting the job. Especially weight matters. It's ridiculous, really, because am I not supposed to be some kind of a role model to the teens I teach? And then the surefirest way to land a job is to have both 1) qualifications 2) looks. But to go under the knife to increase my chances to get a job? It's a terrifying thought, makes one wonder am I not good enough the way I am? Yet there already are examples of female teachers in particular, who've resorted to enhancing their looks with more than just make-up and flattering outfits.

    This leads me to think about publishing. If T.Trian and I were better-looking, would our chances of getting our first novel published be better? Do writers get their works published not only based on the quality of "trend level" of their writing but based on the looks as well because easy on the eye sells better? I'm yet to be entirely convinced of this, though (GRR Martin, EL James, Stephen King, JK Rowling... they all look like what we'd consider regular joes and janes).
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think so KaTrian. These days, my husband and I run a clinic where we do (well, he does, I write and work from home mostly) all these non-surgical enhancements, lip injections etc. It's interesting to see, but almost all of our clients are coming because they want to look more youthful, not because they want to be prettier. Occasionally, we get someone with something like body dysmorphia, people who look perfectly fine but have morbid hate of one of their features, and want to change it. We don't treat them because it's well recognised that such a psychological issue only causes procedure addiction and doesn't really improve the self esteem or quality of life. However, a lot of colleagues will do anythinga client wants, and particularly changing the appearance. This is a slippery slope (much more common in surgery) and usually low quality doctors do the most radical things. They have bad technique, poor eye, and cheap products, and some of them even inject silicone and collagen, both of which are extremely allergenic and often cause disfigurement (trout pot all the way to Pete Burns). When you think about good cosmetic work, think Sandra Bullock or Sharon Stone. Bad, think Angie's nose, Tara Reid's body and Katie Price everything. Big difference.

    Ultimately, really awesome looks are only a hinderance to most business women. It's hard enough getting men to take you seriously as a woman, if you look gorgeous you'll just be objectified and even resented for being a distraction. Skills, knowledge and confidence are really the only assets that will help any woman in the business world and in personal life. Everything else is a part of this media culture which is largely inconsequential apart from in virtual reality. Many young women don't know that yet, but they will realise when they get a bit older. The trick is not to ruin yourself in the mean time, and work on being happy and healthy :)
     
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  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh yes, knowledge & confidence, and that's also why I wrote "qualifications" before "looks." It is still marginal for young women to go under the knife to enhance their looks, but e.g. in Finland this is far less marginal than one may think due to cheaper surgeries available in Estonia.

    What baffles me is how different this can be e.g. in some parts of Asia in comparison to what we have in Europe. And what baffles me is the bullying present in schools, not just towards the kids, but towards teachers, and how much of it comes down to looks -- and how none of it can be solved by surgery or fundamental changes to one's appearance (e.g. unhealthy weight loss), afaic.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know, I'm really surprised it's like that in Finland. I always thought Scandinavian countries are more relaxed, but then there was this whole 'aryan' heritage after WWII, perhaps obsession with physical perfection runs more deeply?

    In Australia and the UK, outside the fashion and media circles, people really aren't militant about weight or appearance. The focus tends to be on health and inner beauty, the outside looks are just what they are. However, media is very influential, so girls can get freaked out (especially if they come from dysfunctional families) and start dieting and tanning and all the rest, but that trend isn't so common. It's in the Balkans where you get abused for looking less than perfect, I grew up there, eating disordered as hell. It took me 10 years in Aus to start eating normally again. Even now, I go to visit and I feel so sorry for my old friends, they are so highly strung, self-critical and so thin (although a few are ex ballerinas, but not all) and they are forever berating themselves and the way they look. Most men hate that anyway, they much prefer a normal looking happy woman, but then you have these misogynists (even young boys, who learned it at home) who look at women and comment on how many kilos of sausages you could 'get off that cow/pig" etc. It's very aggressive and disgusting, and I suppose, when a young girl realises just how easily she can be verbally abused, she tries to fit into a mould to protect herself.

    I'll tell you this much, when I was so good looking that I couldn't walk down the street, or take a cab, without being asked out (and worse) I was the hungriest, least energetic, most irritable and least horny I have ever been. So what's the point of living like that? I'm a good photographer, if I wanna look at myself and think 'supermodel' I'll just take a self-portrait from the right angle, a bit of the right make up and photoshop and voila! And I can eat and live like a normal person, not someone's fantasy mannequin, right? ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I think people are too obsessed with looks sometimes. I don't oppose plastic surgery, but I don't see any need for it, either. Like KaTrian, I like diversity in faces and bodies. Besides, beauty is subjective. For example, I know a few girls who don't like Adrien Brody's looks and a few girls who do. Also, there are other factors that determine attractiveness for me (confidence being the most important).
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If being beautiful didn't come with such ridiculous advantages people wouldn't start hacking away at themselves. Look at stars - everyone listens to them, their opinion no matter how asinine is valued ( worthy of being printed, repeated, talked about ), they have money, fame, and priveledges us mere mortals wouldn't know about.
    Maybe it all starts when the little blonde girl gets twice as many valentines as you, or maybe daddy is grinning at the stacked waitress and leaves her a bigger tip than the usual waiter. So the seed is planted. Maybe it's got to do with Miss America - talk about a crazy competition. Talented, successful, beautiful woman get a crown, a title, honors, and money - yeah, like they'll never see these things in their personal life yet lets ignore the average girls who will never go very far or be honored for looking like themselves.
    Human physical beauty is perhaps the most over valued thing in the world, yet no one can collectively decide on what is beautiful. But they'll sure as hell will tell you what isn't.
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not if you got 20/10
     
  11. Kramitdfrog
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    Kramitdfrog Member

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    I recently read a book on this topic and I found it fascinating. Yet I was disgusted about how some feminists handle themselves and their fact finding. I do like how many of you ladies have removed the misogynistically mundanity points (im making words up) but it proves my point. Some feminists go to extremes in their fight against this type of behaviour so much so that it appears they have no respect for themselves or how they present the issue. I am tending to see this trend pop up lately on many feminist forums and its humorous to me as im starting to coin it "reverse masogyny" ... as in these feminists come across that most women are stupid and have no choice in the matter that we are all brain dead, and silly facts are gonna persuade us justly. Im male btw but that doesnt spark my interest on the topic...
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Here's the thing: we have so much freedom, we are so very accepted in every respect (at least on the surface) that when cutting yourself to match the images on TV, movies, and fashion mags becomes affordable and relatively easy to attain, why not do it then? We put women who are rooting for plastic surgeries on a pedestal; they're brave, independent women who aren't afraid to make possibly controversial decisions. At the same time we pity them. We pity the starlets whose surgeries in Estonia are paid by a trashy magazine (boob, lip and chinjob, liposuctions).
    This conflict feels weird to me, but one thing I know that's been more or less accepted nationwide at this point is that we have a damn low national self-esteem :p Perhaps it's also a matter of conflict between being that beautiful, flawless woman that's appreciated in Russia, the Baltics, and Eastern Europe while trying to enjoy the be-yourself-mentality of the rest of Scandinavia or the Brits. It's actually quite horrible how blatantly Finnish women are criticized in our media: we are short, fat, and dress awfully -- oh but look at the gorgeus women in the East, why can't you look more like them? Just recently one Finnish women's mag released pictures of the average women's naked bodies after giving birth, and the feedback to the pics was over-whelmingly negative -- oh the horrors of scars and sag! In response to that, today the same mag released pictures of average naked men. We'll see what kind of feedback that receives :p

    I seem to get better service and bigger smiles when I have my hair down and wear heels and "feminine" clothes than in combat boots, hoodie, and a pony :(

    It's funny how pronounced that message really is. What an interesting mechanism, we love to put others down to elevate ourselves higher up.

    Was it The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf?
     
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  13. Kramitdfrog
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    Kramitdfrog Member

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    Nah
    The body Snatchers : how media shapes women... Cyndi Tebbel....
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @KaTrian: That's absolutely fascinating, I had no idea it was like that. I suppose I tend to group all Scandinavians together, and I should know better than that. It does sound like an inner conflict within the society. So sad, though, because I think Finnish girls are so pretty. I love ice skating and Finnish girls always look the prettiest in the competitions. They are the only ones who can pull off 'periwinkle' (my favourite colour) :D And those who aren't so pretty, so what, I bet their most vocal critics are very far from looking a picture themselves.
     

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