Beauty in the 21st Century

Hey y’all!

I was on TikTok recently and someone posted a video of them on a plane full of women returning from having BBL surgery. If you don’t know what a BBL is, basically its when you get fat removed from one part of your body and put it in your butt. It has become quite popular within the last 10-15 years. I was floored when I saw that TikTok.

What has spiked this? The media. Not just social: tv, magazines, music, all of it. There are rap songs out there that talks about how sexy and desirable women with big butts and coke bottle shapes. I mention them a lot but the Kardashians has really influenced society’s beauty standards. They have created an unattainable beauty standard that even themselves cannot uphold. How do I know? Because they still photoshop their photos before letting the public see it.

The thing that kills me is that these people have all of this work done on themselves and STILL edit their photos or use photoshop and will not put up a photo without photoshop. What message does that send? It’s upsetting because there’s so many people who are like obsessed and I know I can be obsessed with my looks (I wrote some blogs on it) but like there are people who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery!

Back in the day, getting plastic surgery was taboo but now? It’s almost the norm. In fact in 2018, Americans spent $16.5 billion on cosmetic surgery. Not million…billion. That rate was astounding and now in 2022, I’m sure that number has increased! 92% of those who spent that much on cosmetic surgery were women. According to the American Society or Plastic Surgeons website, the top five procedures done is 2020 were: nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, facelift, liposuction, and breast augmentation. According to Forbe’s website, globally in 2019, 11.3 million surgical procedures were done worldwide while 13.6 million procedures were non-surgical. Imagine the numbers now!

Whats increasing this? According to one website: “viewing cosmetic surgery–related material on social media, spending longer hours on social media platforms, and having negative self-views when viewing social media are associated with an increased likelihood of considering undergoing cosmetic procedures in the future.”

The upsetting thing is that women are being rewarded for all of this work done on their faces and bodies. Looks matter sadly and there is a thing out there called “pretty privilege”, which means you’re given advantages because of your good looks. You get compliments and positive attention if you look good. You’re rewarded for your beauty. We are so driven by how we look that it’s no wonder people go nuts with the plastic surgery!

I remember I went on the beach when I was visiting my hometown in Miami and if anyone knows anything about Miami, it’s a lot of plastic surgery going on down there. So I knew the women on the beach were getting procedures done to attain the look they had but it still made me feel awful. I can’t afford plastic surgery. I felt undesirable and hideous. I wanted to feel beautiful like those women on the beach and yeah it triggered me.

I’m not saying don’t get work done. If you want to go right ahead (I want some work done myself) but don’t lie on it. Don’t try to look like a person. You want to enhance your looks, not look like a celebrity or influencer. The risk is that something might go wrong during surgery and you may have to get what you’ve done corrected, which is more money.

How do we fix it? Well, I’m not sure. Things seem to be getting worst to be honest (sorry for the poor outlook I have). Have we come a long way with accepting different body types? Yeah but there’s still a push to look a certain way. I guess what would help is if we instill in us and in the next generation a love of ourselves. We need stop being super obsessed with looks and focus more on the internal. Also we shouldn’t encourage teenagers to get cosmetic procedures done (yeah thats shade to Kris Jenner).

There is an amazing article put out a few years ago by the New Yorker on how Instagram has played a role in these unattainable beauty standards. You should check it out when you get the chance.

Have you thought about getting work done yourself? What do you think of the rise of cosmetic surgery?

Photo by cottonbro on


Nessa D.

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