13 December 2006

Dr. 90210

As I have reignited my relationship with good old American television, last night I was watching a reality show on E! called Dr. 90210. You can get acquainted with the show here:


Seeing as plastic surgery is one of the most barbaric acts women (for the most part) can willingly inflict upon their own bodies, why not document surgeries in minute detail?! Needless to say, I've been hooked and I can't really explain why. Last night, I had the misfortune of watching the story of a single mum of two planning to undergo a labiaplasty, vaginal tightening, breast augmentation and lift and brazillian (yes, brazillian) butt lift...and this was done all at once. The doctor basically told this woman that childbirth basically 'ruins' the birth canal which is why her vagina is so loose. He told her he could completely erase any trace of having had two children.

I am pretty uncomfortable with the whole discourse of 'choice' and plastic surgery. I tend to think if you are really unhappy with how you look, then you have a right to do with your own body as you please. However, it is pretty unbearable to watch the absolute butchery women put themselves through in order to have a tighter vagina or 'perkier' breasts. The naked bodies of these women are poked and prodded, and more generally exposed to the flock of surgeons tearing into their skin, pulling out tissue and sewing them back up. It's really a horror to watch but perhaps so compelling because it makes you (or well, me) think about why people do this to themselves and also for the voyeuristic pleasure in seeing a complete bodily transformation (without exercise or good nutrition). The show tends to avoid showing the extreme pain involved in recovery. We just get flashes a few weeks post-op when the women are absolutely gushing about the results and the women parade around in bras or bikinis for all to gaze upon their tight and toned bods.

The whole concept of plastic surgery is obviously not a new topic of discussion for feminists but I have to say, I was really surprised from the marathon of episodes I watched (due to my still screwed up sleeping) a good proportion of episodes were devoted to 'fixing' the postnatal bodies of new mothers. Whether it's a tummy tuck or a vaginal 'reconstruction', mums in California are turning out in droves to have the erasure of their maternal bodies documented for the show. Maybe this is just another 'only in America' thing but it's all a bit too sci-fi for me.

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.