Friday, February 13, 2009

Black Women And Plastic Surgery

R&B singer Usher's wife almost joined Kanye West's mama in heaven over unnecessary and potentially reckless plastic surgery. You don't have liposuction to get rid of fat gained during a recent pregnancy. Usher's wife just gave birth two months ago. What happened to getting on a damn diet and going to the gym? This woman is just in her late thirties and has jacked up her heart for the rest of her life because she wanted to cut corners on losing weight.

I have always been of the mind that if you wanted to fix up your front porch that wasyour business, but I also never imagined how extreme things would get when beauty supplies, plastic surgery, and other "so-called" personal beauty and grooming improvements like teeth whitening, color contacts, skin bleaching, etc..... became more affordable and available to black women and in some cases black men.Considering how jacked up and warped the black community already is about hair, skin color, noses, and eye color, the rising number of black women struggling with their weight and eating disorders, is plastic surgery going to be another issue in the black community? Plastic surgery is currently out of the reach for many black women, but in the future more and more sistas will have the opportunity. Further, with black folks so enamored with black celebrities, the more they embrace plastic surgery, the sooner the black community will too.

This is why black folks need to start having some serious discussions with each other about personal acceptance. We better start learning to like and accept ourselves as we are or we are going to have a few more Michael Jacksons and Lil' Kims on our hands.


Kit (Keep It Trill) February 13, 2009 at 8:02 AM  

I guess it comes down to the desire of looking desirable and the perks associated with it.

The internal conversation must go something like this:

"Lemme see now... I have several thousand extra bucks and I can fix up my front porch, or my face/body and attract/keep the hot man/woman in my life and get more social invitations."

As a teen, I saw a special about the problems prematurely bald guys have. A tv crew sent in a few of these fellas into a busy club and filmed them. The men got little to no attention. Then the crew put excellent hair pieces on them and sent them right back in. The friendly way women responded to them was an eye opener.

That got me thinking more about how I'd seen others treated.

I think some people benefit from a little help, via technology. They feel more confident and since humans are decidedly biased about looks, are view more favorably by those who don't know them. And there's the catch: beauty is only an introduction - after that you're on your own to win and keep friends and lovers.

At the same time, there are some folks who get 'addicted' to plastic surgery, almost like a tattoo fetish and very, very unhealthy.

And yeah, I agree that a woman who had a baby two or a few months earlier will find it much healthier for her mind and body to work off any extra weight.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T February 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

it started with their hair - self worth is like being white to sisters - sad

Kimberly B February 13, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

Nice post. You took the words out of my mouth. Lil Kim and Michael Jackson are extreme examples of plastic surgery when some psychiatric counseling might have served a better purpose.

Although I don't begrudge people who want to get plastic surgery, I get annoyed with those people who have it and try to pretend that they didn't. It's as if the old nose and the darker skin never existed. Celebrities expect for us to believe that they have natural beauty when in fact they have paid to enhance their looks.

If plastic surgery became more accessible and affordable for blacks, there would be women lining up to get lighter skin, thinner noses and bigger breasts.

wisdomteachesme February 13, 2009 at 1:25 PM  

good writing prof.

ok, who is that is the top pic? is that his wife?
and why is she showing all her body like that?

not understanding this kind of thinking--and usually i steer away from stuff like this.

i think plastic surgery should be done in cases of medical NEED. anything else is vanity and self-hate to me.

of course people can spend their money anyway they like-it seems to be useless to try and make better what is not wrong or broken.
just not accepted as beautiful...very unfortunate.
and sad.

if plastic surgery is ok, then it would last--no need to have it done every other year to keep it looking 'good'.
all that money for the body part(s) to return to it's original state and even become worse - all the energy, time and money, ONLY to be put in the ground!

Edrei February 13, 2009 at 4:04 PM  

While I understand the concern, I can't say that I'm opposed to a little "freshening up." I have lived on Miami Beach all of my life - so my view maybe a little skewed. Women here - of all races - have a little something done, but it's rare that you see something like the monstrosity (sp?) that his Little Kim walking around. (BTW, you can get 2 for 1 breast implants here and cheap financing. A lot of plastic surgeons so the prices are kept low. Affordability is mot an issue.) And that is where I guess I draw the line - when you turn yourself into someone else - you have "personal acceptance" issues, but a little freshening up - just trying to preserve the swexy.

The examples you provided are interesting and to the extreme. Usher's wife is much older and has five kids. I think she's realizing that being a "cougar" means A LOT of maintenance. I think her little trip to Brazil has more to with holding to the husband than personal acceptance. Kim clearly has the personal acceptance issues. When she started out with the Blue contacts, I knew we were in for a sideshow.

Naima February 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM  

I am not against plastic surgery, looks mean a lot to a lot of folk. So folks really need to do research on these doctors and use common sense. Why would you go you go for elective surgery in a foreign country, 2 months after you give birth and you are pushing 40 (Ushers wife). And that guy who did Kanye West mom surgery was a doctor but not a cerfied plastic surgeon, his office was in a low rent looking strip mall. And the guy who did Lil Kims surgery got his office raided and license taken away.
Plastic surgery can be done well if those take the time to find the great doctors and not try to take the cheap way out. We don't even notice the good plastic surgery the stars have. Personally I think Oprah got a little nose pinch herself

Anonymous,  February 13, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

Wisdom, that's ALL L'il Kim. Poor girl, I think Biggie preferring light
skinned women really damaged her self esteem. Anyway, I can understand
getting your front porch fixed but I don't think enough doctors are being honest with their patients. I guess the money's so fantastic, their greed
blinds them. Look at that woman that just got her breasts to a KKK cup,the doctors in Texas refused to do it because she was risking her breasts exploding. She went off to Mexico and they did it. At one point, you HAVE to sit these people down and say you need therapy. No amount of plastic surgery is going to help what's bothering you inside.It's very sad.

TD1016 February 13, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

@ shazzasharona

I think doctor's are being honest, I think that people want to be the ideal so bad though, that they don't care about the risk or they don't think it anything will happen to them. Fact is, anytime you go under the knife for any type of surgery, even dental, you take the risk of something serious happening and/or death.

I completely agree that a talk about self acceptance needs to be had with the black community. It's crazy out there, you have women getting butt implants and liposuction to look like Beyonce or other stars, but then you have the stars trying to lose weight and doing dangerous detox diets to look like someone else to get a movie role or look better on stage.

Ain't no one in this world perfect. We all have imperfections. Cliche as it sounds, beauty is NOT everything, b/c I am sure we have all met that one person who juist blew us away when it came to looks, but when we got to know their attitude and personality, they became ugly as hell. To the point where no one wants to be around them. I used to be ashamed of it, but I'm kind of proud to say that I have a gap (hereditary, something about a bone not fusing together). I'm sure you can imagine that grade school wasn't pleasant all the time because of it and at times I used to cry. I asked for the braces etc, but they started talking about breaking jaws and having mouths wired shut for a month. That's when I said bump it, I'll just deal. But I took the advice of "work what you have" and did it. Gao or no gap, while I might not be a dime or above, but I know I'm beautiful no matter what. And that my imperfections is what can add to beauty and make you unique. Mary said it best, "Take me as I am. Or have nothing at all." and Blaque too, "I'm good, with or without you". We need to embrace it instead of trying to change it.

Divalocity February 13, 2009 at 9:51 PM  

Brazilian doctors are well known for their plastic surgery techniques having developed the vast majority of them.

I hate that Usher's wife chose to go there for discretion purposes only and now everyone in the world knows what she has done.

It's the same way when Star Jones went to surgeons in California instead of NY, she did not want people to know and she almost died herself.

The majority of Americans don’t want to work for anything tangible because they know they can take short cuts.

Self-mutilation is a sign of something seriously wrong especially when one thinks that having certain body parts to attract attention will somehow build up a low self-esteem.

Anonymous,  February 13, 2009 at 11:44 PM  

I remember watching Dr. 90210. There was this one episode where a young woman, maybe 22-23, that was getting some liposuction and a breast enhancement. The doctor who was performing the surgery looked over at her friend that was accompanying her and asked her if she wanted to be examined. The girl had a "perfect" body, but the doctor managed to find a pinch of skin on her midsection...the two women had surgery together the following week.

I was sitting there amazed that this doctor had the audacity to suggest that she should get a pinch of skin sucked away...FOR WHAT?!?

For years, I have said that I wanted to get a breast enhancement, but I've been told they are fine! I agree, but during my teenage years, big breast were it and you didn't get any play without them.

Needless to say, black women will start becoming advocates of plastic surgery. I think I saw an article in Ebony or Essence a few years back.

LorMarie February 14, 2009 at 12:37 AM  

I'm not against plastic surgery but I am against blacks lightening their skin or trying to "lose their black features." Just goes to show that some black women really do feel ugly. However, I think that only a precious few would actually lighten their skin. Getting rid of skin discoloration is one thing...wanting to look white is another.

Vérité Parlant February 14, 2009 at 12:46 PM  

What can I say but Amen and Amen? The self-acceptance issue ... always room for more books on it for black people. I didn't know Usher's wife was getting lipo. and that was the reason for her trip to South America. I thought it was for something less vain. Guess, I'm not paying attention to how our sisters in the spotlight are doing with their self esteem. I'm going to be more observant because whatever issues they're having, we know those not in the spotlight are having them even more. Proof money doesn't cure inner pain.

Thanks for this post.

GoldenAh February 14, 2009 at 8:47 PM  

Facetiously, I say: "What's the big deal? Relaxed hair, pressed hair, lace-front wigs, and weaves is just a style! It's just hair! Why not take it to the next step, and improve, er, lighten the skin? People like to change and switch it up. Not everyone's born beautiful, and they have the right to be mutilated in the manner of their own choosing!"

I'd be depressed if I woke up the same color Lil Kim is now (no offense to the pale amongst us). I can't say that I'd never do any "enhancements." The only thing is that plastic surgery is major surgery, hence the risk of dying.

Since I'm frightened of hospitals (my own personal phobia), the likelihood of plastic surgery is slim-to-none.

ActsofFaithBlog February 15, 2009 at 5:55 AM  

Well Black women wouldn't feel so compelled to do any of these things if they hadn't been taught to despise their skin color and hair texture. Also if you live in a predominantly black area you're going to be surrounded by a lot of pathologies. People don't do research into their family tree and gene pool due to shame and ager. Darker skinned black women think they're worthless. Black men chase after white women and exalt them. So this is no surprise. All of that confusion and devaluation women feel has to go somewhere. The plastic surgery is just a symptom of a larger problem that has yet to be addressed.

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