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Murderous Beauty. How Women Are Being Forced To Risk Their Lives In Pursuit Of The Perfect Appearance - Quality Of Life, Society
Murderous Beauty. How Women Are Being Forced To Risk Their Lives In Pursuit Of The Perfect Appearance - Quality Of Life, Society

Video: Murderous Beauty. How Women Are Being Forced To Risk Their Lives In Pursuit Of The Perfect Appearance - Quality Of Life, Society

Video: Murderous Beauty. How Women Are Being Forced To Risk Their Lives In Pursuit Of The Perfect Appearance - Quality Of Life, Society
Video: Learn English audiobook: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari 2023, March

On March 16, 2019, the artist Yulia Nachalova passed away. According to the official version, the cause of death was severe pulmonary and cerebral edema that developed after a soft tissue abscess on the girl's leg. However, the starting point in a series of health problems that ended in tragedy was plastic surgery to correct the shape of the breast

Vain sacrifices

In an interview last year, the singer said that due to the rejection of silicone implants, she had sepsis. The infection led to kidney failure and the development of gout. Eight years of struggle with the disease and several complex operations to remove implants have completely depleted the body, which has not been able to recover after another surgical intervention.

We all know the saying "Beauty requires sacrifice." The case of Yulia Nachalova clearly shows that these are often quite real human sacrifices. How is it that healthy young women put themselves at mortal risk to "improve" their appearance?

At the request of "proverbs about beauty" "Google" gives approximately the following set: "Do not be born beautiful, but be born happy", "Outside beauty, inside emptiness", "Beauty without reason is empty" and fifty more expressions in the same spirit. Yes, and each of us heard instructions in childhood: they say, do not chase after a beautiful appearance, it is better to lean on study, learn to cook, or, at worst, be nice and kind - the inner world is more important, they are greeted by their clothes, but they are escorted by the mind …

And yet, despite these, of course, useful advice, we observe a completely different picture: a huge number of girls are doing their best to meet the ideal of beauty. The global beauty industry market in 2017 was estimated at $ 532 billion (1), with women being the main consumers. The pursuit of attractiveness turns out not only to waste of money and time, but also to the need to endure very painful procedures: there are 9.5 times more clients in aesthetic surgery clinics than clients (2).

The desire to look "perfect" is literally killing. So, teenage girls in pursuit of the "correct" weight reach anorexia, in seven cases out of a hundred ending in death (3). The percentage of deaths in plastic surgery is small: the risk of death of patients, depending on the type of intervention, ranges from 1: 600 to 1:10 000 (4). However, comparing these data with the total number of aesthetic surgeries - more than 10 million per year (5) - it is easy to calculate that the number of victims is in the thousands every year!

Separately, it is worth noting that the real statistics of victims of plastic surgery in absolute numbers are not kept anywhere - only probabilistic. There is no data on those complications that in themselves do not lead to death, but significantly worsen the quality of life: chronic diseases, disorders of innervation, keloid scars, etc. And finally, cases like the tragedy of Yulia Nachalova will never be included in the mortality statistics of aesthetic surgery - after all, the operation itself was only the beginning of a painful struggle for health that lasted for eight long years.

Beauties and heroes

Where does this desire to preserve, support, increase external beauty come from at any cost? Why is the statement “you’re terrible” is still considered the most terrible insult for a woman (note that men are often even proud that they look “a little prettier than a monkey”) (6)? Of course, for centuries this has been explained by the "feminine nature", a special system of values inherent in girls literally from birth. Why, modern authors on a blue eye broadcast these views as a matter of course (7)!

Of course, this is a lie. Beauty is an exclusively social construct, and, like all other social values, it is assimilated by a person in the process of interiorization (8), that is, internal acceptance of external rules, skills and norms. This means that women do not have any "natural" inclination to torture themselves for the sake of possessing a "presentable" appearance - but there is a monstrous, colossal pressure from society, starting from infancy.

Scientists from the University of Sussex have clearly shown in their study (9) that people have completely different attitudes towards children, who are considered boys and girls. Half-year-old toddlers, dressed in conventionally "boyish" blue and blue overalls, were encouraged to physical activity, thrown up, offered to play with a ball, etc. Children of the same age in white and pink suits were rocked in their arms, straightened their clothes and affectionately called " princesses ". The beauty of the experiment is that half of the children in pink were male, and half of the children in blue were female.

In another experiment (10), adults were shown a video clip and asked to describe the behavior of a nine-month-old child captured on it. The researchers told the viewer the sex of the child before the start of the viewing. The participants who got the video about the boy said that he was persistent and active - he screamed how angrily when a "devil" suddenly jumped out of the box at him. Those who watched the girl described her as tender and weak - when she suddenly saw a toy jump out on her, she even burst into tears from fright. All would be fine, but both groups of respondents watched the same video. Anyone else is surprised that the stereotype “boys are strong, girls are beautiful” is eating into our subcortex?

A fairy tale is a lie, but there is a hint in it

In addition to the immediate family environment, the cultural background in which we find ourselves since childhood has a huge impact on our attitudes and values. In most children's fairy tales, good characters are portrayed as beautiful, while evil ones are portrayed as ugly: a handsome prince and a terrible dragon, a handsome fellow and a stunted Kashchei the Immortal … In the last two hundred years, however, these scenarios have become more complicated, allowing for rather sharp inconsistencies between the external and internal. So, the Ugly Duckling is "ugly" only because he was accidentally born in a strange environment for him, and the hunchback Quasimodo, at the cost of his own life, protects his beloved woman, showing amazing dedication and stamina. The reader receives important lessons: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and even an appearance that is completely far from canonical beauty can hide wonderful spiritual qualities … of course, if you are a man.

For women, nothing has changed! The same Andersen, who praised the hidden beauty of the Ugly Duckling, without being embarrassed in the least, opposes the youthful beauty of the Little Mermaid's face to the vile wrinkled skin of the evil Witch. The kind-hearted Quasimodo could discern a golden soul in a plump tradeswoman from the next square - but no, he falls in love, of course, with the most beautiful dancer in Paris.

The Frog Princess, kissed by Ivan, not only does a great job at handicrafts, but also turns into a beauty at a wedding feast - however, her husband cannot bear the very thought that she can take on her old appearance - and he burns the frog skin, spitting on his wife's direct request not to do this … Even quite modern clever Hermione had to "work" on her appearance (by the way, it was a very painful, albeit accidental, procedure to reduce teeth), so that she finally ceased to be perceived exclusively as a walking encyclopedia!

We see the same story in animation, where positive heroines have a doll-like appearance and, as a rule, incredibly “ideal” body proportions. In cinematography, script-ugly heroines are played by actresses with absolutely conventional appearance, who wear glasses and baggy sweaters “for disguise”. The finale of such stories is natural: by a wave of a magic wand, the "zamuhryshka" turns into a beauty and only then finds his long-awaited happiness.

It turns out the good old double-bind (11): as a girl, you can have an arbitrarily sharp mind, kind soul and brilliant talent, but if your appearance goes beyond some "aesthetic framework", all this will not be interesting to anyone … Moreover, if a woman emphatically cares about beauty, she will be ridiculed as a stupid "dummy", attributing all her achievements to exceptionally successful speculation with beauty.

Everything can be changed

The stereotype of beauty is so rigidly hammered into our consciousness that many girls absolutely sincerely consider beauty practices as their own desire - yes, in general, this is so. Social norms are learned at a very young age, forming an internal human value system. That is why the refusal to maintain "beauty" often looks abnormal in the first place in the eyes of women themselves. That is why the ideas of feminism and body positivity are often perceived with hostility. Criticism of ideas that are “basic” for entire generations is perceived as an encroachment on personal worldview.

How, however, can you break out of the tight bounds of "beauty"? Each of us can start doing this today:

  • Reconsider your own beliefs. Nobody takes away from women the right to look the way they want. But perhaps you should take a closer look at yourself: do girls really want to look like the latest beauty trends dictate? Maybe real desires are so deeply buried under the fear of social disapproval that they have already forgotten how it is: to dress and live really for yourself, and not for other people's views?
  • Stop broadcasting myths. By repeating “a woman should be beautiful” in different ways, we are putting our brick into a monstrous wall of pressure that makes girls and girls feel “ugly” and risk their own lives for the sake of “fixing” such irregular living bodies and faces. Perhaps it is time to adopt another slogan: "My body is my business" (12) - and once and for all stop criticizing someone else's appearance.
  • Support other women. Unfortunately, the beauty industry is interested in turning us into competitors. Everyone has heard about "female happiness - scary friends", about the "woman's serpentarium" and other misogynistic stereotypes indicating the fundamental impossibility of female friendship. The best thing that can be opposed to them is real mutual assistance and mutual support, uniting a wide variety of women without any connection with their appearance.
  • Create a new cultural background where women will not play the role of "beautiful dolls". The first steps towards this have already been taken, and it is in our power to draw, write and shoot new works, where there will be many different heroines of every possible height, weight, skin color, with glasses or wheelchairs, in spacesuits and robes - bright, smart and strong. We can compose and read fairy tales to our children, in which there will be no outdated prejudices about the "destiny of women", and if they meet, we can explain how ridiculous they sound in the modern world.

Perhaps the situation with pressure on the topic of "female beauty" will change very soon - if not for us, then at least for our daughters. It is already changing.


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