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How Aesthetic Pressure Grows From The Trivialization Of Plastic Surgeries

With duration ranging from one to four hours of surgery, high-definition liposuction – better known as LIPOLAD or LIPOHD – consists of breaking down the fat of a given region of the body, aiming to draw the muscles.

Currently, it is mainly done in the area of the abdomen, chest, arms, thighs or back. Considered as an evolution of traditional liposuction, its costs can reach R$ 50,000.

Within the field of plastic surgeries performed in Brazil today, it is one of the fastest growing modalities, especially among the younger public. With the increasing performance of so-called “digital influencers”, LIPOLAD has been increasingly shown to the public.

But in a way, the negative implications of the procedure are not addressed, and this ends up being sold as something simple and banal. And unfortunately, the mental health effects of thousands of women become more harmful over time.

The image of female body on social networks

The dynamics of social networks is based essentially on the image, and mainly on images that can be constructed and thought of before being released to the public. Thus, the female body fits within projections and scenarios that are obtained from it.

In his research projects with interfaces between Communication and Psychology, focusing on the relationship between the subject and the media discourse of diets, Rodrigo Daniel Sanches, postdoctoral researcher, master in communication and semiotics and teacher, identified the existence of what he calls “corpus alienum”, which would be the body that does not exist in reality.

“With the technological resources I get a post-image edition. From this, you no longer have something similar to reality. If we could take these bodies and bring the measurements into real life, they would probably be below a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index), so much so that these bodies are retouched to get refinements of extreme thinness.”

And in the case of influencers, celebrities and “bloggers” in the fitness business, this body functions as a financial asset. “I sell an image and get sponsorship from companies interested in that image. Because this body pattern draws a lot of attention from women nowadays. This body is sold as if it were something accessible, and there’s the guilt factor. If you can’t get the problem is yours, you’re a loser, you’re a loser”, explains Rodrigo.

The responsibility of the media to disseminate beauty standards

The media environments contribute to the formation of discourses and narratives that give meaning to the ideas one has about what would be an  acceptable body to society. “The woman who loses weight appears in the media as a happy, successful person. You tie this body pattern to a number of aspects of well-being. If I say all the time that I’m happy because I have a thin body, then fat is a sign of sadness and failure. It is not only the image of the body, but everything that is tied to the body”, points out the teacher.

And these speeches spread to all media products, such as soap operas, advertising campaigns, television programs, television news, etc. Thus, what Rodrigo calls the “cauldron of meanings about beauty and happiness” is formed. “The media is a two-way street: it both provides meanings and captures cultural, social movements to have an audience. Other bodies are shown, but still in a very timid way.”

Reaching the daily life of ordinary women, this body pattern generates dissatisfaction , questioning and, in some cases, desires to transform and shape their image to a fit within social expectations. “Yet the thin body appears much more than other types of bodies. And if you are faced with it throughout your life, it begins to influence the subjectivity of contemporary women,” says Rodrigo.

The trivialization of plastic surgeries

Data from the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) show that in the last ten years there has been a 141% increase in aesthetic procedures in young people aged 13 to 18 years, positioning Brazil as a world leader in the field of plastic surgeries.

“If you repeatedly have a speech saying that only a body pattern is happy and suddenly you realize you can change that, the person goes after a resource to shape her body to the body of an era. From the moment that aesthetic surgeries are increasingly available to the subject,, this type of procedure ends up being done”, Rodrigo explains.

Among the numerous consequences that the dissemination of beauty standards has on the mental health of contemporary women, achieving plastic surgeries as a form of “solution” is one of the most strong.

“From the moment you have social networks and more and more people are transforming happiness into likes , so this is reflected in the body. It’s not enough for me to model my body, I need to post a bikini photo so that all my friends see how happy I am, because I have a certain body pattern” says Professor Rodrigo.

And, unfortunately, more and more young people have been in contact with this type of procedure, causing the aesthetic and bodily pressure to materialize more and more early in the woman’s life, characterizing another category of oppression with women today.

“Subjecting a body to a fashion is a tremendous symbolic violence against women. Enlarge breasts, enlarge breasts, enlarge glutes, decrease glutes. You are bombarded by a body pattern, and that body is related to well-being, happiness, sensuality, and success.”


The article above was edited by Mel Trench

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Hello! My name is Maria Antônia and I'm a journalism student at Cásper Líbero University. Art lover, especially for music and photography. A huge interest in cultural journalism and everything related. Curiosity, engagement and scowl are surely characteristics that can almost define myself.
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