Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely a sucker for some trashy TV shows (Jersey Shore, Cheaters, and Jerry Springer to just name a few) but some of the new reality shows are just plain ridiculous. For example, there was a reality series recently featured on E! called Bridalplasty where 12 engaged women competed to win plastic surgery and fulfill their dream of having the perfect wedding. Do women truly believe this will bring them the ultimate levels of pure happines? The media surely tries to convince them it is so.
This show glamorizes women striving to look like society’s idea of perfection and it encourages plastic surgery to achieve it. Women got breast implants, nose jobs, and liposuction. The whole makeover phenomenon really got its start with the show Extreme Makeover. This show told fairy tale journeys of ugly ducklings being turned into swans after countless surgeries and a strict diet. They focused on how the person was coming into their true identity – not just normalizing themselves to look more like what society thinks is beautiful.
Shows like this started a fetish-like makeover culture where people think if they appear more beautiful than they will have a brighter future. More and more cosmetic surgery based shows starting popping up like Dr. 90210,Nip Tuck,and The Swan. What is not shown in these makeover stories, however, are all of the risks of these surgeries and the pain one must go through after surgery. Going under the knife is really becoming something that is glamorized and today even competed for on national television.
I am all for people trying to be healthy and looking their best, but I think that shows like these are just taking it too far. It is terrible that women now have laundry lists of cosmetic surgeries they would love to get. What ever happened to just embracing what you have? Watching shows like these may be entertaining, but it definitely can instill the wrong kind of values in girls that are insecure about their bodies or have a low self esteem. We are already surrounded by perfected images of people everywhere we go – chiseled bodies in Abercrombie posters and half naked models plastered across magazine covers.
These cosmetic surgical makeover shows can lead a girl with body image issues to believe that going under the knife will solve all of their problems and will give them an instant fix and true happiness. A lot of women today have image issues and I can only hope that girls are media literate and can see through this tainted fantasy of achieving ultimate happiness through aesthetic (not to mention dangerous and painful) means.