January 26, 2012
Beauty is Pain
History has shown us that people, usually women, often do extreme things to achieve what their society deems beautiful. Even dating back to 10th century China, young girls’ feet were wrapped tightly to inhibit growth since tiny, and albiet deformed, feet were a sign of beauty. Women began wearing corsets during the Victorian Era to make their waists appear smaller, and even “tight lacing” or cinching them so tightly that over time, they actually altered body shape. In early Japanese culture, the white makeup applied daily to the faces of female entertainers, or Geisha, was later discovered to have contained lead in it, and resulted in serious illnesses and deaths.
It’s no secret that women do the unthinkable to keep up with whatever trend or image society has in store for them next. It seems the line between attractive and dangerous is blurred, and the two appear to even go hand-in-hand. Here’s a list of some of the latest, beauty fads women are engaging in which sacrifice their health all for the divine sake of a little thing our culture is obsessed with called beauty.
(Super) High Heels: High heels have never been good for the feet. But these days, three-inch heels seem puny compared to the five or six-inch ones on almost every pair of boots and pumps out in stores this season. The only positive thing, and listen because this is the only positive thing about the super high heel trend, is that they may make your gams appear longer and leaner. Well, you might want to start hitting the gym because losing weight is the healthier alternative to appearing thinner, rather than the height of your platform.
The higher the heel, the more pressure you are putting on the bottom of the forefoot. Wearing just a 3 ¼-inch heel increases the forefoot pressure by 76%, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Although after a long day of flaunting your new Christmas heels around town you may only feel some pain in your feet, the long-term effects extend farther than just a few extremities. Inflamed nerves and ligaments, shortened Achilles tendon and calf muscles, hammertoes, bunions and ingrown toenails can all develop over time.
Bad posture occurs because lifting your heels up to unnatural heights throws your balance off, and you compensate by adjusting your back, hips and shoulders. Bad posture leads to lower back pain, leg pains, and headaches. Lastly, wearing high heels may also be linked to knee osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage surrounding the knee, because when women wear heels, repetitive pressure and stress is placed on the knee joint.
Makeup Tattoos: We get it. Sometimes it sucks being a girl because it gets annoying and monotonous to apply makeup to our faces everyday. But is it so, terribly annoying that we feel the need to have needles pressed through our poor, little, thin eyelids to ensure we never have to apply it again? I guess it is for some people, hence: tattoo makeup. Common makeup tattoos include eyeliner, lip liner and eyebrows. This is perhaps for those who are extremely lazy and have a high threshold for pain, as the application for makeup tattoos is still the same as any regular tattoo. Because the eyes and lips are two of the most sensitive areas on the body, the pain experienced will be much worse than getting a tattoo on the arm.
Keloids and granulomas could occur after a makeup tattoo. Keloids are a type of scar that causes overgrowth of your skin tissue where the skin is healing, and they are difficult to get rid of. Granulomas occur after the skin has suffered some type of trauma and appear as small nodules. Some complain the tattoos may make the face look unnatural, especially as the tattoo starts to get old. Tattoos also fade, and then you will have to apply makeup to your makeup tattoo to cover it up, which defeats the purpose.
Maria Cappai, a middle-aged women from Holbrook, N.Y., had tattoo eyeliner applied to her upper and lower eyelids five years ago. She said she now regrets ever going through all the pain and trouble of getting it because by the second year, it faded to almost nothing.
“It would get bloody and there were times when it was oozing and even dripping from my eyes,” Cappai said. “There was a lot of swelling because, you know, it is still like a regular tattoo. So I would put Vaseline on my eyes and constantly ice them. It took almost a week for me to see somewhat normal again. It was very painful.”
Plastic Surgery in Teens and Young Adults: You probably got a new laptop when you graduated college. Maybe it was a car, or just a pat on the back. Other young women these days are apparently asking for something a bit more exciting from their parents: new and improved body parts…fun!
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2010, the total number of patients ages 13-19 to receive plastic surgery was 218,909, up from 209,553 the year before. In patients between the ages of 20-19, the number increased from 733,650 procedures done in 2009 to 747,418 in 2010.
Dr. Bruce Mast, a plastic surgeon at Accent Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics in Gainesville, Fla., said the number of college-aged patients he received has increased, but not drastically, over the last five years. He said the most common procedure for these patients is breast augmentation, followed by liposuction then rhinoplasty.
“I think the increase in younger people requesting to have plastic surgery done simply has a lot to do with society in general,” Mast said. “The Internet is more accessible to younger people now more than ever, and I think the marketing on the Internet makes it easy for people to research plastic surgery and view pictures of celebrities who’ve hade cosmetic work done.”
But having cosmetic surgery done before the body is fully developed could interfere with its growth, and continued growth could negate the benefits of surgery in later years. While experiences and procedures vary from patient to patient, one thing remains true; it is still a very real surgery, which means it has very real implications and risks that all should be aware of.
It boggles the mind to see what women in great numbers continue to do to fit society’s perception of what is beautiful. In this day and age where women are supposed to be so liberated, why do they continue to be slaves to beauty?
Julianne is a junior studying journalism. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.