Did you know that 15.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2013? Now I already know what some of you are thinking, this has NOTHING to do with us, “black don’t crack”. Well you may be surprised to know that the number of African Americans undergoing plastic and other cosmetic procedures to remain young and beautiful are growing. And though according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “blacks are still cosmetic surgery’s slowest-growing minority.” From 2005 to 2013 cosmetic surgeries done on African American’s increased by 56%. The fact of the matter is, because it is so coveted in our culture to have natural beauty, and no need to a little “nip and tuck”, many of us keep it a secret, and in some cases go to unorthodox lengths to get procedures done without anyone knowing.
The fact that cosmetic procedures are so taboo in our community may be hurting us more than it is helping us. With the several reality shows glamorizing these procedures, our beauty obsessed society is really bringing on the pressure to be “pretty”. I know that it can’t just be me who noticed but it seems as though over the last 5 years a big butt is now a GIGANTIC one. Everyone has a bodacious back side. It’s as if over night big booties is something everybody got from their momma. Well there is some explanation to this. Butt augmentation procedures saw its largest increase in 2014 with a 86% jump from the year prior. I’d say that means the pressure is on. Having a butt is definitely in, and it appears as though everyone went out and bought one. White, Asian, Hispanic, and Black we’ve all contributed to this number.
The fact of the matter is the longer we hide from our truths that we too are subjected to the pressures of society’s ideology of beauty, we are only hurting ourselves. In many cases African American women seem to be receiving conflicting messages of what standard of beauty they want to subject themselves too. Many are undergoing surgeries to plump their pouts, widen their hips, and boost their butts, while still trying to slim down their nose. And with the community not supportive of these decisions, and the hefty price tag that comes with it, their choice in “doctors” is sometimes pretty sketchy.
There have been countless stories of young black women getting cement and other toxic substances injected into their backsides in order to obtain a curvier look. This poor and life threatening decision had to of been influenced by cost and shame. For instance Apryl Brown of Florida. She nearly died after undergoing what she thought would be a but enhancement. She was injected with what she thought was silicone fillers, but turned out to be bathroom sealant. This ultimately led to her near death experience. By the time she got the courage to go to the doctors, and explain what she had allowed to happen to herself it took 27 surgeries including the amputation of her hands, feet, and flesh around her buttocks. Apryl now uses her tragic life experience to educate others on self love, empowerment, and acceptance of others. According to several interview Apryl has done, one in particular with The Sun she explains that, “shame stopped me from seeking medical help. As time went on it got worse as the skin blackened. I developed hard lumps. Then the searing pain started. I had to tell my doctor what I did. I was so ashamed!” I say as a community we need to do more on being proud that we are who we are, rather than making the expectation of our community’s perspective only obtainable to some. Though we are a community of beautiful people, some of us still age differently, are shaped, differently, and look different. We have to be accepting of these diversities amongst our own. Broadening our perspective on what beauty really is could save a life!
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