Beauty Perception: Global Cosmetic Trends

Beauty on a whole cannot be avoided, different cultures and countries have an idealistic vision of what is deemed as beautiful and perfect. Some countries are offering surgery which is taking body image to a whole new level, what would be the extent of your beauty regime?

Bizarre Beauty

Believe it or not in China a sign of success can be shown by your height, the average height of females is 5ft, 2ins but what does that have to do with beauty? Well locals are putting their selves through surgery to lengthen their height, a painful measure to be perceived as successful.

Leg surgeryThe process involves the individuals legs being broken and then stretched on a rack, it involves pins being screwed into the flesh and being held into place until the desired length is achieved. Is something that sounds so painful and looks it really worth the trouble, what would happen if a trend was put into place where being small was beautiful?

If you thought that was bad in South Korea a procedure can be undertook for your jaw to be reshaped, again this involves the bones being broken and in some cases the bone can be shaven, a dangerous trend that is populating around South Korea so women can have more petite and feminine looking faces.  

In Japan nose implants in the form of dermal fillers are being placed in those that want to achieve a larger looking nose, now I’ve heard of nose reductions but making them larger seems strange to me, the dermal fillers can also be placed in the chin.

skin-whitening-cream-2In Thailand if you have light skin then you are considered to be rich as you haven’t been working in the sun all day, because of this status an increase of skin lightening cream has increased in sales. “A survey carried out by the British Skin Foundation found that 16% of
dermatologists believe lightening creams are ‘completely unsafe’ and 80% feel
they are only safe when prescribed by a dermatologist”

buttock_implant_placementsThe Large Bum Trend

Bum Implants aren’t out of the ordinary, curvier women are considered sexier in some cultures, famously known as ‘The Brazilian Butt lift’ it is becoming more popular in the UK, another dangerous surgery as reported it can kill you if not done correctly, previous stories have included the implants leaking which has gotten into the bloodstream and caused heart failure.

Stranger methods are in order in Jamaica, in a society where having a curvy body and larger bum is essential women are being driven to achieve the look by consuming “chicken” pills, this is usually something a farmer gives to their chickens in order for them to gain weight, should it really be for human consumption? However in India women are taking steroid pills in order to get larger, surely steroids is a bad idea and are harmful to the body and not worth the risk.


Whilst cosmetic surgery isn’t out of the ordinary anymore and is increasingly becoming more common, there are in fact 27,730 plastic surgeons are operating around the world, the perception of beauty isn’t reliable and can change quicker than expected so is putting your health at risk to fit the norm really worth it? Cosmetic surgery may seem like a quick fix but can hazard all sorts of risks especially if a reputable surgeon hasn’t done the procedure. People all over the world should enjoy their bodies and embrace what they have, why should it matter if you aren’t as tall as you want to be? So what if you don’t have a large bum it shouldn’t matter what we look like so long as we are confident in our own skin.

*images from Google

Toddlers & Tiaras

Toddlers and Tiaras is a programme following the lives of young children who compete in beauty pageants across America. Along the way tantrums are brewed as well as the child’s need to win and to be the best, its more so about winning than having fun.

It seems it is unacceptable to be a runner up and the stakes are high when each girl is subjected to a makeover that makes them appear to be a replica of Barbie.

One little girl Kayla who is 3 years said that the other girls were ugly and another girl Desiree who was 10 years old had ordered ‘flippers’ which was a false set of teeth similar to dentures because her teeth were slightly crooked, she also made to put in contact lenses which she didn’t seem happy with, it just proves that every part of you has to be manipulated in order to look perfect.pageant+girlBeauty pageants for children are quite controversial, some see it as harmless fun and others see it as children being sexualised and forced to grow up too fast in a vanity culture. Personally I find it strange to see a child covered in fake tan, make up and with false nails as it appears to take away their innocence but as these pageants aren’t common in the UK this could be why.  Im not sure young girls should be showing off swimwear and wiggling their hips so maybe the age group should be capped for that or just left to the adult pageants maybe as it does appear to sexualise them especially when theyare pulling poses and blowing kisses.

It would be much better if it wasn’t such a strong competition with pressure added to the girls and more so as a fun competition to be apart of, when a child starts getting upset and not wanting to do something they aren’t comfortable with e.g. having false lashes put on, then it should be time to reconsider that decision.

“Tori Hensley from Lampasas County, Texas, was  seen combining Mountain Dew, Sweet Tea  and Pixie Stix and administering it to her daughter Alexa in a sippy cup.  ‘I want cup,’ the youngster  demanded. Mrs Hensley also explained that her toddler  starts out every morning with a large cup of coffee topped with powdered cream,  which has been a daily ritual since she  was just nine months old.”

It’s taking it too far when a child is given caffeine at such an early age especially when it could potentially cause diabetes when the child is older and lead to a caffeine addiction, it should be a high priority to look after children’s teeth until they are old enough to care for them theirselves, the high amount of sugar will be leading to problems early on.

pixie stix

*images from Google

Representations: Body Image In The Media

Britney SpearsRepresentations are often described as being imitations or having a resemblance to a certain idea or image, however in relation to representation within the media “It emphasises that, however realistic or compelling some media images seem, they never simply present the world direct” (Branston & Stafford, 2010) This shows that a media representation is often ‘re-constructed’ when being presented rather than being an exact mirroring from the original source, e.g. a photograph isn’t directly presenting the original image in which the photographer will see, in the case of a magazine photo-shoot the image will have been edited till it is deemed as perfect, be this by changing the appearance of the model with touch-ups or by simply changing the background so the viewer won’t be given an exact image of what the original source looked like, depending on the subject in the photograph it could also be interpreted differently by the audience. If magazine images are so heavily touched up then how can it be possible to actually gain that perfect body image, not many viewers will take into account this and will still strive to gain the false body image.

Another example of re-constructed media is newspapers editors, they will be publishing information that they have received so they will be re-presenting the information in articles from the original source in order for the audience to receive the intended articles. These shape our cultural values as often enough impressionable readers that see models photographed will want to imitate their image and maybe even follow their diet routines as they believe they will gain that perfect body, but due to the false representations of photo editing then our culture is shaped by chasing the impossible ‘perfect’ image dream.Katie PriceThe use of representation determines what the audience finds to be ‘normal’ so this can be linked to ideology “a systematic framework of social understanding motivated by a will to power or a desire to be accepted as the ‘right’ way of thinking” (Lacey, 2009) In terms of media it is now common for our culture to be highly influenced by vanity and the idea of having the ‘perfect’ body, this is because there is high pressure within the media to look a certain way, whether it is supermodel skinny or the stereotypical image of a male fantasy woman inspired by ‘Lads magazines’, these woman are usually blonde, large breasted with small waists. It very common amongst young adults and teenagers to want to change the way that they look to fit this norm as they are highly influenced by the media in which they consume, magazines, advertisements and social media, an example of this outcome is ‘I want to change my body’ which was a documentary aired on BBC Three in November 2012, which showed exactly that, many of the young adults on the show felt that they had to change their image in order to be ‘normal’ and socially acceptable, one girl in particular wished to have a boob job just because she felt inadequate due to the impressionable media of ‘bigger is better.’ This is often down to influences by models such as Katie Price who is regularly in the media for changing her body, as her presence dominants the media through modelling, journalism and television programmes, she has gained quite a large female fan base so often fans will want to be like her. Although she is perceived as being quite dominant and headstrong she is clearly insecure with her appearance as she is always changing it.

An article on The Daily Beast shows that according to a study on plastic surgery it was found that “79 percent of the 42 patients examined said that television/media influenced their decision to pursue a cosmetic-surgery procedure.“ Again this high percentage supports how impressionable media consumers are, as they cannot avoid daily media it is affecting the way that they perceive their selves, If it wasn’t for vanity being deemed important within the media then plastic surgery wouldn’t be quite as common or as popular as it is today, however it has helped to shape cultural values by making individuals feel the need to fit in.

Stereotyping is another form of representation which can shape our cultural values, “stereotypes work by taking some easily grasped features presumed to belong to a group” (Branston & Stafford, 2010) An example of this is by the use of stereotyping all youths as ‘hoodies’ which is often linked to crime related activities which is represented in the news, not all teenagers and young adults will even consider crime but because of this stereotype if they are seen wearing a hoody whilst shopping then they will automatically look suspicious. Stereotyping can be broken down into different groups, age, gender, race and religion. As stated above the ‘hoody’ stereotype is aimed at younger adults and teenagers and shapes our culture by discriminating against this target group by giving the assumption that this generation is full of criminals. Gender stereotypes primarily state that the male is more dominate to the female and that her place is in the home rather than being independent and hardworking, this representation is shown in the media through the use of advertisements such as Fairy Liquid where it is always a female shown doing the washing up rather than a male, it is also shown in other cleaning adverts, although culture has changed and women are now independent and work rather than staying in the home this stereotype will most likely remain meaning that women will remain discriminated against for being the less dominant gender. Another gender stereotype includes ‘dumb blondes’ often within television programmes a blonde character will keep the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype because it is so well perceived, although intelligence isn’t based on your hair colour this stereotype is still used quite frequently. As media consumers are often consumed by what they see in the media then the stereotypes could turn into discrimination in everyday life which could lead to problems created in the society such as bullying, cyber-bullying, discrimination, racism, sexism etc.