Archive for category plastic surgery

A Living Doll

Before and After

Before and After

There is a healthy confront for me upon discovering this Ukranian woman who underwent multiple cosmetic surgeries to look like a Barbie Doll. Valeria Lukyanova has become famous, her pictures are on the internet, she is a fashion model, all following her transformation into a living toy lookalike.

Obviously many people (myself included) want to change their appearance through exercise, diet and fitness to come closer to some aesthetic ideal they/I value and respect. Others resort to cosmetic surgery to alter a nose, a chest, a mouth to achieve a similar goal. I wrote about Orlan , who had various body parts reconstructed through surgery to look like the women in famous paintings and sculptures–the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, Mona Lisa’s forehead, etc.

So what should we think of Valeria’s unusual choice of looking like Barbie? Silly? Or smart? She has achieved notoriety, fame, money. She has perfected the glazed stare. She certainly stands out from the pack. I just wonder if she has violated any copyrights that the manufacturer has…maybe she agreed to give Mattel royalties. BTW I know this is a big change of pace from the sublime beauty of Zen Archery. Well a life can have many parts, and they don’t all have to be serious and admirable.

Living Barbie Doll

Living Barbie Doll

Is looking like a child's doll really worse than looking like a famous painting?

Is looking like a child’s doll really worse than looking like a famous painting?

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Pictures Of Beauty Are A Marketing Lie

I bumped into three videos by the Dove soap company about how women see themselves and don’t like what they see. Studies show that there are certain desirable standards of beauty in each culture, and if you don’t measure up, then you use make up, clothes, plastic surgery, exercise, diet to change how you look.

The first two Dove videos below show how the ad/marketing world manipulates pictures to meet those desired standards. Of course there is no truth in advertising rule that requires these digital changes to be declared. So the average viewer concludes she is imperfect, misses the mark, and spends dollars buying products to make herself more closely aligned with the cookie-cutter ideal of her particular culture.

even Barbie dolls reflect our culture's obsession with thinness

even Barbie dolls reflect our culture’s obsession with thinness

Then I found two more about how the standards of beauty for American women have changed over the years. Even the Barbie doll became thinner. The video above says it plainly: no one looks like the pictures in the magazines. Not even the models. It’s a complete lie.

The last video shows how ridiculously thin some models and people are. Looks dangerous to their health to me. Like concentration camp prisoners. Not my ideal of attractiveness at all.

I am guilty myself of expending considerable energy to have abs, defined muscles, a more youthful look. So as much as I scorn the low self esteem of the women who have been tricked for money, I have no right to be overly critical. But it’s easy to understand why women spend half their annual wages in some South American countries to have plastic surgery enhance their breasts and butts, and women around the world spend billions on clothes, lotions, make up and other beauty products.

What do YOU think?

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Upper Arm Plastic Surgery??? Who Knew???

tough first lady

tough first lady

Here is an article by Erin Cunningham that startles me: more women want upper arm plastic surgery. (I didn’t even know there was such a procedure.) And Michelle Obama is the reason. Of course there are contrarians who say she is not the cause. You can decide after looking at some photos of our First Lady. I also included pictures of tennis star Samantha Stosur. How do you like her arms?

Michelle's elegant arms

Michelle’s elegant arms

On Monday, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported a 4,473 percent increase in brachioplasties, or upper-arm lifts, since 2000. And as a result of its recent online poll, the ASPS also reported that the most desired upper arms by women belong to Michelle Obama.

biceps to rave about?

biceps to rave about?

Sam Stosur really has arms

Sam Stosur really has arms

The report made it sound as if the first lady’s chiseled biceps had inspired people to get upper-arm surgery. “Women Opting for Surgery to Get Michelle Obama’s Arms,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Vanity Fair put it: “Michelle Obama’s Arms Are More Coveted Than Jennifer Aniston.” And Glamour asked its readers: “Would You Have Plastic Surgery to Get Arms Like Michelle Obama’s?”

But while the ASPS reported that upper-arm lifts jumped more than 4,000 percent between 2000 and 2006 among women, Business Insider points out that, according to previous ASPS yearly reports, since 2007, “there have been only single-digit increases or decreases year-to-year for the cosmetic procedure.” Since the Obamas didn’t take Washington by storm until 2008, it’s unlikely that Michelle Obama can be thanked (or blamed) for the upper-arm sensation.

does she lift weights daily?

does she lift weights daily?

“The rise of brachioplasty has actually occurred over the past decade. It’s a procedure that has been fairly popular all along,” says Dr. Matthew Schulman, who practices plastic surgery in New York City. He adds that the procedure hasn’t just gotten more popular since the Obamas have been in the White House. Still, “she has a very visible role, she’s out there on more mainstream television, and constantly wears sleeveless dresses,” Schulman says.

Perhaps because of the rise social media, the immediate awareness of one’s body type has created a more self-conscious audience, says Dr. Darrick E. Antell, assistant clinical professor of surgery at Columbia University. “People take pictures, view them right away, and see those arms they want to hide,” he says. “Michelle is sort of an icon, she’s stylish, and she’s typically photographed from the waist up.” Since mobile devices now have video and camera capabilities, the readiness with which images can be uploaded and viewed leaves one little time to prepare to confront one’s flaws.

Doctors point to widespread weight loss across the nation and advanced surgical technologies as the dominant factors that have contributed to the rise of brachioplasties—not Michelle Obama. As Antell explains, “People today are losing much more weight than in the past, which leads to an excess of loose skin.” The development of microliposuction, too, has made the upper-arm procedure less severe, the scar management less difficult, and the recovery time much faster. (Patients can be back to work as quickly as the span of a long weekend.)

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Your Right To Look Perfect

Is beauty a right, which, like education or health care, should be realized with the help of public institutions and expertise? I have written about plastic surgery many times before, believing it is worth discussing. Especially when so many people like myself exercise or color their hair to look younger, fitter and “better.” My desire to have a six-pack is strictly vanity. If we want to look closer to our ideal of perfection, how can we be critical of others who resort to surgery?

So here is a very thoughtful article by Alexander Edmonds about the people of Brazil, where even those on the lowest end of the economic ladder feel that they want plastic surgery and even that they are entitled to it in a democracy, regardless of whether or not they can afford it.

(Over 10 years ago, I went to Argentina on a hunting trip with two friends who were plastic surgeons. All the locals described an obsession there with body enhancements, and there was much guessing about what was real or fake in the photographs in fashion and women’s magazines.)

This latest essay discusses one doctor’s vision of plastic surgery’s additional healing potential: to increase self-esteem…It also outlines a radical therapeutic justification for cosmetic surgery. He argues that the real object of healing is not the body, but the mind. A plastic surgeon is a “psychologist with a scalpel in his hand.”

…What is the difference between a plastic surgeon and a psychoanalyst? The psychoanalyst knows everything but changes nothing. The plastic surgeon knows nothing but changes everything.”

…Brazil’s pop music and TV shows are filled with talk of a new kind of celebrity: the siliconada. These actresses and models pose in medical magazines, the mainstream women’s press, and Brazilian versions of Playboy, which are read (or viewed) by female consumers. Patients are on average younger than they were 20 years ago. They often request minor changes to become, as one surgeon said, “more perfect.”

Dr. Ivo Pitanguy’s philosophy is disturbing for many reasons, yet it suggests a point about the significance of attractiveness often overlooked in philosophical or academic discussion. Pierre Bourdieu argued that nearly all aspects of taste reflect social class. He extends his argument to the body itself: posture, gesture, even habits of chewing food. Curiously, and almost in passing, he makes an exception for physical attractiveness. Bodies “should,” he writes, “be perceived as strictly corresponding to their “owners’” position in the social hierarchy.” And yet they don’t. “The high and mighty,” he argued, “are often denied the “bodily attributes of their position, such as height or beauty.” In other words, attractiveness is a quality that is at least partially independent of other social hierarchies. For example, the rich and well-born are not always good looking.

Beauty is unfair: the attractive enjoy privileges and powers gained without merit. As such it can offend egalitarian values. Yet while attractiveness is a quality “awarded” to those who don’t morally deserve it, it can also grant power to those excluded from other systems of privilege. It is a kind of “double negative”: a form of power that is unfairly distributed but which can disturb other unfair hierarchies. For this reason it may have democratic appeal. In poor urban areas beauty often has a similar importance for girls as soccer (or basketball) does for boys: it promises an almost magical attainment of recognition, wealth or power.

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Janice Dickinson Will Become The Best-Looking Corpse On The Planet

I was at the gym again today—4th time in 11 days. I had to do some exercise, while I was resting my sore foot (had another cortizone shot today also). And I was missing muscles, definition and better tone, when I looked at myself in the mirror. If appearance matters so much to me, how can I fault a woman or a celebrity, a model or a TV personality from wanting plastic surgery to improve her looks?

Then I bumped into this clip of Janice Dickinson who is known for having all kinds of plastic surgery. She also says, “I’ve done just as much as every model and actress out there, I’m just willing to talk about it.” Check out what she’s had done, how she loves that Botox and how frank she is about all these physical improvements. And thanks to plastic surgery, she will turn into “the best-looking corpse on the planet.”

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Celebrity Plastic Surgery

Bristol Palin after corrective jaw surgery

Here is a gallery of young celebrities who have undergone plastic surgery to improve their looks, their confidence, or as some claim…to have nose jobs that will improve their breathing. As I have mentioned in previous articles about plastic surgery, when I thought about it, isn’t it similar to my developing a six-pack to look better in my mirror or at the beach? One is merely changing how your body appears, so that it more closely satisfies your personal ideal, or our culture’s perfect body.

Do you think it is fine to lift weights to have more attractive and impressive muscles? So what about having surgery to improve your looks?

Alexa Ray Joel after rhinoplasty. Her mother Christie Brinkley had a facelift.

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Creams And Caffeine To Make Your Abs Shine

Stefan Pinto (picture by Stephanie Diani)

My friend Joe sent me this link to a New York Times article about creams, makeup and caffeine that can improve the look of your abs. These seem more in demand than abdominoplasty (tummy tucks), which appealed to only 4700 American men in 2009, a doubling of the number in 2000.

So if you want to highlight whatever abs you do have, or tighten the skin in that region, you can do it with various products. I liked this quote the best:

“When you first glance at these products, it sounds like it’s snake oil, but when you dig deeper it seems like there is some efficacy to it,” said Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, a dermatologist in New York and assistant clinical professor at the Yale University School of Medicine. “When you add caffeine it causes blood vessels to restrict, and it turns out that’s a great trick for making skin appear less puffy.”

Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas cautioned men against expecting dramatic results from such products. “But even a 10 percent improvement would make a difference to some people,” she said.

Stefan Pinto, a model and fitness columnist, spoke well about one product, but look at the routine and diet he has underneath the cosmetic part. In addition to a strict gym regimen, he eats eight servings of vegetables daily and avoids dairy products and bread. “If you think you can go into a store and buy something and get all these results, then you’re fooling yourself,” he said.

How do you eat eight servings of anything in a day? He sure has discipline and determination! I can barely do three sessions of crunches some months, so don’t look to me for major inspiration. I better do some exercises and stop eating so much no-fat yogurt…

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Paulina’s Lament About Body Modification

Since starting this site and becoming more aware of popular culture, I keep bumping into the obsession in so many countries with physical appearance, particularly breast size, and how it distorts what women of all ages—but especially girls—think of their bodies. It’s clear how imperfectly many females view themselves due to the society’s ideal dimensions promoted in the media. It also affects how men and teenage boys regard their potential dates and mates.

As someone who spends hours exercising to change my body slightly and come closer to the fantasy me in my mind (more ab definition, more muscle cuts), I certainly can’t criticize most of the two million women a year worldwide (300,000 in the U.S.) who enlarge their bosoms for cosmetic reasons to ease their insecurities or to help them believe they will have a better chance of attracting a man. Both plastic surgery and muscle building may have the same goal—to look “better” in the mirror and on the beach— but it is obvious that surgery is a lot more serious and riskier than crunches and weight lifting.

supermodel Paulina Porizkova—1985

supermodel Paulina Porizkova—1985

The attention to celebrities’ body changes is mind-boggling. Here is an article by Paulina Porizkova, who in the ’80’s was one of the top models in the world— she was twice voted by People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world…and also nominated in 1989 for a Golden Raspberry award as one of the worst actresses in a film. I never heard of her before this story appeared, so in case you are as naive about some icons as I am, I have added Paulina’s bio after her article.

You will notice that Paulina minds when women make body changes to conform to the current mass standards of beauty—which she just happens to have been born with—and she faults Kate Hudson for feeling insecure and modifying her “perfect” body by having breast implants. Yet the bio mentions that Paulina had a gap in her teeth, resisted smiling in her photographs, and eventually had her teeth corrected. Paulina also says every woman is uniquely beautiful and should celebrate any good features if she can find them. For me this sounds like a rich person saying all poor people shouldn’t mind poverty, because they have an abundance of spiritual riches.

April 22, 2010

Why Kate Hudson’s (Alleged) Breast Implants Have Me Heartbroken
by Paulina Porizkova, Supermodel

Kate Hudson has gotten implants. Allegedly. This news headed straight to my heart from the lips of Wendy Williams who got it from some gossip rag. My coffee was getting cold while I, heartbroken, sadly gazed at the before and after pictures of Kate Hudson on the screen. The before: an amazingly fit, gorgeous, and yes, small-breasted young woman in a to-die-for red bikini; in the other, a blond starlet sipping a latte. The cup size was undeniably different. (And no, we’re not speaking of the latte.) Was there a chance it was merely a hardworking push-up bra? I find myself practically praying over Kate’s boobs. Pathetic, I know…

two shots of Kate Hudson, 2009 (left) and 2010

two shots of Kate Hudson, 2009 (left) and 2010

My issue here isn’t with Kate. If big boobs make her happier, then more power to her. The issue here, this fixing something perfect to something else perfect, is so much a sign of our times, and one that truly saddens me. The availability and ease of transforming our bodies is completely losing our identities and uniqueness. No one ages anymore, no one has imperfections of any kind anymore, all smiles are flawless and no one past 35 can express displeasure. Madonna no longer looks like Madonna: what started as a sexy, well shaped, and somewhat hairy Italian girl has ended as a cool Nordic blonde. It’s not that she doesn’t look great, she does. But she is starting to sort of melt away into the stew of the famous women over-fifty-high-cheek-boned blondes-who-cannot-frown.

Generally, I’m all for self-improvement. If you don’t know something, do look it up. Do learn another language, do travel, do open your heart and mind to new experiences. And by all means, pluck your mono-brow, dye your mouse-brown hair and work out to firm your body; after all, if fashion changes to celebrate hairy plump women you can go right back. But please, before permanently removing or adding a part to you to fit societal graphs of pulchritude, consider that that change will be permanent. If, a hundred years ago, you were unhappy with your nose – tough luck. You could hide your flaws, accentuate your strengths, and sometimes, more often than not, realize your flaws were your strengths and were precisely what made you unique and beautiful. That’s how, for example, we got the incomparable portrait of a large nosed Madame X, proudly displaying a profile that makes ME want a big nose.

Paulina writes she now has saddlebags and cellulite

Paulina writes she now has saddlebags and cellulite

Personally, I believe that every woman in the world is beautiful. Sometimes the distribution of her attributes is not immediately apparent; sometimes it’s a little uneven, but if she knew how to celebrate the things she was given, whether it’s a beautiful pair of eyes or legs, or intellect, or a sense of humor- she could see how uniquely beautiful she was. Lest you feel like interjecting, “oh please, easy for you to say, Miss Former Supermodel…” for your information, I have saddlebags and cellulite, and no matter how hard I work out, that is my body shape and I’m stuck with it. I look horrendous in short shorts and any pant or trouser that is tight in the thigh. But, for the body type of a saddlebag/cellulite, I think I look really great. I have a small waist (which seems to come with my specific body type) and so I take every opportunity to show that off. In my opinion, I’m one hot example of a saddlebag/cellulite woman over forty. If I went and lipo-ed my thighs to the size of Gisele’s, I still wouldn’t look anything like her, and instead, I’d start looking like everyone else. I would be a poor example of a woman with skinny thighs. That is my trouble with Kate. I used to use her as an example of the perfect beauty with a small chest. Now, with her new boobs, she just looks like any California blond actress. Instead of enhancing, she has diminished herself.

Wouldn’t Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Twiggy, Charlotte Rampling, and Jean Harlow have lost their special brand of elegant, feline sexiness if they were tipping over under the weight of great ol’ mammaries? Compare any one of these natural beauties to someone like Heidi Montag, and it’s like comparing a Hastens Swedish handmade mattress to a cheap plastic pool float.

Heidi Montag after multiple plastic surgeries

Heidi Montag after multiple plastic surgeries

So why? Why do we all want to look the same? It can’t all be about being attractive to the opposite sex. There are men who prefer the full breast; there are men who prefer the well-shaped leg or the round behind. There are all sorts of tastes out there, for all sorts of women. And the way to get their attention is by being different, by standing out. Once you start to blend in, you are no longer special.

That’s the end of Paulina’s article. Now here are some facts about her life:

Paulina Porizkova (born April 9, 1965) is a Czech-born supermodel and actress. She holds both Swedish and United States citizenship.

A photographer friend took pictures of Porizkova and sent them to the Elite modeling agency in 1980. At 5 feet 10 1/2 inches (180 cm), she was the perfect height for a fashion model. Elite head John Casablancas noticed Porizkova’s attractiveness and potential, and offered her a ticket to Paris. It was an extremely tempting offer for a teenager who was eager to get out of Sweden and to support herself.

She quickly rose to become a top model in Paris during the early 1980s, and her fame spread to the United States when she posed in swimwear for Sports Illustrated magazine. She appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1984 and again in 1985. (Her first appearance as a model in the magazine was in 1983.) A third consecutive run as the S.I. covergirl supposedly was dashed when she appeared on the cover of Life magazine in a swimsuit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Startling Use Of Plastic Surgery To Challenge Your Ideas About Conventional Beauty

Looking fitter and younger can certainly be helped by healthy diet, exercise, sports, and muscle building. Some people also turn to hair coloring and cosmetic procedures, and this is the fourth article discussing these topics in some detail. It may be easiest to scroll down to the earlier posts, which appeared on January 2, 2010 (, December 28, 2009 ( December 20, 2009(

Millions of women modify their features thru cosmetic surgery, so they will look like: celebrities they admire; their own ideas of what is beautiful; or what will make them more attractive to men.

A totally different approach to altering one’s looks took place from 1990 to 1993, when a performance artist named Orlan carried out a series of nine surgeries viewed live by audiences during which her face was transformed through plastic surgery. Orlan’s “Carnal Art” was an attempt to question stereotypical ideas about beauty promoted by advertising, fashion and media professionals.

Orlan long before any surgeries—1977

Orlan long before any surgeries—1977



You can see what she looked like in these pre-surgery pictures of her in 1977.

Years after the surgeries, she said, “…with cosmetic surgery, you can look like a Barbie doll, or some big star, or you can try to create you own inner portrait.”

One of her objectives was to embody the enduring visions of beauty created by renowned painters throughout history. She accomplished this seemingly impossible goal by surgically replicating the most cherished facial feature as it was presented in each famous artist’s most revered artwork.

Orlan after some of the surgeries—1992

Orlan after some of the surgeries—1992

For example, she has the chin of Botticelli’s Venus, the nose of Gerome’s Psyche, the lips of François Boucher’s Europa, the eyes of Diana from a sixteenth-century French painting and the forehead of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Orlan picked these characters, “not for the canons of beauty they represent… but rather on account of the stories associated with them.” Diana because she is inferior to the gods and men, but is leader of the goddesses and women; Mona Lisa because of the standard of beauty, or anti-beauty, she represents; Psyche because of her fragility and vulnerability within the soul; Venus for carnal beauty and notions of fertility; Europa for her adventurous outlook to the horizon, the future.

Orlan as Frankenstein's fiancee

Orlan as Frankenstein's fiancee

Yet another surgery implanted two symmetrical bumps that look like horns in her forehead to mimic the protruding brow of Mona Lisa. Sometimes she highlights these protrusions with glitter.

Orlan with forehead bumps

Orlan with forehead bumps

The events that brought her closer to achieving ultimate beauty were celebrated and special. Each surgery was captured on video, fed to live international audiences via satellite link-ups, and exhibited in a number of galleries in Europe and the U.S.

Instead of the sterile environment of the operating room, she constructed an operating ‘theater’ in which everything was choreographed, and the space was decorated with flowers. Famous designers, such as Paco Rabanne and Issey Miyake, designed costumes for Orlan and her doctors to wear during the surgeries. Poetry was read and music played, while she lay on the operating table fully conscious of the events taking place (only local anesthetic was used) read from scripts and answered questions from viewers around the world.

In all these ways she demonstrated that there are many standards of excellence and diverse models of beauty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Plastic Surgery Thoughts And Top Procedures

To look younger and more in accordance with our culture’s standards of beauty, some people exercise to make muscles, some color their hair and some resort to cosmetic surgery. A plastic surgeon I know, Dr. Dean Jabs, sent me this response to the December 28th article about Demi Moore’s possible plastic surgeries(


I think most people overestimate what can be done with surgery. People’s imaginations get the best of them. Too much Hollywood, not enough Main Street, so to speak. We can do a lot, but like I tell my patients, “My name tag says M.D., not GOD”. Lipo can contour but not reduce your body fat to 6%. Facial surgery and breast surgery can go a long way to restoring a youthful appearance and liposuction can contour…but that doesn’t take the place of a good diet and exercise, appropriate sleep and laying off the “sauce.”



At the end of this post are three of Dean’s company web sites, and one of them offered the following information:

May 15, 2009

Here at Cosmetic Surgery Associates we have definitely seen a shift in how people are viewing cosmetic surgery. People are concerned about the economy and are more willing to do smaller things now such as botox or fillers to maintain their looks rather than address the bigger issues that might require surgery. The recent release of statistics from our national society, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, bears this out. Here is a summary of the stats. Enjoy!

The top five surgical cosmetic procedures in 2008 were:

1. Breast Augmentation (355,671)
2. Liposuction (341,144)
3. Eyelid Surgery (195,104)
4. Nasal Surgery (152,434)
5. Tummy Tuck (147,392)

Women accounted for 92% of the total.

The top nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were: Read the rest of this entry »

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