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Ralph Nader > In the Public Interest > Plastic Surgeons and Wives

The Donahue show was promoted with the intriguing billing: “Plastic Surgeons Turn Old Wives into New Women.” The guests were three plastic surgeons and their prime operating exhibits — their wives. In -the ensuing hour there were revealed the shapes and firmness of the future cosmetic woman!

Even Phil was taken aback. Looking at the first wife, Carol Austin, he observed: “they raised your eyebrows, gave you eyetucks, cheek shaping, nose job, perked mouth, sleek chin, tummy flattening, hip smoothing, thigh slimming arid knee reduction. Holy cow. I’m exhausted from just….

The show demonstrated that not all Americans are absorbed with world events. More than a few are obsessed with the corpus — theirs and their spouses, children and parents. Teenagers are clamoring for plastic surgery, whether or not their parents can afford it. No longer will they tolerate “ski jump” noses or floppy-ears or large breasts. Their lives made miserable by the cruel taunts of their young peers, they simply are not going to take it any more.

This time, Phil concentrated on the plastic surgeons and the wives they operated on — sometimes every eight months (these followups are called zappers). One wife, Kathy Gaynor, tired of having her mascara run or eye liner wander when she was swimming or playing tennis. So, voila hubby performs procedure for permanent-eye-liner tattoos. For good measure, she had a knee reduction and a fat transfer from her hips to sculpt her face to enhance the cheeks or lips or getting rid of wrinkles.

The show swung between the audience and callers expressing curiosity, questioning techniques and asking for advice regarding their own body shaping plans.

But on two occasions, callers tried to generate a broader frame of reference, to wit: “women are doing it for a male society, and it’s not much different than certain scarification right’s in tribal practice, to sort of force someone’s body to fit. into this society’s perception of what beauty is… or “However, do think that it’s bad we live in a society that puts this kind of emphasis on physical beauty. This Barbie Doll image that people have of women.”

These comments were non-starters. The focus Was on butt lifts and breast augmentations and how young or how old are people who seek and pay for these agonizing and expensive operations.

With the plastic surgery industry booming, full of flamboyance, dreams of happiness and more than a few charlatans raking in big profits off vulnerable patients, it is time for a more candid discussion of this ever more proficient mode of manipulation. What was once a procedure largely limited to middle-aged women wanting face lifts has exploded in all directions as commercialized beauty standards envelop more of the age groups and transcend gender to include males.

The new technologies for body alterations are not without their serious risks and failures. If they further fortify the cruel sanctions against people who don’t Measure up with nose shape, brow size or chin prominence, lots of unhappiness will build up and for what?

When it come to beauty, it is a good idea for us to define it more substantially for ourselves as character, personality, compassion, wit and other human spirits. Otherwise, corporations and cosmetic surgeons will have millions of people in the palm of their conditioned hands.