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The Past | The Previous

I

Image - In 1988, Cindy Jackson wrote a wishlist:

I wanted:

Larger, less tired-looking eyes
A small feminine nose
High cheekbones
Fuller, better-shaped lips
Perfect white teeth
A smaller, more delicate jaw and chin
To have just the one chin
To eradicate premature facial wrinkles and acne scarring
A flawless, unlined complexion
A defined waistline and flat stomach
To lose my love handles, saddlebags and cellulite
Thinner thighs and slimmer knees
To get rid of flab left over from being 50 lbs. overweight in the '70s.
Not to have to wear a lifetime of hardship etched on my face


Image - Before:





Image - "I've had nine operations under general anaesthetic over the past 16 years," says Cindy Jackson. "Three of those were done in the 1980s when I was just starting out. Two of the nine ops were to correct the results of the latter. (Knowing what I know now, I could have done everything in four operations!) Some operations encompassed more than one procedure at a time, like a nose job plus liposuction, lip enhancement and fat transfer. The relatively minor cosmetic treatments that were not done by surgeons (nor required anaesthetic), such as light chemical peels, permanent makeup, cosmetic dentistry, filler injections, etc., are received in-office or at a salon and are not by definition "operations."

Image - After:





Image - She began, or so it is rumoured, with an inheritance. The money of a dead relative, a mother, a father, an uncle, maybe a grandfather. Their money would allow her to begin removing the face that they had known, that they had connected with. It was with their death that Cindy began the slow killing of her old body. The slow murder. When the dead money ran out, she took out loans, cash advances, and used credit cards, using money she did not have to step away from death and create an image that she did not have.

Image - Is this language too harsh? I like to play with the language and the concepts there and, personally, I'm not a huge fan of cosmetic surgery. But the real question that is raised is it not admirable to see that within Cindy we can see someone who is exercising full control over a form that is truly hers? Should she not, by right of possession, be able to chip, cut, break, implant, deplant, and whatever else it is that she wishes to do? There is a certain admiration in this, even though we ignore, immediately, the values that our culture has put on beauty, and which gives Cindy the reason, the motivation, for her to do what she does.

Image - "I grew up being criticised for everything from my big nose to the way I dressed. Now I get criticised for doing something about it!" Cindy laughs. "At least I see the funny side."

Image - Now:





Image - Still, no matter which side of the fence you come down upon, there is a reward in society for being beautiful. In Cindy's case, it's a kind of z-grade celebrity that's not for actually doing anything (like so many z-grade celebrities) where she is paid to front charities, while being a model, bit actor on tv, and fronting a band called Dolls. She has bought her beauty, bought her place, and because she has not gone down an ugly, plastic, sleeping in an oxygen chamber kind of way, she can step outside that worn down, middle class mother who crashes on her couch after a day of hard work and zones in front of the tv. With her body that has been made she instead exists within the tube, an unreal woman, who has raised herself into a new social and economic class.

Image - I wrote this post because, sometimes, I feel as if I'm living in a world that values a lie it made. Photos get doctored. Makeup hides blemishes. Clothes hide. The ways to make someone beautiful--that socially constructed ideal of beautiful--are countless. There are procedures, there are programs, there are touches, like a paint brush, on your skin, or like a blade, opening you up. We as a society made a fake image of beauty, a lie, and we hold up as perfection and then suggest that it is attainable naturally.

Previously,

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Comments

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markdeniz
May. 30th, 2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
Keep these up, they've been very entertaining.

Unfortunately they've got me thinking about doing the same...
benpeek
May. 31st, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
well, off you go then :)
(Anonymous)
May. 30th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
Balancing
I love the way you look at this, go on one side of the balance then the other - at the end tipping wildly and then a little closer to the fulcrum - see-sawing until you come to some conclusion that even at the end is not clear-cut or absolute.

I agree that we value our lies and even come to believe they are the truth - maybe that is the saddest thing of all.

Snailkeeper
benpeek
May. 31st, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Re: Balancing
thanks :)
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