Just another cycle

Societal standards are a thorn in every person’s side. Whether or not we like it, subconsciously we try our bests to fit into what the world deems ideal.

That means when society’s ideas change, we feel the need to catch up. Sometimes even going to dangerous heights to achieve the “ideal” look. The trend of the “Instagram baddie” has been around for some years. However, recently there has been an increase in women actually altering their bodies to look like the most popular influencers.

As our use of social media increases, we see an increase in plastic surgery and body dysmorphia. Since 2020 and lockdown, visual technology has us in a grasp. Watching other people on Instagram and TikTok and looking at our faces during a Zoom call, the attention to appearance became detrimental.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says its doctors were reporting up to 70% increases in requests (BBC, 2021). However, with these statistics mainly being facial procedures and celebs like Kim Kardashian allegedly dissolving her implants, could the BBL reign be over?

What is a BBL?

The Brazilian butt lift, most popularly known as the BBL, is a gluteal fat grafting procedure that uses excess fat collected from other areas of the body to add buttock volume and projection, and/or “perfect” overall shape and symmetry.

The BBL has been called the most dangerous cosmetic surgery. 1 in 3000 procedures results in death, yet many have still gotten it to get the “It Girl body”. The impact of the butt lift is truly down to Kim Kardashian. The number of BBLs performed globally has risen by 77.6% since 2015. We know Kim for her hourglass figure and infamous “peach emoji” that popularised the BBL. Kim has recently been spotted with a significantly smaller behind than usual.

Sparking a shift in pop culture, it seems the BBL body trend might come to a close. Trends in women’s bodies are nothing new. Over the years, we have seen different body shapes deemed as the ideal with a famous figure to go alongside them. Let’s talk a walk through some decades to see just how quickly the ideal body can change.

The 1910s to 1920s

The ideal women of the 1910s to 20s is a perfect example of just how hard body expectations are on women. The Gibson Girl being the “personification of the feminine ideal of physical attractiveness” created by Charles Dana Gibson, was quite like the ideal of today. Hourglass, with voluptuous proportions that often had to be achieved with a corset.

However, in the next decade, we see the “flapper girl” body become the ideal. A small, straight frame, with much fewer curves than previously. These standards were quite unattainable for most women, especially given the drastic shift.

The 1950s to 1960s

The 1950s were once again the decade of curves! Following the war and rations, a fuller appearance was sought after. Weight gain pills gained popularity and were advertised to women. However, once again we see an extreme shift in the 1960s. The “Ultra-thin” look was in and required some women to resort to extreme diets and exercise just so they could feel beautiful.

The 1980s to 2000s

The body ideals stayed similar through these decades. The toned and slim figure reigned while there wasn’t much inclusivity for plus-size women. This caused much body dysmorphia and image issues as not everyone could get the “perfect body”

Where we are now?

The body positivity movement has picked up steam and people are learning to love their bodies how they are. We can see brands and society being more accepting of all different body shapes. It can be a hard process with societal and peer pressure but we must learn the bodies we have are perfect how they were made.

Plastic surgery has much stigma around it but as long as you are getting it because you truly want it then there is no shame at all. Body Dysmorphia is a discourse that needs to be spoken widely about and we must try to help those that we feel are struggling.

If you are struggling with body image, there is always help and someone that understands you.

Written by Rokeya Rodney