Did you notice an elderly man in a wheel chair passing the Olympic flame in Rio? His name was Dr. Ivo Pitanguy’, a plastic surgeon. He died the next day at age 93.
Why was this plastic surgeon, probably the only one in his field, given the honor of passing the Olympic flame? This plastic surgeon is considered a national hero in Brazil because he was the practitioner who perfected the Brazilian butt-lift. The rich and famous were his patients. Yet, to his credit he regularly helped poor accident victims for free.
This doctor, dedicated to beauty, could not find a better place to practice his skills. The Brazilian culture, more than most, focuses on the power of beauty. And this doctor truly believed that improving one’s looks was as good as psychoanalysis as a way to boost self- esteem and improve one’s mental health.
Brazil’s plastic surgeons are the leaders in buttock enlargements, penis lengthening and vaginal rejuvenation. Brazil is now #1 in performing these medical procedures leaving the United States as second.
Brazil accounted for 12.9% of the cosmetic operations performed last year. This included 515,776 breasts reshaped, 380,155 faces tweaked, 129,601 tummies tucked, 13,683 vaginas reconstructed, 219 penises enlarged and 63,925 buttocks augmented. The growth of the latter category was particularly spectacular with a near doubling in the past four years to the point where almost one in five of all gluteoplasties (bottom boosting operations) are now performed in this South American nation – more than double the share of anywhere else. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/brazil-loves-nip-tuck- plastic-surgeon-ivo-pitanguy
Men often feel a longer or wider penis would improve their self-esteem and self-confidence; young women are seeking to perfect their labia and breasts. The desire for a picture perfect body is not uncommon in an era that focuses on celebrity and ‘selfies’. These surgeries are conducted without any connection to a medical need. The focus is not on health but appearance. That is why the costs are out of pocket; not covered by insurance.
Professor Ivo Pitanguy, known at the philosopher of plastic surgery, ran a luxurious health and beauty center with exceptionally comfortable recovery suites for wealthy patients and their guests. This clinic contributes to Brazil’s enormous industry of surgical tourism. One of the keys to Pitanguy’s success is that he protected the privacy of his famous clients.
How ironic that the surgeon who emphasizes looks participated in an Olympic ceremony that honors the perfection of performance.
It is hard not to question the values of societies that focus so stridently on the importance of beauty and physical perfection. As in all surgeries, patients’ risk complications and even death when seeking to improve their appearance. The recovery periods may be extensive. There are health risks but there is also the risk of not being satisfied by the outcome. The tabloids have revealed botched surgeries. But even those that have adequate outcomes may leave one discontented and still fundamentally stuck with themselves! Addiction to this type of surgery does occur.
Those are some of the risks, but the benefits clearly outweigh the risks and financial costs to those who choose this route to physical perfection. Plastic surgery- done for cosmetic purposes- helps you conform to the increasingly rigid standards of beauty.
Today there is much talk about inclusivity, diversity and acceptance of others. Why aren’t we accepting of a wide range of norm/to beautiful in the shapes of our labia or buttocks? Why is size still a criteria for male genitals instead of sexual skill in making love? Does this surgery really increase one’s self esteem or does the goal of perfection erode one’s self-satisfaction and feed the belief that we could/should look better?
The SmartSex app focuses on health and believes that a healthy body is uniquely beautiful. Before signing up for surgery make sure that your self-assessment is generous and that your body image is accurate. Download the SmartSex app on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smartsex/id641426390?mt=8