By Morgan Clark
Recently there was a tweet on Twitter showing a line of women in wheelchairs waiting to be wheeled onto the plane from the Dominican Republic. All of them just received a BBL or Brazilian Butt Lift. There are many debates about the woman’s body and the beauty standards of today, but, as a woman who claims to be a womanist, this makes me wonder, is getting a BBL something that should be encouraged, or does it feed into the patriarchal views of our society?
To be honest, I am torn about how I should feel about BBLs. On one side, I see it as a way for a woman to gain confidence. Women who do not have the “ideal” body type can change their bodies to make themselves feel good. I have seen many posts about how women feel so much better about themselves after the surgery. And that’s what I want for a woman, to look at her body and be happy with what she sees. I also know that having a BBL can help with a woman’s livelihood, because some sex workers have seen an increase in revenue after their surgeries. How can I be upset about that?
And I’m not, but I do think that BBL should be criticized just a bit. First, BBL is a fairly new procedure started in the ’60s by Ivo Pitanguy, the plastic surgeon known for creating the Brazilian Butt Lift. With it being a new procedure, we really do not know how it will affect the body when the patients are older. Also, there is a high mortality rate, one in 3,000 can die according to the American Plastic Surgeon Society. That’s a high number if you ask me. There are also critiques on how the BBL allows white women to achieve a shape that is looked down on in black women. There is truth in that statement that deserves another essay, but there are also a lot of black women getting this procedure. I believe that the standards of beauty have changed, and now women with small waists and protruding butts are deemed more beautiful/desirable. I feel as though although BBLs make a lot of women happy, but it can also be a way to conform to certain patriarchal views. We know from history that society has always placed a certain body type to be more desirable than other body types, and I think this time around it’s a BBL body. So, if a woman is getting a BBL, can one argue that she only wants to appeal to the male gaze? Or, does this surgery allow women to have agency over their own bodies?
I think to answers those questions you must ask: “Why are you getting a BBL?” And, depending on the answer, you can see if it’s for them or to fit into society.