THE RISE OF COSMETIC SURGERY
Plastic surgery has been around since Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome were the superpowers of the world. It was first used to repair broken bones such as the nose, but over centuries of practice, the human race has found other uses for the process; namely cosmetic surgery to reconstruct the appearance of the face and body in order to suit one's ideal image of beauty.
Cosmetic surgery gained particular popularity at the turn of the millennium when popular culture was becoming increasingly more and more focused on appearance. Popular surgeries included breast augmentation, liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), rhinoplasty (nose job) and botox. With the increase of surgeries, the media began to notice the popularity and took full advantage of it.
Reality TV show The Swan was a good example of this. A cult classic, first airing in 2004, the programme followed a group of women who believed their appearance could be improved by undergoing major cosmetic surgeries, with the premise of the show focused on turning ugly ducklings into “swans”. The contestants were eliminated week by week, with one lucky woman taking home the title of The Swan, who, by the end of the show, was barely recognisable.
From here, the cosmetic surgery phenomenon continued. With the introduction of Instagram in 2011 and subsequent popularisation of the selfie, front-facing camera photos were on the rise and with that, so too the emphasis on the 'perfect face'.
Instagram provided filters to make its users appear to be “better” looking, and there was never more focus on appearance than during the 2010s. With the introduction of the Instagram Influencer, namely the Kardashian and Jenner clan, society was on the hunt for the perfect face. Kylie Jenner, who has amassed 226 million followers on Instagram, acted as the catalyst for many young girls signing up for cosmetic surgery, especially lip and cheek fillers. There was even a Kylie Jenner lip filler challenge, in which you place a glass over your lips and inhale in order to plump up your lips to maximum size.
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