plastic doesn’t make it

I should be interested in the Super Bowl, but I’m not. I just want it over already, even if I do want the Patriots to pull it out with a really big win. But we in New England are used to being disappointed, so it won’t be such a biggie for me. And since tomorrow, we’re supposed to get hit with another big storm, we will all quickly forget about it. At least I will. But I can’t get something else off my mind.

Yesterday, there was a bar mitzvah celebration in my synagogue. What really bothered me was the way many of the girls were dressed, or perhaps I should say barely dressed. It was wicked cold out theya, and yet they were wearing these teensy tinsy things that barely covered their bottoms. And what made it worse was the heels they were wearing. Girls with stacked heels. Little girls who were so short that even with these silly heels, they were still much much shorter than me, and I am not a tall person. It was more than ridiculous; it was pathetic. If women need to wear things that make them feel what–help me out here–sexy? desirable? valuable? trendy? But girls? What are we telling girls? Where, oh where did feminism go so so wrong? Really, this is not just an old lady complaining. In an article about large-size models who have become somewhat popular today, the author Marie Southard Ospina admits:

The reality is that no matter how small or big you might be, someone will always find fault with your body. Someone will always tell you that you’re not good enough.

But why are we listening to those someones? Here’s another very disturbing article about a trend in Japan, about a

lucrative cosmetic procedure called tsuke-yaeba that purposely gives people crooked teeth. So it works out nicely that he’s also promoting the look in pop culture.


Before tsuke-yaeba (left) and after tsuke-yaeba (right).
Via google translator: “example of your worries resolved

As Japan Today put it, yaeba means “‘multilayered’ or ‘double’ tooth, and describes the fanged look achieved when molars crowd the canines and push them forward.” They report it as a uniquely feminine trend: “Japanese women of all ages [are] flocking to dental clinics to have temporary or permanent artificial canines … glued to their teeth.” It’s been gaining in popularity over the past few years. Masuoka has said the look “gives girls an impish cuteness.” Emile Zaslow, an associate professor at Pace University, explained it more malignantly to The New York Times: “The naturally occurring yaeba is because of delayed baby teeth, or a mouth that’s too small … It’s this kind of emphasis on youth and the sexualization of young girls.”

Explaining trends in beauty is usually equal parts fascinating and frustrating, and rarely logical. As Verena Delle Donne at the University of Madrid wrote in “How Can We Explain Beauty?” — beauty is “what we like, what is fascinating, interesting, great, maybe funny or inspiring to us.”

What is inspiring? To spend more money? There was a video that was showing up on a variety of Facebook pages last week–I am not going to link it for you because it was very depressing. It set the mood for why I was so disappointed yesterday, I guess.  The video portrayed different standards of beauty for women during different periods of history.  One might have been relieved to see that today’s standard was “healthy”, but there was one little line that made me cringe–“Women regularly get plastic surgery to achieve their desired look.” Arrrgh!! I’m not going to look for their statistics that back them up on this one, but even to state it as a fact shows a great dis-ease in our midst. And let’s just add to it this story about some plastic surgery gone very wrong in Brazil:

The 27-year-old [Andressa] Urach, arguably Brazil’s most outspoken advocate of advancement through cosmetic surgery, recently went into septic shock and was placed on life support after a botched operation to augment her thighs, sparking a debate about the risks Brazilian women will take for beauty at a moment when the nation has surpassed the US as the world’s plastic surgery capital. It led the runner-up in Brazil’s “Miss Bum Bum” contest to express regret “that I put that poison in my body, mostly because I was too vain”. Urach appeared on television this week for the first time since falling ill two months ago, her wounds still so fresh that blood could be seen soaking through her skirt. Urach told Rede TV that she blamed “society, which unfortunately holds a standard of beauty in which you have to be perfect”. “I hope that these wounds at least serve as a warning to other women,” Urach added.

For Vania Prisco, a 31-year-old Rio de Janeiro lawyer, Urach’s problems were a reminder of her own botched operation. Prisco is still recovering from a 2013 surgery carried out by a woman she later discovered did not have a medical degree. The procedure was to put a type of acrylic glass filler in her bottom to add more shape, but it resulted in an infection that spread throughout her body and left her hospitalised for six months. Prisco filed a police report, but authorities have yet to locate the woman who carried out the procedure. “I was misled. I only heard the good things. No one tells you about all the problems it will cause you,” said Prisco. “I did something stupid. I didn’t even need this because I looked good. In the end I forgot that the most important thing is to be healthy and happy.”

.שֶֽׁקֶר הַחֵן וְהֶֽבֶל הַיֹּֽפִי, אִשָּׁה יִרְאַת ה’ הִיא תִתְהַלָּל

Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears God shall be praised.

(Proverbs 31:30: see this post for a great understanding of the concept of Aishet Chayil.)

What else did you think I was going to say?


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