*This article is personal for me. I received a call from my daughter informing me that my 27-year-old niece, Tina, died in the Dominican Republic having plastic surgery to change her physical appearance.
She lost her life trying to achieve the appearance of a smaller woman in what is now known and marketed as the Brazilian Butt. Unfortunately, she agreed to have three surgeries including breast implants and a nice little word they call a tummy-tuck (liposuction).
Many people get these procedures done because of low self-esteem and poor body-image. However, for black and brown people there is a driving factor that I call cultural imperialism where a foreign culture imposes its standards on another people and culture.
A new report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals that Americans spent $16 billion – more than ever before – on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally-invasive procedures in 2016. The truth is some of it like the liposuction can be achieved with more disciplined dietary habits and exercise.
Many of our young men and women want a quick fix by going under the scalpel (knife) to surgically alter features inherited from their parents. They gamble with their life.
Much of this is rooted in the lack of self-knowledge, self-love and accepting how God has made and validated them.
The late Barry White sang it in “Just the Way You Are” where he said “Don’t go changing, trying to please me… Don’t go trying some new fashion… I love you just the way you are.” Whether Barry White was thinking about what we are doing to ourselves, one would never know; but the lyrics appropriately fits what is going on now.
People from all walks of life suffer with this problem.
Celebrities like professional baseball player Sammy Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic was not happy with his dark skin complexion and medically lightened his skin tone.
It’s a search for validation in a world that has redefined, corrupted and then marketed standards of beauty and cultural expression. But the physical alterations in hope for love, acceptance and validation is shallow and temporary.
Skin whitening products are widely sold in Africa and the Caribbean. A recent Washington Times article said statistics from the World Health Organization say, “roughly 75 % of Nigerian women, 27 % of Senegalese women and 33 % of South African women regularly use skin-lightening products.” The article said, over half of all cosmetic products sold in India are skin-lightening products. This is what I call Cultural Imperialism.
I say to young women and some men, don’t gamble with your life thinking that the change will make you more than what you are.
Some will reject what I am writing about. My niece was a beautiful young lady with a 9-year-old son. If my writing on this will save one life, then it is worth it.
I was asked to speak at her funeral service and Allah (God) willing, I will read this article and hope it will discourage another young lady from going abroad to change her appearance thinking it will make life better.
It is better that you love yourself and live to love and raise your children in self-love, and not try remaking your body to attract a man or a woman or love outside of you.