Billions wasted on cosmetic surgery each year

April 2, 2011

For many years, competitions granting prizes have been a successful tool used by marketers to try to promote their cause or business.

However, there should be great concern when the prize up for grabs represents sexist ideas and targets women who feel inadequate about their appearance.

Last month, Sin City Nightclub on the Gold Coast promoted breast enhancement surgery “worth $10,000” as a competition prize.

In small print, the advertisement said the prize was actually $10,000 cash. However, the nightclub’s advertisement depicts a group of barely dressed women standing behind a sign labelled “Win a Boob Job!”

As well as perpetuating the idea that a woman must “look a certain way” to be deemed as attractive, the competition is promoting the cosmetic surgery industry, which is estimated to be worth about $40 billion.

This is a clear indication of how socially acceptable the phenomena of plastic surgery has become in Australia.

Its growth in popularity and representation in mainstream media has in turn caused a rise in popularity and demand among “everyday” women. Rather than having to pay thousands of dollars for it, you can now win the amount required to undergo breast enhancement surgery.

In a Sydney Morning Herald article on March 25, Queensland University of Technology body image expert and former marketing research analyst Evonne Miller said: “The advertisement is extremely sexist. We don't see any advertising for a $10,000 penis enlargement. It really highlights the double standard in society.”

There is no doubt that women face constant pressure from popular culture to fit a physical “ideal”, thus illustrating why cosmetic surgery is largely targeted towards, and mostly consumed by women.

Cosmetic surgery has become “glamorised” by the media in a way that makes it appear less serious and harmful than any other type of surgery.

This, however, is definitely not the case as there are many risks and dangers associated with cosmetic surgery. Health related risks include infection, nerve damage, blood complications, emotional conditions and in rare cases, death.

Alongside this, a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Medicine revealed that 25 to 40% of women who get breast implants end up needing another operation to correct something wrong with the first one. So it may not just be a one off “under the knife” operation.

Whether any cosmetic surgeons or doctors are affiliated with Sin City Nightclub’s competition has not been specified. However, Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery vice president Craig Layt said he would be most concerned if a doctor offering to perform the breast enlargement was involved in the promotion.

It is unfortunate that such a substantial amount of money is wasted every year on cosmetic surgery.

For this destructive cycle to end, women must be critical of the materialistic and shallow lies promoted by mainstream media, and awaken to what is truly meaningful and valuable.


Just for the record...the largest and growing cosmetic surgeries one can get as a guy is boob surgery to get rid of "man boobs". Also in 2008 Australian Readers Digest did a credible survey by an independent survey firm and found 60% of women in one way of another are open to the idea of breast augmentation. The competition is for $10,000 cash and a boob job is just a suggested way to spend this. If the media's around Australia hadn't shown the poster in the background that wouldn't be considered small print. The actual ads and posters say the $10,000 cash part very very clearly. How can the promotional name be sexist when it can appeal to both sexes and can be entered by both sexes. The competition is from a local nightclub appealing to local demographics...its the media that spread the word. The " barely dressed women" in the poster work in the venue and are locally known to the patrons the competition is aimed at. They freely did the ad and are proud of what they look like. I don't think the media has the right to criticize their looks or the choices they have made. As you said "This is a clear indication of how socially acceptable the phenomena of plastic surgery has become in Australia". As it is accepted maybe the media focus should be on shonky surgeons or expanding womens knowledge on this matter so they can make informed decissions. There is no major backlash if people pierce their body, tattoo's are becoming main stream and accepted....I think that we should prepare ourselves for the next accepted thing being cosmetic surgery. A person spending thousands on designer clothing and jewellery isn't being told that changing ones appearance is bad....should we become communist and all wear the same outfits or do we have a democratic right to look how we want to?
You say it's sexist but I see ads for penis enlargement surgery and viagra all the time. Besides that, good surgeons tell their patients about the risks inherent in undergoing surgery. I would never opt for surgery myself, but the fact is that surgery can make people look better and most people want to look better. I don't see anything wrong with people spending their own money for a service being offered when all the facts are on the table. There's always something in the news about something going wrong with a surgery or some person that ends up looking like a freak, but people get surgery anyway. It's because they want to look good.
As somebody who has worked as a talent scout for a model's agency, I am very well aware of the mental, emotional and business repercussions for women who get cosmetic surgery done. The tables are slowly starting to turn and most reputable entertainment agencies refuse to sign up models who've have cosmetic surgery done. Check out this song I wrote which is a polemic on the cosmetic sugery industry called Pain Of Fools:
Everyone has the right to look how they want, which is the point of the article. At the moment there is incredible pressure for people, but especially women, to spend huge amounts of money to look a certain way. People are made to feel bad about themselves by advertisers of cosmetics companies, so that they spend this money on beauty products. Plastic surgery is the most extreme example of this and any society that finds this acceptable is not a healthy one.
"the fact is that surgery can make people look better and most people want to look better." But what is the definition of 'better'? Why does having big boobs make a woman look better? Why does being skinny make a woman look better? If make-up makes a woman look better then why don't men wear make-up? Surely they want to look better too. The fact is that there is nothing wrong with the way people look naturally. We've learned to feel bad about the way we look, from companies advertising to us, and we've learned to spend huge amounts of money to try and change the way we look. This idea of 'better' is completely false. But these things we've learned, we can unlearn. We can reject the pressure to get plastic surgery and we can be happy with ourselves the way we are.
The owner of the nightclub had, on purpose, advertised the competition in such a way as he felt that "intimating sex was needed to sell Surfers Paradise". So regardless of the fine print stating that the actual prize was $10,000 cash, the posters were created and used in order to sell this idea of 'sex' and physical desire, and were directed towards women. After all, it didn't say "Win a Penis Enlargement OR Boob job worth $10,000". The intention was clear, and the sexist nature of the advertisement is evident. So yes, there was definite bias used in this promotion. It is a competition open to both sexes, but was directed towards females through the slogans shown on many of their advertisements. I'm sure the women in the ad freely chose to do it. Women are entitled to the same choices as men, so if they wish to pose half naked for a poster, it is completely their decision and should not be judged for it... and that goes for anything, and for anyone. The point stated about these women was clear.. they were simply posing half naked in order to promote the image of sexual objectification. No one has the right to critisize anyone for their choices, but these women should be well aware of what they are promoting when they enter such a situation. Many things within society, both right and utterly wrong, have been deemed as socially acceptable. The cosmetic surgery industry feeds off of other's insecurities. We are told that we do not look good enough, so we spend thousand of dollars to achieve a goal which, in essence, has no real point or value. I do agree with you though on your point about focusing on shonky surgeons and expanding knowledge on the matter... there is a mention of this within the article. We as a society like to critisize others for their decisions and choices when it does not suit our own beliefs or ideals. That's not right. However those who undergo plastic surgery should not be the victims of stigmatizing or discrimination. Their is a problem when we are constantly faced with pressure, by popular culture and the mainstream media, to "get work done" in order to look and 'feel' attractive. It's not a matter of getting plastic surgery and being content for the rest of your life... this is not and nor will it ever be the case. Each of us, regardless of what we look like, should not be told or pressured to feel inadequate about are appearance. THIS is what this competition symbolizes and this is what mainstream popular media and culture taunts us with. Rather than focusing on individuals who choose to give into these demands and undergo plastic surgery, we need to look at the bigger picture! The cosmetic surgery is literally raking in money by telling you that if you get 'so and so' done, you will be happy with yourself. The idea of physical beauty is something that we have constructed and unfortunately it is the result of so many people's insecurities and psychological complexes today. THAT'S what we should focus on changing. If you eliminate this desire to fulfill a goal of physicial attractiveness which has successfully been conditioned into the majority of people's minds, then the need for cosmetic surgery will hold less and less value. We are a society based around the idea of achieving happiness... and we feel as though we can achieve it through looking good, being rich etc... but that's not the case. We need to wake up. The longer we allow ourselves to be distracted by such meaningless bullsh*t, the longer it will take for us to focus on the truth, and in essence, what really matters. Thanks for your comment though :) I hope this response illustrates some of the issues you raised :)
completely agree.
Kelly Deligiannis is certainly entitled to her opinion on cosmetic surgery and makes a valid point about the media often glamorising procedures. Surgery is serious business and patients should do their research and make sure they are informed about the risks and possible complications. However, I find her final sweeping statements judgemental and anti-feminist. She says: "It is unfortunate that such a substantial amount of money is wasted every year on cosmetic surgery. For this destructive cycle to end, women must be critical of the materialistic and shallow lies promoted by mainstream media, and awaken to what is truly meaningful and valuable." She belittles other women's choices and promotes her own point of view as fact. She has a responsibility as a journalist to report on the facts, or to make sure she clearly states it is her opinion only.
You have raised a very good point, yet this is just one sect of the ever growing problems with the 'elite' dehumanising society. Physical appearnce has and will always impact on a persons perception of oneself. Whether somebody has plastic surgery done to remove a mole or to enhance a certain part of their body is completely up to them. Therefore the issue is not "Billions wasted on Cosmetic Sugery" but that of brainwashing by Popular Culture. Popular Culture has aways influenced peoples perceptions of the world, and of those around them, therefore when somebody does make a decision to change oneself, it is pychologically motivated, not for oneself but to improves oneselfs image in the eyes of another. The entire "system" created revolves around peoples perception of one another, where judgement is brought down upon someone for their physical appearance, and not their CHARACTER. This "system" created then revolves around money, and therefore when somebody splashes extravagent amounts of money to alter ones image then there is a serious problem in societies morals and values. Over 80% of the Earths population lives on less than $10 us per day, and over 22000 children die each and everyday. So when somebody pays 10k for a breast enlargement it is because the NEWS they watch shows Lady Gaga's latest Fashion Blitz instead of those who are in dire need of help and moreover end up DEAD. So being an INDEPENDENT Journalist please do not focus on the minor issues for that is what the 'elite' want from media to focus on. Instead you must keep educating the people of the 'Bigger Picture', and only then will their eyes open up. You have the power to educate through this medium so do not waste it on issues such as "Plastic Sugery" and begin to open up the masses eyes as to what the 'elite' are doing to society. The 'elite' will not stop until society has completely been dehumanised, so do not let this happen as you can make a difference TODAY! Thanks anyway for the article, try focussing on the big picture and you will make more of a difference then you are currently making. :) Also GREEN LEFT WEEKLY I would love for the opportunity to write some freelance articles for you give me a call on 0401319892 and hopefully we can organise something for there.
Criticizing what a journalist has to say or their reasons for writing an article is not what this is about. Also may I point out the fact that everyone has a mind of their own, these articles are not shoved down your throat, you choose to read it and you can choose to consider what she's said and take in the facts AND opinions stated. I honestly doubt there is an article on here that doesn't have an opinion of the Journalist somewhere within the article. Opinions are just that. Take it or leave it. I think you are missing the point. We don't choose what we see in the media, we have no control over popular culture. Yes, we can choose to an extent what we wish to absorb, but no matter what when I walk down the street I will still see a billboard of a thin, pretty model showing the latest range of fashion. However we DO have a choice in going under the knife. Being an independent Journalist, Kerry was obviously passionate about this particular issue especially with it's ever growing popularity in the recent years, I can understand that this is a very valid and relevant article. Why on earth would she tackle the "larger" issues (which are usually very controversial) when people anonymously put her down for the relevant things she has written. I, for one have seen and heard about things happening in the world everyday, yes, poverty, yes, homelessness. Injustices happen all around the world everyday. Terrible things are happening and I think that sometimes when you get that saturated with depressing information about the horrid things happening in the world, which to an extent you have no control overyou just become desensitized to the facts and are no longer shocked. I, therefore, think this article was in a way a breath of fresh air. She focused on a topic which seems to have dropped off in terms of media coverage, however is still rising in popularity.
I believe that we should be thankful on how God made us. Be natural. Instead on spending money and so much energy trying to alter ourselves "unnaturally", maybe we should focus more on our well being or health and our inner self. Think of others and you won't be conscious or focused on your "flaws".

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