Cosmetic surgery can do a lot for a person’s self-confidence. Take Khloé Kardashian, who admitted she loves her nose job and regretted not getting it done sooner. But recently a wave of celebrities have come out saying that they either regret their surgery or have had cosmetic procedures reversed. Bella Hadid spoke about getting a nose job at fourteen and now wishes she kept ‘the nose of her ancestors’. Victoria Beckham wrote to her younger self advising against getting breast implants. Molly-Mae Hague documented her reversal of cosmetic procedures in 2021, wanting to embrace a more natural look. There appears to be a shift in people’s attitudes to cosmetic surgery and whether it truly is the one-size-fits-all solution.
This recent shift in mindset comes after an explosion of cosmetic surgery over recent years. With the rise of social media, it became very easy for anyone to become an influencer highlighting aesthetic lifestyles, glamorous outfits, and the body to match. Editing photographs became a skill that anyone with a phone could master, to get the perfect picture to share with whoever they choose. However, with this ability came the realisation that if you have the means, you can forgo the editing process – enhancing your features in real life through cosmetic surgery.
One of the most prominent and talked-about surgeries in the past few years is the Brazilian Butt Lift, or ‘BBL’. The procedure distributes fat from other parts of the patient’s body into the derrière. Widely seen as a natural way to enhance someone’s behind without plastic inserts, it was then achievable to gain a figure similar to celebrities such as Kim Kardashian if you had the funds. The procedure, as well as the slim-thick body type, exploded with popularity on social media. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), a global survey of procedures conducted in 2019 showed that buttock surgery had the highest growth among all surgical procedures, with a 77.6% increase in butt lifts between 2015 and 2019.
Procedures of all kinds inevitably slowed in 2020. Potentially, people were starting to find out the unexpected side effects of BBLs. Whilst the BBL became the fastest growing procedure in those four years, it also became the most fatal, with an estimated one in every 3,000 procedures resulting in death. Many people documenting their BBL journeys told stories of their pain and how they wished they knew what it would entail beforehand. Yet, despite this pain, they all achieved the results they desired – a slim-thick body shape without the need for editing.
However, there seems to be a change in the desired body type – this being for people to embrace their natural selves. A number of reasons contribute to this, such as celebrity influences and the body-positivity and neutrality movements (the former focusing on positive sentiments about your body no matter what, the latter appreciating your body for how it performs rather than how it looks). Also, criticisms of the slim-thick trend argue that it appropriates the bodies of Black and Latina women without acknowledging any of the struggles they have gone through. Perhaps it is a combination of these factors, as well as the fact that this ‘trend’ of body type is slowly running its course.
As trends change every twenty years or so, perhaps soon the desired body type will be that of the 90s and 2000s: slimmer, toned bodies. But if this is the way that the trend will sway, I hope that the body positivity and neutrality movements persist with it, alongside an emphasis on maintaining a healthy body regardless of how it looks.