Home Beauty It’s Time to Just Say NO to Trendy Body Parts

It’s Time to Just Say NO to Trendy Body Parts

by Erika Nicole Kendall

So, basically this is Vogue x J.Lo, Round Two:

Surgeons say stars who celebrate their cabooses are fueling the surge, but critics contend it’s medical marketing that has convinced some Americans they need posterior padding at the cost of thousands of dollars and physical risks.

“Everywhere you look in the media, butts are in,” said Dr. Scott Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

His group’s data, extrapolated from surveys of 953 doctors, found silicone implants for the rear-end nearly doubled to 1,863 nationwide between 2013 and 2014. A less invasive operation that transplants fat removed from elsewhere on the body, dubbed the Brazilian, rose 15% to more than 11,000 procedures.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, another trade group that surveyed 901 doctors, found an even bigger increase. Both kinds of augmentations nearly doubled, from 11,527 of both types of procedures in 2013 to 21,446 last year.

“It’s social media,” said Dr. Michael Edwards, the society’s president. “The Kim Kardashians and the Jennifer Lopezes.” [source]

It’s worth nothing that the fat transfer surgery – the one that Kim, Khloe, and now apparently younger sister Kylie have all received – doubled.

A photo posted by Kylizzle (@kyliejenner) on

And, because I do this all the time, I have to point out that those with the money and resources to get the procedure done safely (“safely” being used rather loosely, here) are overwhelmingly getting the fat transfer procedure. The back alley procedures – the ones causing all the problems – are involving some kind of oily injection with dire consequences.

If there is a safe procedure to be had, it’s not the soybean oil injections that are so popular in hotel rooms and “booty parties.” But onward:

A Miami surgeon, Dr. Constantino Mendieta, said that a decade ago, butt augmentation was about 10 percent of his practice; now it’s 95 percent.

The trend toward fat-grafting — as opposed to implants, which had a 30 percent complication rate in one 2013 study — has attracted more patients, Mendieta said. So have bigger-bottomed celebs like pop star Iggy Azalea, who released a song titled “Booty” with J.Lo last year.

“I’m seeing women 17 all the way up to 70,” he said. “It’s big in the nursing homes,” he added with a hearty laugh.

Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Iggy Azalea… I’ll come back to this.

Rita Perez, 52, an entrepreneur who lives in Miami, said that after Mendieta performed a Brazilian on her behind in 2012, she had to live with four fluid drains for about a week and then could not sleep on her back or sit without a pillow for almost two months.

The inconvenience — and the $10,000 she spent — was worth it, she said.

“I’m from Cuba and I was always so concerned that God didn’t give me that good behind,” she said. “Now when I look in the mirror I go ‘goo goo gaga’ with myself…it looks like a guitar.”

Her new curves made quite an impression — on her then-21-year-old daughter, who got the same operation a year ago. “She was not blessed with nice buttocks,” Perez said. “She took after me.”

Despite what we might think about the decision to get this kind of surgery in your late 40s/early 50s, I don’t know that there’s a single woman on this Earth who has ever had the privilege of looking in the mirror without thinking “I would be so much better if I had [x] quality” at least once in their lives. We can empathize with that emotion, if nothing else.

What I want to point out, here…is the effect it had on her daughter, and how it led a woman whose body is still growing to make this kind of leap.

I wrote about this phenomenon for NPR last year, this idea that “the booty” is a “trend” now thanks to Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian and Iggy Azalea and all these other here-and-now type celebrities. I get that. Believe it or not, I do. A weird combination of advertorials – major publications publishing advertisements for a person, place, or thing (like a song, perhaps?) but disguising them as editorials and op-eds – mingling together with the “Strong is the New Skinny” message that has women like Jen Selter making “thin and lean with glorious squat booty and squat thighs” a thing has resulted in this space where booty has caught the eye of the mainstream.


It’s truly worth noting that there were women who pioneered the idea of loving the backsides they were born with – or eventually developed post baby, post-puberty, post-pasta, post-whatever… even in spite of curves and booty not being “trendy.” Not because they wanted to be counter-cultural, but because they realize that these bodies were who they are and didn’t want to live in shame. That this once shamed part of their bodies is now trendy now makes things difficult – once the mainstream has moved on to the next weird body part fixation, they will be left with “last season’s booty.”

I have a suggestion.

Maybe it’s time we start to think about how our collective fixation on body parts and “trendy” appearances affects us all and, once we realize the harm it does directly or indirectly, decide to disengage. Just start saying NO to trendy body parts. Make it trendy – and, for that matter, always in style – to love the body you were born with, and pass that ability to love it on down to your daughters. Pass that ability to love women for who they are down to your children.

There are entire cultures that celebrate curvaceous women. It is not a trend for them. It is what they are raised around, what they grew up embracing and placing on pedestals as the symbol of beauty in their eyes. It isn’t a trend to them, and it shouldn’t be a trend for anyone. It’s hard enough for women, like the one mentioned earlier, to learn to embrace themselves in the face of having a body that is both out of sync with what mainstream society likes and what her respective culture might find desirable. Turning body parts into trends results in women feeling unhappy unless they manipulate themselves – usually with great pain – until they achieve the desired result.

Body parts aren’t fashion, and it’s high time we stopped treating them like such. Not just because it’s cruel and unusual, but because it’s sexist and irresponsible. From the writers penning the pieces, to the women who look longingly at magazine covers wishing for something that isn’t. This isn’t the place from which healthy growth and change can come. Just say no, sis. I promise you – it isn’t worth it.

PS: Because I can’t resist….the lack of mention of black women in contributing to this booty craze, but the inclusion of a Latina, when both cultures have pro-curve stances rubs me the absolute wrong way.

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1 comment

Naa-Dei March 3, 2015 - 11:44 PM

It seems that attributes commonly found in the in the African-American community are seen as “good/popular/edgy” when Caucasians take it over i.e. full lips, curvaceous bodies, dreadlocks. I could go on. Yes it irks me the wrong way when the society we live in continuous to dismiss us when it suits them.

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