Why Chasing Body Type "Trends" Is Actually Harmful
If you've spent time on social media over the past few weeks, you may have noticed some conversations surrounding the "end of the BBL era." After Kim Kardashian was criticized for losing 16 pounds to fit into Marilyn Monroe's dress for the Met Gala, fans of the star also noticed that she and Khloé Kardashian seemed to be much less curvy in general. This prompted people to declare that the "end" of the BBL era has arrived and that longer, more lean silhouettes were back in style.
Here's the problem with that: body types should not be trends, especially when you have to drastically, and sometimes surgically, alter your appearance to achieve said trend. While Kim Kardashian has become a full-fledged beauty icon in her own right, what she chooses to do with her body should never be a signal for what all body types should look like en masse. Not only is society at large not always fully privy to the medical doctors celebrities have access to and treatments they have undergone, but the everyday person also might not understand the risks and upkeep that come with such plastic surgeries.
"These procedures are often invasive, involve incisions, anesthesia, and can result in complications," plastic surgeon Smita Ramanadham M.D., F.A.C.S., tells POPSUGAR. "They can even result in death, especially in regards to BBLs."
So what exactly causes people to want to chase the "perfect" body? Exposure, for one. "As a culture, we are constantly exposed to 'perfect' bodies," director of behavioral health at hims & hers, Beth Pausic, Psy. D, tells POPSUGAR. "We don't see what it takes to achieve that perfection. It can be a combination of genetics, extreme diets and exercise, cosmetic and surgical procedures. From a mental health perspective, it can be psychologically damaging to an individual."
Consistently trying to chase a perfect body image can lead to low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, disordered eating, and full-fledged eating disorders. Dissatisfaction with a major cosmetic surgery can lead to even lower self esteem than before the surgery. But in the age of social media, where people seemingly make it a point to showcase only the glittery versions of their lives, body included, you may be wondering how to resist the urge to compare your own to megastars like the Kardashians.
The truth is, it's worth trying. "Body acceptance is a process to work toward and can take time to achieve acceptance and a more positive outlook," she says. Dr. Pausic has a few tips, like being aware of negative self-talk about your body. Examples might include statements like: "when I lose these last 15 pounds, then I can start dating or be happier." Try and be conscious when those thoughts bubble to the surface and remind yourself of the positive things about yourself, extending outside of your appearance. Taking a break from social media can also be helpful if you've noticed the images you are consuming daily cause you to feel the need to compare.
Should you want to surgically alter your appearance, that's OK — but it's important that it's a choice that you make for yourself and not because of any pop culture "trends."
"Undergoing a plastic surgery procedure is a very personal decision and ultimately should address a concern that you have and have been thinking about addressing for an extended period of time," Dr. Ramanadham says. "Your decision should never be based on what other people are doing." You should also take the time to do research and have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss any questions or concerns, as well as all possible outcomes of the surgery. These conversations should provide an understanding of your own goals and provide clarity on expectations you have regarding your results.
Whether it's the end of the BBL era or not, the fact is: the only person that should be influencing your decisions when it comes to your body should be yourself. It can be difficult, especially when it can feel impossible to escape the opinion of others, but there's only one you — own that. Whether you decide to surgically enhance parts of your body or not, make sure that the decision is one that you are confident in and want for yourself first, regardless of the latest look trending on Instagram.