By Mariam Nihal
What used to be a cult or for those who represented an opulent lifestyle, plastic surgery is now hugely popular among teenage girls, young adults and women alike in the Middle East. Many doctors believe it is due to incredible social pressure to ‘look attractive’ but the truth is, that in itself is a first world problem and the bigger problem is, now everyone looks the same.
Even the way women apply make up is exactly the same.
This poses a series of questions. Who are we and what are we trying to be?
Earlier, this could only be said about Lebanon. But now great doctors have spread across the Middle East creating knock out results making us feel like Michelangelo wasn’t the only one with the craft.
So lets rewind and bring in one of the major teen influences that sparked this trend.
Everyone knows Kylie Jenner has “inspired” the big-fuller-lips trend prior to launching her commercially successful brand from Kylie cosmetics. The business motive is clear, for those who missed it.
Lets just admit to ourselves that first and foremost she is not an ordinary girl and knowing the Kardashians and Jenners aren’t either, we hate to be the ones to break the news but you can’t become one of them by imitating their decisions.
Secondly, marketing wise it was a brilliant strategy. A girl quoted as having ‘barely any lips’ made a fortune selling her liquid matte lipsticks to young girls who wanted their lips to look like her fake ones. Since we are on this mystical ride discovering such realms, we also need to understand that just because someone in the West does it does not automatically make it the universal law we must practice. If we are okay with this, then we can understand why there has to be a difference between how we operate.
But of course, this is not the way it works. In no order of preference, the Arab countries picked it up. From Lebanon- the plastic beauty capital to Dubai and Saudi Arabia, things took a sharp turn when 16 year-old bloggers from the region started getting their lips done. In fact a 13-year-old was the youngest girl to be reported as having asked for plastic surgery in the UAE in 2015. So we went from ‘too embarrassed to talk about it’ to ‘use Promocode XXX to get a discount from my favorite plastic surgeon’.
We aren’t implying that plastic surgery should be used only to fix defects but the view that it is totally acceptable for 16-23 year olds to change their appearance, as a pervasive trend is absolutely questionable.
There are a few questions.
To begin with, where are your parents? Actually a rising number of moms now encourage the trend. It is just another household subject.
In local clinics in Jeddah, Dubai, Beirut and around the Middle East, women and young girls visit clinics on a daily basis for Botox, fillers, nose jobs, breast augmentation, liposuction and facelifts which are the most popular treatments in the region. Bloggers will in fact fight this whole thing by saying “but I go to a dermatologist so I am not going under the knife.’ So before this argument becomes a futile one, the point is no matter what you use, invasive or not, the fact is you have changed the dimensions of your appearance, in other words- the way you look.
So the last question would be, is it absolutely essential to have the same lips, nose shape, jaw line and cheek bones as pretty much everyone else you follow on social media? How else would you fit in? In fact you might just stand out. Does that mean pretty soon when we are all cloned, the person who retains their original features will stand out? Will being you be cool in the future?