Suffering for Beauty

Brazil’s 4,700 miles of coastline and Brazilian men’s preference for women with large, curvy bottoms have made butt-enhancing cosmetic surgery common in Brazils cities. One of two methods is used: taking fat from the thighs and injecting it into the buttocks or inserting implants to create a fuller rear. In Asia, the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery, called the "hitch and stitch," creates a fold above each eye to make a woman’s eyes look rounder and more "Western." Women in South Africa who consider lighter skin to be the ideal of beauty use bleaching creams and soaps containing a substance that has been

banned for causing skin damage and dis­figurement (Jones, 2003).

Personal ads in China often specify height—the taller the better. Hundreds of women each year undergo surgeries to increase their leg length so they will be 2 to 4 inches taller. A team of five surgeons spends 3 hours sawing, drilling, and ham­mering; then a frame is secured around the leg with screws drilled through the leg and into the bone. The frame forces the leg to lengthen while the bone regenerates—a process that takes at least 1 year.