This week, The Hollywood Reporter featured a beauty story reporting on a new trend in cosmetic surgery for women: gummy bears.

Or, more specifically, breast implants that are (somewhat horrifyingly) being called “gummy bears,” not because that’s how they’re shaped or what they’ll leave your mammaries looking like, but because they are as firm as they are gelatinous and pliant and, more importantly, because they’re small.I-segreti-per-un-seno-tonico-e-sodo9

“We were never supposed to have half-melons for breasts,” Dr. Lisa Cassileth, an L.A. cosmetic surgeon, told THR. “Many of the women who got Ds are now downsizing, particularly those who have had kids. They’re having buyer’s remorse.”

On the one hand, the knee-jerk reaction to this children’s candy-themed trend in breast augmentation may be celebratory, considering the pervasive conversation surrounding breast augmentation — the type resulting in a pair of pneumatic knockers — has been to decry it as a byproduct of patriarchal expectations and not possibly a thing that any woman would do as an exercise of personal agency, in an attempt to bolster self-confidence. But hold that thought. In the same breath as it posits B-sized boobs as the new black, THR points out that the prevailing trend in cosmetic surgery has not only been a move away from massive mammaries but one towards larger posteriors; so while women are sizing down up top, they’re supersizing down below.

The idealized body is the mother of invention as far as cosmetic surgery is concerned

This switch has — since Vogue declared 2014 the year of the butt — been lauded as a move towards celebrating a more realistic body shape. As though the Kim Kardashians of the world were simply born that way; as though, prior to Kardashian, Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Lopez, no culture on earth had ever considered pear-shaped bodies desirable; as though there are set parameters regarding what is and is not realistic in the context of the shape of the female body. But more than anything, it’s — like gummy boobs or whatever — a case of body-shape-as-trend.

Women (and men!) make changes to their bodies for a number of reasons. Some are certainly more organic and apparently more difficult to demonize — like a year at the gym or six weeks on a cleanse — than others. And while the idealized body is the mother of invention as far as cosmetic surgery is concerned, therein lies the rub: synthetic big butts and gummy bear boobs are no more a product of beauty ideals turning towards a more realistic standard than the larger implants of yore.

That’s because in both cases, they are simply a reflection of a physicality that is currently in fashion. This itself is an idea as old as time: you may have seen a popular BuzzFeed video that depicts a history of ideal body types throughout history, dating from from Ancient Egypt and the Han Dynasty to today where, the video points out, “women regularly get plastic surgery to achieve their ideal look.”

The trouble here is that a body shape can be trendy

The trouble here isn’t the surgery itself so much as the idea that a body shape can be trendy and, as soon as it falls out of style, should be discarded and replaced, like so many pairs of distressed jeans. It’s a symptom of the commodification of women’s bodies that results in stories like the one in THR in the first place. After all, this is the same culture that once had the entire world speculating on the dollar amount of Jennifer Lopez’s butt. Individual body parts are discussed as though they’re accessories rather than flesh and blood components of an actual human being, as interchangeable and modifiable as they are up for public discussion as indicators of wealth and status: one unnamed source told the Hollywood Reporter that, after she had a cosmetic procedure, one of the moms at her children’s school “asked me if I was taking up pole dancing.”

If bodies can themselves be fashionable, why not apply to them the tested and true adage that trends come and go, but style — loving the skin you’re in or the skin you’ve paid for, so long as it satisfies you in some way — lasts forever? It won’t be long before some THR piece touts a new movement in cosmetic surgery, ousting gummy bears and plump derrieres as the shapes-du-jour as women and men pontificate on the value, perceived and otherwise, of having a certain shape. And when that day comes, those who have those things — or have bought them — ought not to fret. If being on-trend is a primary concern, it’s best to keep in mind that fashion is cyclical.

 

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