Not very long ago my husband and I were having a 'haven't things changed' conversation. On this occasion we were discussing the British diet. "Do you remember when the staple evening meal was bangers and mash", I asked. 'Yes' he replied reminiscing , " and takeaways consisted of fish and chips, with or without mushy peas". "Ah how times have changed" we chorused.
After watching 'Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth' last week, I was left with the depressing realisation that while our society is embracing the variety of foods that the different cultures bring to the British melting pot; it is at the same time, trying to turn everyone into one homogenised physical form. The idealised form is essentially the Westernised depiction of beauty; namely white, tall, slim, full breasted (but not too full), with moderate amounts of body hair on males etc. The phenomena of trying to look like another race (white), often via cosmetic surgery, is known as deracialization .
The problem with this ideology is that we are not all the same. As human beings, our genetic makeup ensures that we come in an array of different colours, heights, body shapes, weights and even hairiness. Some physical features are associated with a one ethnic group, while other features are associated with another group.
Asian men are often shorter than white men, yet the film depicted a Malaysian man contemplating radical leg lengthening surgery in the hope of gaining 4-6 inches in height. Why? He said that people 'made fun' of him and made him 'feel insecure'.
A full figured black women with large breasts wanted to be 'like Victoria Beckham'. She underwent a breast reduction, despite fearing death and leaving her children without a mother. She is now preparing for a breast lift and is also planning a tummy tuck.
They were followed by a AA cup Chinese lady who wanted to 'look like white women' and feel 'less of an outsider' by having bigger breasts.
Finally we saw a middle eastern man endure laser surgery to remove his 'unnecessary hair'.
The plastic surgeon explained his understanding of the rationale behind deracialization. "We live in a global society and it is normal that we are influenced by different civilisation and cultural variables...... We are essentially thinking loudly about a common race, one that is better than any existing race and cosmetic surgery is contributing to this goal".
I think it is a tragedy that across the globe people are rejecting the very essence of who they are, both racially and culturally, in order to obtain the unobtainable. And even if it was possible for us all to be Western in appearance; what a tragedy for humanity that would be.
I fully intend to watch part 2 and expect to be left with an equally bitter taste in my mouth.