Is Barbie Back?

This set of clips from Judith Woods will take some finesse to discuss, but here we go: Is the rise of plastic surgery for women an indicator that Barbie-dom is back?

Is there a woman alive over 40 who hasn’t stood in front of the mirror and pulled her brow upwards, her cheeks sideways or her décolletage inwards and wistfully admired the fleeting transformation, before gravity takes hold again?

It used to be a potent combination of common sense, cost and social stigma that stopped femmes d’un certain âge turning cosmetic surgery fantasies into reality. But no more.

An estimated million-plus women are resorting to medical procedures in a bid to, if not turn back time per se, then at the very least suspend it, one unnervingly immobilised wrinkle at a time.

The controversy over the removal and replacement of sub-standard breast implants has thrown a spotlight on to the extent to which women in Britain have come to rely on the surgeon’s knife for their sense of personal worth or professional marketability….

“Barbie isn’t just back – she has taken over the world,” is the crisp analysis from Dr Alessia Ciani, consultant psychiatrist at the independent Capio Nightingale hospital in London. “Women are predisposed to feeling conscious about their appearance; since earliest times, men’s power has resided in money, women’s in their appearance, and as we all live longer, there’s a great pressure on women to maintain a stereotypical image of youthfulness.”…

Blame Barbie, blame the tacky profusion of tabloid magazines, the lowest-common-denominator television encapsulated by The Only Way is Essex and the overtly sexualised gyrating on Strictly and The X Factor, where contestants must undergo obligatory teeth whitening before their talent can be exposed.

At some point the buck stops with us. We must ask ourselves what has made us so uncomfortable in our skins that we crave – and, crucially – have normalised, dermabrasion and liposuction, scalpels and trout pouts.



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  • T

    I know in my county of Palm Beach there seems to have been a dramatic rise in the use of elective plastic surgery in the last decade. It is no longer just an upper-class option either.

  • PLTK

    Well, I always knew I was a bit strange–but I am a women over 40 and have never done that. Not that there haven’t been times I have noted how I have changed, but honestly, I wish I had my 20 year old back more than my 20 year old face.

  • PLTK

    arggghh. “I am a woman”

  • JohnM

    In America I’ve just chalked it up to idolization of youth and consequent refusal to grow up, let alone grow old. Thing is, ultimatley there’s no refusing the latter.

  • DRT

    Come on, men’s power in money? Look at the Romney vs. Obama race, money or looks?