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It's About Time We Talk About the Body Dysmorphia to BBL Pipeline

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Years ago I wrote a story called “Black Girls Get Eating Disorders, Too.”

It detailed my struggle with body dysmorphia and eating disorders due to a certain nuanced stigma specifically associated around Black women’s bodies. What I didn’t say was at the time I was casually and secretly looking into body surgery.

Being 26, I was raised during Y2K skinny culture, then as I hit puberty the narrative started shifting and the “ideal body type” (gag) changed from super skinny to curvy hourglass.

Songs, media, influencers, and celebrities reinforced this “slim thick” body type. They started getting surgery to gain it without being transparent, claiming that they worked out and that’s how they gained their curves. The goal for a lot of people became gaining that perfect peach booty and companies told you how – eat these foods, do these leg day variations, waist trainers, teas, detoxes, lollipops, the list goes on. If all else failed, there was also the elusive Brazilian butt lift (BBL) surgery.

Some people could afford the expensive surgery here in the United States, but other people decided to travel to other countries to get more affordable surgeries. Then there were people who were so passionate about having a snatched waist and “fat” ass, that they resorted to backyard surgeries that are potentially life-threatening. Cardi B detailed how dangerous and painful her illegal butt injections were. In July 2017, a woman in New York was killed by her botched butt injections. In March that same year, a phony Florida doctor was charged with manslaughter for the same thing. 

I remember back then, getting a BBL seemed like a solution. I would look at myself, only to look at undisclosed BBL bodies yearning for that specific look, but I couldn’t afford a trip to Build-a-Body, so my body image-related depression worsened. 

For the record, I want to note I’m not anti-surgery. You should be able to do whatever you want with your body. Go forth and get that nip-and-tuck or stay natural. Your body, your choice. That being said, I do firmly believe there’s a direct correlation between my body dysmorphia, society’s love of ass, and my consideration of going under the knife before my body had even “fully” developed. 

However, I’m nervous when I think of young folk whose bodies haven’t developed completely into adulthood, making decisions like that based on societal trends that will shift and change, only to serve as a reminder that you will never be good enough. My consideration of going under the knife wasn’t because I really hated myself, but rather that I felt like I wasn’t “good enough” in the eyes of the world. I thought no one would think I was attractive if I didn’t have that boom bam booty.

The problem isn’t openly promoting body enhancement surgeries. It’s lying about them, or making people feel that they are lesser than unless they have one specific body type. It’s damaging for a lot of people, especially the body dysmorphia and eating disorder crew who already struggle with body image issues. 

Like I said, I’m pro-choice in every way and that includes surgery, but when you’re a celebrity or influencer with a large following and you’re not honest about a body type you’re capitalizing off of and pushing, you are actively harming people. 

Go get your surgery and live your best life, or don’t and rock what your mama gave you. Love what you have or take that power and make it what you want, but make sure it’s actually what you want, and not what you feel you should have in order to be valid and worthy in the eyes of others.  

Getty image by Yadira G. Morel

Originally published: May 6, 2022
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