Bridalplasty: For Real?
When my brother-in-law sent me this link to the new E! series, Bridalplasty, my jaw literally dropped. (Side Note: Thanks to all of my lovely friends and family for being self-appointed Nourishing the Soul media watchdogs!)
In case I ever begin to be deluded that society is waking up to the harm caused by popularizing unrealistic versions of beauty, someone please just remind me to turn on the E! network. Or actually, don’t.
In the latest display of stomach-turning “Who came up with this horrific idea?” idiocy, E! has created a show that single-handedly represents all that I hate about reality television: portraying women as back-stabbing bimbos, promoting body-shame, and glamorizing unhealthy ideals and means of achieving them. Throw in the “celebrity” wedding and you’ve got Bridalplasty, the show that pushes the feminist movement back at least sixty years.
If you haven’t seen a trailer for the show, here’s the premise: Engaged women come together in what E! calls the first competition of it’s kind. As the women progress through wedding-themed challenges, they have the opportunity to weekly win one of the surgeries on their “wish list.” The show’s ultimate winner receives the whole she-bang: a total plastic surgery-induced makeover before her big day. In case you wondering about who is performing these procedures, don’t worry – it’s Dr. Terry Dubrow – a surgeon all too familiar with taking a knife to unhappy people’s bodies from his days on Fox’s The Swan.
Consider one of the show’s early challenges. The women are asked to compete in “Puzzle Play,” a game in which they each cover a picture of their old, unsightly selves with puzzle pieces to create an image of how they will appear on their big day – liposuctioned, Botoxed and chopped. If that’s not bad enough, once the puzzle is complete, the ladies are to run over, grab a syringe (no, seriously) and head downstairs for an in-house “injectibles party.” I’m wondering why someone didn’t call the police. Here’s a clip:
The ethical, medical, and psychological implications are simply staggering.
Bridalplasty explicitly places the emphasis of a wedding (which last time I checked involved the celebration of two people’s love, not lipo) on physical appearance – as if the 40 billion dollar per year wedding industry didn’t have enough revenue streams. I have to wonder about the future spouses of the women on this show and their reactions to their bride’s desire to transform themselves for the big day. Will they even recognize their soon-to-be-wife as she walks down the aisle? Will she recognize herself?
The show also promotes plastic surgery as the answer to body dissatisfaction. Call me crazy, but I can think of quite a few less expensive and less medically invasive ways to love your body. No nipping or tucking involved. Just like dieting, plastic surgery is not the key to a rocking body and often ends up leaving people feeling disappointed and dissatisfied. I’ll tell you the key to a rocking body. Confidence.
And I can’t forget to rant a bit about the way in which these types of shows play on women’s insecurities and body shame to rev up feelings of competition. Oh so cleverly, the producers turn all of that self-hate from being directed inward to being directed toward the girl in the next room. Suddenly we have a house full of screaming, angry women flailing at each other, when the issue is really that these women don’t know where to go with all of the shame and anger they feel for their bodies.
Okay, I think I can breathe again. I’d love to hear your thoughts, though. Share your reactions in the comments!