Thursday, January 26, 2006

yes, the picture is completely real

This poor woman Lolo Ferrari is now dead from an overdose of prescription drugs. She underwent 18 cosmetic surgeries. She became a porn star at a young age and as you can see, had many breast enlargements. This photo is not altered. Today over 2 thousand websites are dedicated to labioplasty, a surgery for women who want to make their crotch look younger by cutting off labial lips.

The following article is from:
Saturday July 2, 2005 The Guardian

"Shoes," Sheila Jeffreys says, "are almost becoming torture instruments. During a woman's daily make-up ritual, on average she will expose herself to more than 200 synthetic chemicals before she has morning coffee. Regular lipstick wearers will ingest up to four and a half kilos during their lifetime." We are talking about Jeffreys' latest book, Beauty And Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices In The West, and she is in full flow about the horrors of what she calls "the brutality of beauty".
Jeffreys is pursuing her 30-odd-year mission to shift women out of their collective complacency. Beauty And Misogyny is her sixth book. Like the others, its central theme is an exploration of the use of sexuality by men to dominate women. Much of it is spent arguing that beauty practices - from make-up to breast implants - should be redefined as harmful cultural practices, rather than being seen as a liberating choice.
In Jeffreys' latest book, she questions why the beauty industry is expanding, and why liberal feminists should see a virtue in women having the power to choose practices that a few years back were condemned as oppressive. The critique of beauty practices, written about by Dworkin in Women Hating, in 1974, has today all but disappeared, making way for procedures that "break skin and spill blood".
The history of the beauty industry is threaded through the book. Cosmetics have been used to alter appearance for thousands of years, sometimes exclusively by prostitutes and others deemed disreputable, other times as a political gesture. The suffragettes fought for the right to look and dress as they saw fit, some wearing red lipstick as a symbol of feminine defiance. After the second world war, a shortage of men meant that women tried hard to look as attractive as possible in the hope of getting a husband, and make-up became, Jeffreys argues, "a requirement that women could not escape, rather than a sign of liberation".
She has taken on a tough battle: the cosmetics industry is bigger than ever (in Brazil, for example, there are more Avon ladies than members of the armed forces). And she has taken on broader targets, too. The sex industry, the misogyny of fashion, what she calls the "mutilation" of transgender surgery and the dangers of sexual libertarianism are all seen by Jeffreys as intrinsically linked to the beauty industry.
In the chapter on cosmetic surgery, she looks at the growing pressure on women to conform to models of femininity derived directly from the sex industry, such as having trimmed labia and Brazilian waxed pubic hair. "Men's desire for bigger and bigger breasts, and clothes commonly associated with prostitution, has resulted from the mass consumption of pornography."

Jeffreys can always be relied upon to back up her arguments by unearthing facts that are both disturbing and hard to believe. She cites one example of a porn actor who sold bits of her genitals to "fans" over the internet after a labiaplasty operation. She points to studies that have found significantly higher rates of suicide among women who have had breast implants. The latest, conducted in 2003 by the International Epidemiology Institute of Rockville and funded by Dow Corning Corp, a former maker of silicone gel breast implants, included a study of 2,166 women, some of whom received implants as long as 30 years ago. Dow Corning also funded an earlier Swedish study, which examined 3,521 women with implants, and found the suicide rate to be three times higher than normal.
There are other unwanted effects. Nipples can lose sensation and, in extreme cases, rot and fall off; stomach stapling can cause severe swelling in the pubic area; and liposuction can leave a patient in serious pain. A number of women have died after surgery, while others have been left in permanent discomfort.
Jeffreys argues that many male fashion designers are "projecting their misogyny on to the bodies of women", and gives examples of collections featuring images based on sexual violence - Alexander McQueen's show for his masters degree was entitled Jack The Ripper, and depicted bloodied images of Victorian prostitutes. A later show in 1995, Highland Rape, featured staggering, half-naked, brutalised models. And John Galliano, in his 2003 collection for Christian Dior, Hard Core Romance, used the imagery of sadomasochism, putting his models in seven-inch heels and rubber suits "so tight they had to use copious amounts of talcum powder to fit into them".
"One notable difference in fashion shows in the past 10 years is that the models are required to show more and more of their bodies," says Jeffreys. "Some are posed to look as though they are about to engage in fellatio. Pole dancing is now a staple of some fashion events."
For Jeffreys, the last thing women should be doing once they achieve a semblance of choice is returning to practices imposed on them during darker periods. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, for example, beauty clinics opened up all over the country, offering cosmetics as an antidote to the enforced wearing of the burka. "You'd have thought the women would have had other things to worry about," she sighs.
She likens cosmetic surgery such as labiaplasty and breast implants to female genital mutilation. She concedes the distinction that genital mutilation is carried out on children who have no choice in the matter, "but the liberal view of choice, which is that women can now 'choose' to engage in harmful, oppressive actions, does not make the practice of slicing up women's genitals to please men any less vile". As Jeffreys points out, hymen repair surgery, which is available through the public health service in the Netherlands, is sought not only by women whose cultures require them to be virgins when they marry, but also by western women whose partners wish to penetrate a tighter vagina.
Jeffreys unearthed some frightening facts - for example, a Home Office paper claiming that BSE can be transmitted through beauty products because many contain bits of dead animal. Breast implants can contain brain, fat, placenta and spleen. A link between hair dye and bladder cancer was discovered in a US study of 3,000 women who use such products regularly, and formaldehyde, found in nail polish, shampoos and hair-growth preparations, has been outlawed in Sweden and Japan, with the EU allowing its use only in small, regulated quantities.
There is much evidence that children are being targeted by the beauty industry. Kiss Products, a cosmetic retailer, has joined forces with Disney to promote lip gloss and nail polish kits through licensed animated characters. Proctor & Gamble is looking to market its Cover Girl cosmetic range to eight- to 10-year-old girls by making the use of make-up resemble game playing. "It is not only the cosmetic industry that is recruiting young customers," says Jeffreys. "It is becoming more common for young women from affluent families to be given breast implants for their 18th birthday."
Again, she blames the fashion industry. "Some designers are using 12-year-old girls in shows because their bodies are perfect to show off the type of clothing being peddled at the moment. Many men are sexually excited by this look, and the industry exploits this." Parisian designer Stella Cadente used models as young as nine in her 2001 show; it was reported that they wore "plunging necklines and high hemlines". And, Jeffreys points out, Cadente is not alone in using child models in the world of fashion.
Jeffreys maintains that transsexual surgery is an extension of the beauty industry offering cosmetic solutions to deeper rooted problems. She argues that in a society in which there was no such thing as gender, there would be no need to undergo such surgery.
She tells me she will never give up. "I cannot imagine living without a purpose of changing the world for the better. It gives life meaning. It is more urgent now than ever. No liberation is possible for women in a world in which inequality is sexy."

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