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«A Dissertation submitted in Partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Design (Hons) Laura Hall Graphic Design Number of ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

The Effect and Influence of The Media on Society and The Drive To Perfection

Through Cosmetic Surgery.

A Dissertation submitted in Partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree

of Bachelor of Design (Hons)

Laura Hall

Graphic Design

Number of words in Main Body of Dissertation: 7,692

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

The University of Dundee

Dundee, Scotland

December 2011

Contents Page

Section

Page

List of Figures

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Chapter 1 - Living in a Media Led World

Chapter 2 - The Rise of the ʻWanna-beʼ Celebrity Culture

Chapter 3 - The Psychology Behind Cosmetic Surgery

Chapter 4 - The Pressures Behind Cosmetic Surgery

Chapter 5 - Are People Happy with the Outcome of Their Surgery

Chapter 6 - What Makes People Go Back for More

Conclusion

Bibliography

Appendices

List of Figures Figure Page Figure 1 Post Surgery Photograph 2009 (Personal Photograph)

Figure 2 - Before and After Photograph, 13 June 2009 and 26 May 2011 (Personal Photograph)

Figure 3 Bella May 2011, Cosmopolitan June 2011 and Woman May 2011 (Cited from Bella, Cosmopolitan and Woman Magazine Cover)

Figure 4 - Redbook Magazine Cover, July 2007, Before and After Re-touched Image (Cited from Jezebel.com)

Figure 5 - Before Tummy Tuck Surgery (Cited from Justmedrazilandsheniqua.com)

Figure 6 Post Tummy Tuck Surgery (Cited from Justmedrazilandsheniqua.com)

Figure 7 Scarring, 4 Months Post Surgery (Cited from Justmedrazilandsheniqua.com)

Figure 8 Swelling, 4 Months Post Surgery (Cited from Justmedrazilandsheniqua.com)

–  –  –

Having undergone a Facial Reconstruction Operation, the result of a medical recommendation, I know only too well the feeling of coming out of surgery and being horrified with what I was faced with when looking in the mirror for the first time. The reflection of the person I saw was not the face Iʼd known for 19 years, there was a total stranger looking back at me. All I could think of was ʻWhat have I done?ʼ For a while I was critical and upset at the way I looked post-surgery, this feeling soon started to pass as the healing process got underway and I was able to come to terms with my new appearance. Over time I really began to appreciate what the surgeons had done for me.

–  –  –

I fought through my recovery with some good, some bad and some simply horrible days. At times I woke up in such agony I would be kicking myself for having decided to go ahead with the surgery. This made me question why people put themselves through such extremities purely for vanity reasons, I cannot think of anything worse. I therefore choose to explore exactly what drove people to this life changing decision. Such a

–  –  –

The Media has a large part to play in the Cosmetic Surgery Industry and as a Graphic Designer with an anti-cosmetic surgery attitude, I would like to help young people understand that these procedures are life changing and not a decision that should be taken lightly.

–  –  –

I would like to thank the following people for their guidance over the past eight months, without their support and knowledge the completion of this dissertation would not have been possible. Andrew Pelc for his time, patience, reassurance and ability to answer my list of never ending questions. Hamid Van Koten for his help through the early stages of planning and preparation. My Classmates for keeping me in good spirit throughout the year. Everyone who took part in my questionnaires and interviews. A very special thank you to my surgeon Dr Nicholas Hamersley for his wonderful reconstructive work. And finally to my Mum, Dad and Sister for their continued support.

–  –  –

Cosmetic surgery was practiced as early as the First World War when ʻartistic repairsʼ were used on soldiers who had fought in the war. Doctor Kenneth Dickie, a veteran plastic surgeon, talks of the birth of plastic surgery being during the first world war, ʻthis is where we saw so many of the people that may have had gunshot wounds to the face and things of that nature and this is where plastic surgery really began coming into its own,ʼ (Surgeon-Directory, 2008).

Over the years advancements in the techniques used for cosmetic surgery have evolved and now stretch to people wanting surgery in the name of vanity alone. Some of the new techniques that have revolutionised present day cosmetic surgery are skin grafting, micro surgery and pre-tissue transfer.

The main objective in this dissertation is to produce a thorough examination, explanation and analysis of the direct and indirect influences of the Media on the Cosmetic Surgery Industry. I aim to do this through individual interviews and questionnaires to get a clear understanding of thoughts, feelings and decisions. A selection of television and magazine audits were also undertaken to see how body image dominates the Media. Another direction explored was the gathering of information about peopleʼs own personal experiences and reasonings for cosmetic surgery. The opinions and pointʼs of view of people who havenʼt undergone surgery were also investigated to see if they would ever consider a cosmetic procedure and if so would they be influenced by the Media or celebrity culture. The secondary focus is the medically recommended reconstructive surgery. In turn this will allow for an understanding of how people feel post-surgery and the considerations undertaken before making a final decision. Again, this will be done through individual interviews and questionnaires with people who have had this type of surgery. Developments within both sections are handled separately but brought together to compare similarities and differences in the mind set of someone undergoing either of the procedures.





In conjuction with the analysis of the Media and celebrity influences on cosmetic surgery, this dissertation will examine and present the psychology, logic and reasons for the decision to opt for cosmetic procedures. This will include personal psychological reasons; low self-esteem, body confidence and dissatisfaction in appearance. Pressure from several aspects of life; friends, family and in the work place. The pyschology and satisfaction felt post-surgery and finally the addiction; what makes people go back for more.

Entering into the emotionally and physically risky world of cosmetic surgery is not to be taken lightly, it is a life changing decision. The driver to undertake cosmetic surgery varies for each individual but principally everyone is pushing for the same perfect end result. This dissertation is going to examine exactly why and how far some people will go to achieve their ultimate goal.

–  –  –

ʻResearch has provided evidence that being exposed to messages emphasizing female attractiveness can result, at least for some girls and women, in lower levels of body-esteem and body satisfactionʼ (Henderson-King, 2009; D.Brooks, 2009) This is where it all began, in the Media. ʻToday media and public scrutiny of celebrity bodies is more intense than ever beforeʼ author Anthony Elliot of Making the Cut (2008, p.42). Today you canʼt open any magazine or turn on the TV without a celebrity being the main focus of attention.

ʻThe extent and quality of celebrity news in the media appears especially inordinate today, multiplying and intensifying at such a rate that "legitimate" news has fallen in precedenceʼ (Hubpages, 2011).

We cannot escape, we live in a media driven world and right at the centre of this are celebrities, their lives and their bodies. ʻCelebrity bodies are desired, both subjectively and objectivelyʼ (McConnell, 2003). This is the Mediaʼs fault as they have shaped the general publicʼs response to celebrity bodies. The most accessible place for exploitation of the male and female body is in Woman and Teen magazines, (Aikenhead, 2005) they are full of articles relating to body shape, size and image and how through a few simple steps you can have the perfect body and the perfect lifestyle to go with it. This includes the perfect male companion, in turn putting pressure on men to aspire to what they are told woman want. We are shown standards of what is deemed an attractive body and a not so attractive body and it is by these standards that we start to compare our own bodies. Many Media articles imply this.

Recent research shows that, 3 out of 5 womanʼs magazines, had a cover story relating to getting a flatter tummy for summer. Titles included; The Flat Tummy Diet - Lose up to 7lb in 7 days, Get a Flat Tummy in Six Days, and The 3-Day Diet - Flatten Your Tum Now. Not only are these magazines competing against each other for the status of quickest weight loss, they are activity promoting this status of a ʻFlat Tummyʼ being something every woman needs. Research into womanʼs magazines reflected that more commonly the attractive standard is met by tall, slim, long legged and large breasted women (Serendip, 2008). This standard of body image is not met by every woman, therefore to feel accepted they need to comply with these expected standards.

Previous research indicates that women who have been exposed to televised ideal body images are more likely to say they would engage in a variety of methods to alter their body shape and size (Harrison, 2003).

Figure 3 - Bella May 2011, Cosmopolitan June 2011 and Woman May 2011 An audit of womanʼs magazineʼs in a University campus showed that 11 out of 20 magazines had cover stories relating to celebrity or non-celebrity body image. This statistic shows exactly how dominated our Media is with this topic and how it is a part of our everyday life. We are overwhelmed with information on celebrity diets, exercise regimes and lifestyle, making us potentially more interested in their life than ours.

People see a celebrity in a magazine sporting some new look, style or weight-loss but what most do not realise is the extent to which these images have been re-touched (Beck, 2008).

Figure 4 -Redbook Magazine Cover, July 2007, Before and After Re-touched Image Studies have shown ʻthat exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girlsʼ (Media Awareness Network, 2010).

However, according to an article in The Independent (2008) Womanʼs Magazines sales are decreasing. The reasons as to why this is happening are unknown, but many fear it may be due to the ease of accessing the Internet. Access to information on the internet is free and updated daily, potentially eliminating the need to buy weekly or monthly magazines. Ellis Cashmore, author of Celebrity Culture says ʻThere is a real generational change going on at the moment and many young consumers are using websites for their gossip, these sites are updated several times a day and are free.ʼ Additionally, new technologies such as DVD, satellite television, mobile phones and camcorders have given the Media and the general public exceptional opportunities to analyse celebrities at close proximity (Elliott, 2008). Makeover TV programs are becoming the latest way cosmetic surgery is filtered into our lives. Two well known examples of this are 10 Years Younger, recorded in the UK and the America counterpart Extreme Makeover. These programs showcase cosmetic surgery at its best, people who voluntary participate are subject to extreme levels of cosmetic surgery. Elliott (2008, p.52) states that ʻadvanced plastic surgery, high-tech cosmetic enhancements to the body, cosmetic dentistry and novel exercise and diet regimes are routinely used in such programs.ʼ Concluding these transformations is a reveal to family, friends and viewers showcasing all procedures with a before and after photograph. The general public see the finished product and the reactions from family, friends and the patient. This is what viewers want, to feel as good about themselves as the person on the television.

A recent television audit undertaken between the hours of 9:00am and 1pm on Tuesday 17th May on ITV showed that in this four hour slot there were forty-six references to Body Image. With this readily available material continually being forced upon the public and young girls in particular, they start at an early age to scrutinise their body image. This escalates into problems with their health and in some cases into the emotionally and physically risky world of cosmetic surgery.

Encountering cosmetic surgery advertisements is becoming more common with statistics showing it is not unusual to come across two unrelated pieces of cosmetic surgery within one magazine (Fraser, 2003). Although perhaps unrelated on topical issues of cosmetic surgery, they are still highlighting the subject portraying mixed messages to the general public. Research undertaken by Fraser (2003, p.62) indicates that the more lengthy articles about cosmetic surgery that she analysed were ʻprimarily about informing the reader about the possibilities of cosmetic surgery, offering an emphasis on best-care results, and engendering a generally positive attitude towards cosmetic surgery for women.ʼ This makes for an easily accessible bank of knowledge for woman who are considering cosmetic surgery but more worryingly influencing the decisions of woman who have never considered surgery until viewing these articles. As a concluding statement to her investigations Fraser (2003, p.63) claims that it is ʻnot feasible to suggest that womanʼs magazines are universally positive on the subject of cosmetic surgery however it would be accurate to say articles opposing cosmetic surgery are found less frequently.ʼ Research into Cosmopolitans June 2011 magazine supports this statement with 5 out of 9 Health and Beauty advertisements actively promoting cosmetic surgery.

–  –  –



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