"Beauty sickness": the individual from subject to object

“Beauty sickness”: the individual from subject to object

The “Beauty sickness“(Beauty disease) is the obsession, of our times, to take care of their external appearance so that it is, at all costs, the best possible. In the world image society, caring for your body can border on pathological and exasperated levelsaffecting the life of those affected. The myth of eternal youth is accompanied by messages of pure syllogism (the so-called “halo effect” or “cumulative effect”) in which beauty is synonymous with health, luck, money, intelligence, success and power. There tendency to falsify their own photographs through digital magic it becomes a claim to be developed also in reality. Playing with an image, which may even border on exaggeration and persistence, in order to find the presumed perfection, moves, with all its consequences, into the real world, into a confusion / claim between virtual / digital and real. Sufferers tend to be insatiable with dangerous repercussions at the relational level, self-esteem and anxiety.

The pathology, in fact, has inhibiting effects: it forces those who feel in conflict with their physical appearance to give up sociality, an event, a romantic relationship, to express themselves fully at work or in school. In a context of high standards of social approvalit can easily take over the terror of not being accepted and not being handsome enough to win the heart or trust of others. Hence, the pathological repercussions linked to physical appearance and the resulting difficult relationships with food.

The book “Cosm-etica” (subtitle “Aesthetic surgery, body and beauty”), published by McGraw-Hill Education in March of last year and written by university professors Paolo Persichetti (plastic surgeon), Maria Teresa Russo (bioethics) and Don Vittoradolfo Tambone (doctor), is a complete study on the problems concerning the relationship between the health and desire, ever increasing, haunting and anxiousfrom walk the path of beauty at any cost. The search continues for an alleged physical perfectionputs other more relevant aspects in the background, such as human, spiritual and cultural depth of the person. San Luigi Guanella recalled “Believe it firmly: everything is vanity that does not lead to holiness”.

L’Italian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgerythe “first in Italy dedicated exclusively to the aesthetic aspect of surgery”, last February 23, indicates numbers of the sector “The statistics, elaborated starting from a Survey conducted on a sample of Plastic Surgeons from all over the world, express a general decline in the sector since they refer to the first year of the pandemic, during which at a global level Aesthetic Plastic Surgery interventions have been suspended for long periods. […] The first datum to underline is the positioning of our country for the total number of procedures (surgical and non-surgical): from fifth place in 2019 we pass to eighth place, after the United States, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Mexico and Argentina. . In 2020, approximately 830,868 aesthetic procedures were performed in Italy (in 2019 they were 1,088,704). The general decline compared to the previous year is around -10% for surgical practices while non-surgical practices increased by 5.7%, confirming a trend in the sector at a macro level already underway before the pandemic. […] Breast augmentation is confirmed as the most requested plastic surgery intervention for aesthetic purposes, accounting for 16% of aesthetic procedures carried out in Italy – similar data also on a global scale. Breast augmentation operations continue to be the most requested by women, particularly in the 19-34 age group, while blepharoplasty, which covers 15.5% of the total Aesthetic Surgery operations carried out in Italy, remains the most requested by male patients. Botulinum Toxin and Hyaluronic Acid hold the first place among non-invasive practices. The practices of Aesthetic Medicine in their totality they have recovered points lost quickly after lockdowns, also as a consequence of the trend called ‘zoom effect’, which has prompted patients to favor all treatments useful for improving the appearance of the face. Botulinum Toxin and Hyaluronic Acid were confirmed as the most requested injections also in 2020, particularly in the 35-50 age group, while chemical peels gained the third place among the most requested procedures, followed by treatments for the definitive removal of unwanted hair and for facial rejuvenation”.

Beauty sickness mainly affects women, of all ages (especially adolescents) but men are also affected. The topic is known and is growing in the contemporary society of the image, hand in hand with the importance placed on the outside in the world of social media. The “new fact” is given by some extreme “peaks” never reached before and that raise new questions with respect to the classic (and almost inflated) invitation summarized in “accept yourself as you are and don’t obsess about wanting to appear”.

A pivotal point is the limit on how much, in appearing and putting on make-up or changing the face, the need to show off the merits or to hide the defects becomes more evident. In addition to the material act of physical change, an a priori internal tension is triggered that moves between swagger and inner insecurity.

Internal fragility unconsciously induces the individual to fortify himselfin front of a fickle and consumer world also of tastes and of the person. Is inner security really found in the outer make-up? This balance is increasingly in question and it is difficult to find the right balance. The evaluation starts, of course, with choice times that are as long as possible to be able to act consciously (and not unconsciously). The problem, however, comes back to the starting point: slow and gradual reasoningfor a considered action against a whirling world that intends to leave behind those who do not conform and, therefore, lose precious months of their beauty.

A modern version of the “beauty disease” is the increasingly widespread trend among young people of resorting to physical and facial retouching in order to resemble their famous reference character. Plastic surgeons warn how high it is the number of minors who use the interventions and how much, in their decisions, are supported by parents.

Al link https://www.vincenzocolabianchi.it/news/2021/5/22/back-to-schoolcon-ritocchino/reference is even made to atouch up before going back to school. It is read “Last year, the percentage of young people between 18 and 24 who went to see a doctor or cosmetic surgeon increased by 37%. With a significant peak in the summer (about 80%) e during the winter holidays”.

The other new fact is precisely in the prize that, some parents, they grant their children in anticipation of returning to school, in the most lively sociality. Parents’ concern does not lie in evaluating the execution of summer tasks or in preparationincluding stationery, notebooks and textbooks, of his own son but in giving him the physical retouching for the current school season. The contagion of the beauty disease seems widespread. Not focusing on attractiveness leads to being more accepted by others (who are on the same wavelength) for human and intellectual qualities, for a more solid and less ephemeral relationship. Beauty is a gift, not living it with serenity and gratitude is a sin.

Confrontation with one’s neighbor arises from childhood and drags on for a few decades: wisdom is in knowing how to lead it through balanced trackswithout falling into anxiety, envy and insecurity, in knowing how to keep alive, in essence, one’s individuality and diversity in the mare magnum of conventionality and fashion uniformity. Conformity cancels individuality, homologating them to the current laws of the market for appearances; the individual-person is one who remains himself, gross of defects and imperfections.

What appears to be an emancipationin giving himself a new, courageous and fascinating imprint, through make-up and retouching, instead ends up by standardize the person towards the prevailing cult of society and, above all, it precipitates the subject towards a drift of pure object. No longer the person as he is but as he must be: a product of the consumer society. Hedonism, based on confrontation and not on confrontation and solidarity, is grateful.

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