Deviating somewhat…

Heidi Montag: the before and after

Heidi Montag: the before and after

Sometimes a girl needs a little indulgence. For me, this has been crashing at my good friend’s wonderful and warm apartment in the French Concession, researching (yes, researching) Shanghai’s best pizza places, watching 10 RMB DVDs and cooking everything from lemon chicken to gingerbread.

For Heidi Montag, however, a sort of twisted indulgence has manifested itself in her host of cosmetic surgery procedures that have transformed her face and body. As shown in this video, Montag was under the knife to such a degree that her breathing reduced to five breaths per minute, and she still has trouble moving her face at all. Needless to say, my feminist temporary roomie and I roared about this for a good while tonight.

I am not contesting Montag’s right to do as she pleases; on the contrary, her ten-in-one-day procedures were and should be her choice. But the issue lies in how Montag is branding her indulgence: by positioning her surgical procedures as the necessary road to bring out inner beauty (she calls her new body a version of “the best me”) Montag is hardly sending out the most confidence-inducing message. She is saying beauty and confidence are both found on a surgical table, not within. She said,

I was made fun of when I was younger, and so I had insecurities, especially after I moved to L.A. People said I had a “Jay Leno chin”; they’d circle it on blogs and say nasty things. It bothered me. And when I watched myself on The Hills, my ears would be sticking out likle Dumbo! I just wanted to feel more confident and look in the mirror and be like, “Whoa! That’s me!” I was an ugly duckling before.

Maybe all that Demerol went to her head. Montag’s problem is not in her erstwhile ears or chin: it’s in her head. Perfection is unattainable and the novelty factor her new body is giving her should not be confused for confidence. And besides, she looked far more attractive, vibrant and younger before she indulged in what is clearly a sad obsession.

However, as my friend pointed out, is is reassuring that the blogosphere has exploded in a sort of sickened awe at Montag’s transformation. Is this a sign we are nearing our fill of impossible standards of so-called beauty being rammed down our throats? Perhaps that’s still too far off, and much of the attention Montag is garnering will actually prove counter-productive simply by further spreading this plastic ideal.

But if intense media attention was indeed the catalyst for her surgery, maybe this uproar will make Montag take heed, wake up, and realise that beauty comes from herself and not a surgical knife.

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