Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

My pal and I used to envy each other's bodies, but now never worry about how we look ...which is why I feel so sorry for the woman who has spent £300k on cosmetic surgery

By Kerry McLean

When I was a child growing up I had a best friend who was, physically, the exact opposite of me. I was short, dark and had curves far earlier than I wanted them. She, on the other hand, was tall, blonde, slim and willowy.

We used to spend hours lamenting to the other about how we would love to swap bodies, even for a day. I used to totter about on six inch heels in the hope of reaching somewhere near her elbow and she was fond of wearing two pairs of leggings under her jeans to try and bulk up a bit and make her legs look more shapely.

We're both in our 40s now, we've both become working mums and while we still make an effort to look our best, I think it's fair to say we don't worry about what we can't change.

Partly that's down to a lack of free time (I regularly go to work with only the front of my hair dried because I don't have the spare minutes to do the back), but mostly it's down to the wonderful freedom we've both discovered that comes with ageing, when you stop worrying about what others think of you.

I wouldn't go back to the insecurity of those teenage years if you paid me and while it was hard going for us as youngsters, to stand strong against the perfect image of what a woman should look like, it seems oh so much harder nowadays.

Though there was a time when I thought the younger generation had it sorted. Instead of the stick thin Kate Moss or Amazonian Cindy Crawford ideals of my age group, they were celebrating normal-shaped women with curves like Beyonce or Scarlett Johansson.

I mean, I know they're gorgeous but at least they look human, not like they were designed. As someone who had spent decades asking, 'Does my bum look big in this?', I was delighted that booty had become beautiful and that this insecurity would no longer exist ... until I realised attitudes to our derrieres had gone from one extreme to the other and the question had become, 'Does my bum look big enough in this?'.

One day last week, I was flicking through the television channels and happened upon This Morning.

What had stopped me in my tele-surfing tracks was a young woman called Star being interviewed by our own Eamonn Holmes.

They were standing up, chatting away instead of their usual cosy conflabs on the sofa.

The reason why? This poor soul, in her early 20s, had been so unhappy with her teeny tushy, that she had purposely put on three stone and then paid doctors £15,000 to suck it all out and inject it into her behind.

The result was a rear so swollen that she's in constant pain if she tries to sit down.

She spoke to Eamonn and Ruth about all the dire consequences of having such large bum implants, the agony and the infections, but finished by saying she likes how it looks in selfies.

She went on to confess that her desire for the perfect pic had so far cost her £300,000 in plastic surgery. The mum in me wanted to find Star, initially to tell her off for spending the equivalent of a house on these operations but mostly to give her a hug, tell her she's beautiful and to know that she's worth more than just her looks.

I know it's nothing new, the notion of women drastically altering their appearance in the quest for beauty.

In Japan there are still women who perform Ohaguro, the age old practise of dying your teeth black by coating them in thick lacquer each morning.

In the middle ages, when the forehead was considered to be the most attractive feature on a woman's face, women would pluck out all of their eyelashes and eyebrows and even shave their hairline back to accentuate it.

Extreme? Yes but also reversible. This generation have normalised cutting their body up in the hope they can put all the jigsaw pieces back and form the perfect image and sadly, I think there's no going back for any of us.

Belfast Telegraph

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