A dying trend: BBL
December 12, 2022
The prevalence of young women and girls receiving the Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery advances deeper than the appearance of an enormous derriere. Known to transform the body and reshape the appearance and size of a woman’s buttocks, the surgery entails fat grafting: the liposuction of fat from unwanted body areas such as the abdomen, waist, lower back, and thighs and the injection of fat into the rear.
Several could predict the devastating effects of this surgery, such as a higher death toll than any other cosmetic procedure known, or the impact it would hold on a generation of young women. Throughout the decade, people idolized beauty icons and influencers such as Lil’ Kim, K. Michelle, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and DreamDoll for their fashion and social media presence, and they gained recognition for their changing body shape. The appearance of the new bodies shown by these influencers and celebrities made fans rave and question their authenticity. However, this set a new trend for ideal body shapes. Since then, the BBL soon became a dying trend due to the spread of awareness about the butt lift and the trend of reversals among celebrities that exhibited it.
“I think over the years, BBLs have been normalized. The procedure of getting a BBL is such a phenomenon that women risk their lives to get one. The “attractive body” in today’s society is a slim-thick body type, which is very rare to be born with. Many go under the knife to achieve it,” junior Brenda Jimnah said.
BBLs stand as the high dangerous cosmetic surgery performed today, possessing the highest mortality rate in plastic surgery with a 1 in 3000 death rate. The major surgery can cost anywhere from 3,000 to 30,000 dollars in the U.S. because of the cost of education, training and equipment. It also includes additional costs, such as anesthesia, operating room facilities and surgeons’ fees. Patients seeking this procedure typically travel out of the country to receive a lower price. For example, a typical BBL in Mexico costs as low as 2,700 dollars. Surgery outside of the country increases the likelihood of post-surgery complications, which results in additional money spent. In all, receiving a BBL can result in fat embolisms if performed by the wrong hands. Fat embolisms happen when the fat seeps through or from an accidental injection into a blood vessel in the buttocks, allowing fat to travel to the lungs or heart, thus inducing death. This dangerous surgery opens the door to over-injection. As a result of an excessive amount of fat injected into the bottom, the fat will not survive, causing fat necrosis to occur. When the fat dies, it leads to infection, further procedures and scarring.
“I don’t think that it’s not a safe operation. I think there are unsafe ways to perform it. Up until a few years ago, we thought this was the safest way to enhance the buttocks and what we don’t have are examples of how women are 20 years later and 25 years later after a Brazilian Butt Lift where a liter of fat has been injected into their butt. What’s it going to look like? Is your butt going to be sagging over the backs of your thighs,” America’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn said.
The society and culture we live in today are overly focused on the derriere, and the BBL trend accompanies that focus. People will constantly obsess over trends, but the difference in this generation shifts the emphasis from hair and nails to obsession over body altering.
“BBLs are so common that when it’s all over social media, the people watching become influenced to believe their butt is too small, so it isn’t good. Instead of loving ourselves more, we as a society want to fix something that’s not a problem. I will forever stand on not getting my body done in any way because I believe the features I was born with are perfectly made for me. If people continuously tell somebody how they naturally look isn’t good enough, we won’t enjoy the beauty behind it all,” junior Gyleisa Dickson said.
Social media leads as the root cause of young women considering undergoing BBL surgery. The popularity of BBLs condition people to believe that only through surgery will they achieve the socially ideal body. Throughout social media platforms, women with BBLs dominate women with natural bodies. A drastic difference regarding the social acceptance of beauty surgical enhancements, previously considered taboo, appears vital for success on the internet.
“More and more women are getting them, maybe because they feel they should because their butt doesn’t look like the ones they see on social media. But I support women who receive surgeries like the BBL. They want their dream body, and even though they know the risk, taking chances is always good. When I see women with BBLs in the media, it makes me feel like my butt is small compared to others,” junior Julie Presley said.
Although the desire to carry a prominent backside through a BBL offers risks, the surgery presents healthy recoveries when performed correctly. Plastic surgeons around the country dedicate their careers to BBLs. They realize that they must not inject the fat below the muscle but into the subcutaneous layer above it, preventing any possible infection or complication. Improved technology creates extreme buttocks transformations, allowing women to return post-BBL operation, and undergo the surgery again if they wish to enhance their butt further. This step up from previous methods to enhance the butt, such as implants, encouraged the increased number of butt augmentations.
“BBLs have not impacted beauty standards as much as the media likes to portray. It does change how I look at other women; BBLs make it seem like there’s a quick fix to all your body insecurities when hard work and time could reduce most of those issues. But why would anyone take the hard way when they could take an afternoon, and some recover to look like Cardi B,” senior Walter Donnell Estridge said.
When younger women receive large quantities of fat injected into them, their tight skin can support the fat. However, as they age, their skin stretches and loosens, and their bodies, which can no longer support the butt lift, leads to the reverse BBL trend. An example of the dying BBL trend occurs in the Kardashian-Jenner family. Khloe and Kim Kardashian, renowned for their thin hourglass waist and significant butt figure, display this trend by recently reducing and minimizing their procedures. They refined the surgeries previously endured in their younger years to look reasonable within their current age group and appeal to a different audience consisting of mothers and women over 40.
This shift, shown by beauty icons like the Kardashian sisters, suggests a new trend of the reverse BBL, along with numerous women who received a BBL. Surgeons continuously share their stories and experiences regarding the surgery. Women who share their stories of acquiring a BBL because their favorite celebrity possessed one or they attempted to achieve the new trend, now spread awareness of the dangers involved and constantly chase an unreachable beauty standard. The dying movement of BBLs’ opportunity for greater recognition of diverse women and their shapes now begins.