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Rabbitholed #33: Why Is Plastic Surgery More Popular Than Ever—and Increasingly So Extreme?
Your self-hatred is not just a personal mental health struggle. It's an extremely valuable data point for predatory marketers!
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Plastic surgery is skyrocketing. The bimbofication aesthetic is exploding. Supernormal stimuli—exaggerated versions of already stimulating triggers, such as extremely unnatural breast size—is now just considered savvy marketing. Just how evil is the marketing? This is a recent press release celebrating the 83 percent rise in plastic surgery bookings in 2021. Even though the article mentions “ZOOM dysmorphia” as being the “major patient motivator,” the press release celebrates this rise as being a “Self-Improvement Surge”—as if the industry wasn’t actively and openly preying on vulnerable people whose perception of self is acutely distorted already.
Why You Should Care:
What was society’s last big predatory marketing victory? Juul’s use of fruity child-appealing flavors in tobacco marketing? Yeah, I wouldn’t expect to see any change to plastic surgery marketing in our lifetime. We’re in the tribal days, baby, and there’s nobody saving you but YOU. Speaking of predatory messaging dressed up as news stories, look at the amount of tabloid articles not even subliminally—but outright—encouraging OnlyFans as being the best way to make a ton of money fast to women. Money. Money. Money. They make so much money. Wouldn’t you like to make so much money, too? The reason the negative bit is included is so that media can give people the plausible-deniability cognitive dissonance that readers find so assuring. Yes, yes, this this news organization is against this. They’re good people. I’m good people. Yes, yes.
Not Only Does Social Media Make You Miserable, It’s Also a Great Place for Plastic Surgeons to Target Vulnerable Teens Who Hate Themselves
TikTok’s most followed user is teenager Charli D’Amelio. When she posted a vid of her nose job “transformation,” it received more than 15 million extremely validating likes.
When ITV decided to see the types of videos that got placed in a teenage-targeted news feed one had this caption: “This is your sign to get a boob job!”
And unscrupulous marketing agencies are teaching plastic surgeons directly how to prey on people on TikTok with guides like this one emphasizing, “Not many cosmetic surgery practices realize TikTok is as effective at plastic surgery marketing as it actually is.”
Meanwhile, plastic surgeons have started to “sound the alarm” that something has gone incredibly wrong with the “normalization of extreme procedures” that’s “threatening to take over the industry.” The Facetune app. The Yassify app. With relentless exposure, personal desensitization and the nonstop media attention given to supernormal stimuli, the messaging to anyone with a brain is clear: Extreme plastic surgery is the easiest and quickest way to get famous and to get money.
And honestly, where is the lie?
Top 3 Rabbitholed Takeaways:
#1 Your brain’s attention and reward circuitry is being hijacked by the supernormal stimuli of extreme plastic surgery, and very few people even know what supernormal stimuli is.
There’s a two-fold effect happening, in fact. Humans need attention to survive and thrive—and it’s obvious that extreme plastic surgery provides an inordinate amount of attention so slicing and dicing yourself up to look like uber-Barbie is the perfect addiction/advertising loop benefiting the surgery industry.
Here’s a still from one plastic surgery addict’s Insta:
In the book Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose, Harvard professor Dr. Deirdre Barrett explains the reason for plastic surgery’s increasingly deep psychic hold in people’s brains. Our brains are still wired for caveman life. So of course men’s brains receive a pleasure trigger from women who appear to be ripe for reproduction. But as Dr. Barrett told one science reporter, “Once humans developed technology, it became easy for us to create things that cater for instincts, rather than using our instincts to seek things out.”
Basically: We are being exploited and targeted relentlessly.
Just like the beetles that end up humping beer bottles that look like super-pornified versions of a real-ass beetle—until they die, researchers James Francis Doyle and Farid Pazhoohi have discovered that, in fact, “augmented breasts”—even though they are “deceptive signals of fertility”—are more attractive to men.
In fact that woman I pictured at the top of the article? She got her first augmentation done to be more desirable to clients at the strip club. Now, she says, she is “paid to exist.”
“The good life!” The media seriously wants you to prostitute yourself, I’m not even kidding.
#2 To quote The Smashing Pumpkins, “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”
This Medium article explains reward circuitry well:
When exposed to a rewarding stimulus, our brain produces a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine reinforces the pathways in the brain that encourage us to repeat the activity again to receive the rewarding stimulus. Naturally, our brain releases healthy amounts of dopamine when we eat, exercise, take rest, and so on. These activities influence our survival directly or indirectly, and the motivation to ensure our survival is provided by our own brain in the form of dopamine. We are evolved to seek activities that release dopamine and other neurotransmitters. However, this reward circuitry can be hijacked, either directly or indirectly.
It goes on to quote this study that hijacked the reward centers of rats whereby the rats could press a lever to stimulate the reward center. That study concluded:
The results indicate that various places exist in the brain “where electrical stimulation is rewarding in the sense that the experimental animal will stimulate itself in these places frequently and regularly for long periods of time if permitted to do so.”
The rats will choose the stimulation over food. The will rats choose the stimulation over everything else.
Remind you of anyone?
There’s even an entire population—called usually gooners or goonersexuals—where the kink is in the fact sexually taunting them that they are such porn-addicted losers. It’s often coupled with hashtags on Twitter like #scamaddict or #catfishaddict where the reader is berated for being unable to resist the supernormal stimuli, and unable to resist an obvious catfish, too.
#3 Please do not accidentally fall into a trance state while you are being bombarded with messaging about how much happier you will be if you make extremely predatory plastic surgeons’ pockets fatter.
To be clear: I have nothing against anyone who becomes a plastic surgery consumer. What I am distinctly against is the extremely ruthless and predatory marketing targeting teenagers and people who are mentally ill, with zero ethical consideration. Teach your kids, “Here’s the thing: People want to sell you by making you think that you need to hate yourself how you are.” Make them see through the tactics by teaching them about predators and prey. Inoculate their brains with so much self-love and self-acceptance that they can see through predators trying to make them doubt themselves instantly.
As we are becoming increasingly alienated, people with something to sell will swoop in and use our alienation against us.
Wouldn’t you like to be loved and validated? They can’t say that directly, but apparently they can say extremely predatory—pretending to be a signal from the universe—messages like, “This is your sign to get a boob job!” If you want to know how effective such messaging is, consider that after spending not a ton of time on TikTok one day, I found myself later in the afternoon one day contemplating going back on Adderall—and only after the fact, after verbalizing my considering of it—did I make the connection that I had seen ad after ad after ad advertising study drugs to me. I’m a 46-year-old grown-ass extremely cynical woman. Can you imagine what this kind of messaging does to teens?
And what do I mean by “please don’t fall into trance state”? There is an incredible amount of hypnotic effect that is used in advertising and marketing—even pick-up artistry—nowadays. Even TikTok’s repeated playing—again and again and again—of the same video rather than ever having an end point has an extremely hypnotic effect. The marketing industry wants you addicted and dumb because then all you will do is consume because that’s all they care about getting from you at the end of the day.
It’s up to you to decide: Am I mark or not?