According to the Guardian, Dr Mark Mofid, a leading American BBL surgeon, also noted the influence of Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj, alongside a glut of imagery on social media that “had really popularised the beauty of feminine curves”. But achieving such beauty can be risky. In 2017, Mofid published a paper in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal which revealed that 3% of the 692 surgeons he had surveyed had experienced the death of a patient after performing the surgery. Overall, one in 3,000 BBLs resulted in death, making it the world’s most dangerous cosmetic procedure.
In the past three years, three British women – Abimbola Ajoke Bamgbose, Leah Cambridge and Melissa Kerr – have died as a result of complications arising from BBLs in Turkey, the most popular destination for UK patients seeking cheaper aesthetic surgery. Elsewhere, there have been many others: Joselyn Cano in Colombia, Gia Romualdo-Rodriguez, Heather Meadows, Ranika Hall and Danea Plasencia in Miami. According to local reports, in recent years, 15 women have died after BBLs in south Florida alone.
The perfect bottom is also an angle: 45 degrees from the base of the spine to the top of the buttocks. In that sense, the perfect bottom is really the result of having the perfect spine, the kind that naturally protrudes at its base. According to a paper by a group of evolutionary psychologists published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviourin 2015, “lumbar curvature” apparently signified a woman’s ability to bear children, and so made her attractive as a mate. As the authors tenderly put it: “Men tended to prefer women exhibiting cues to a degree of vertebral wedging closer to optimum.”Advertisementhttps://224f3a2f6bd4952e321e5b4bfbe021cc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
For those lacking the optimum degree of vertebral wedging, there are options. In the 18th century, you’d have been yanked into a corset; a little later, a bustle. Now, you can buy padded knickers or create homemade inserts. (When one of Glancey’s patients recently undressed in her clinic, two wads of rolled-up fabric fell out of her pants.) You can have implants or inject filler. Or you can have a BBL, which fulfils two briefs in one mission, removing fat from places where you don’t want it and putting it where you do. The BBL, like Robin Hood, takes from the rich – the wobbly belly – and gives to the poor: the flat, bony bum.
The BBL began in Brazil, birthplace of aesthetic surgery and the myth of the naturally “sticky-outy” bottom, the kind seen in countless tourist board images of bikini-clad women on Copacabana beach. “In the global imagination, we think Brazilians are obsessed with butts,” said the anthropologist Alvaro Jarrin, author of The Biopolitics of Beauty, which examines the culture of cosmetic surgery in Brazil. In reality, needless to say, not every Brazilian woman has the idealised Brazilian bottom. Nor, added Jarrin, does every Brazilian woman even want this kind of bottom. While researching his book, he found that the BBL’s popularity depended on the class and race of the women he was talking to. If rich and white, “they would say, ‘I don’t want the body of the ‘mulatta’ [an often derogatory term meaning biracial], I want the body of the European supermodel’.”
Beauty has always been a matter of cruel chance: you’re born that way. We all perform appearance-enhancing tricks that we’d haughtily never place in the same category as cosmetic surgery – teeth-straightening, eyebrow-threading, Spanx. Wrestling nature can be a life’s expensive work, and so perhaps the cheapening cosmetic surgery is a middle finger up to aging. We can all be beautiful now by accepting ourselves as we are. Exercise and healthy eating will assist in aging gracefully.