Two new faces made their world debut on Sunday night television last week. Over on E!, in an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians subtitled "About Bruce," the former Olympian casually asked his kids if they noticed anything different about him. Kourtney said, “You got a nose job?” and he confirmed, as breezily as someone else might say they had changed nail polish colors or cut bangs. In an episode about his decision to fully transition to being a woman, it was one of the lighter moments — also one of the strangest, though, because we’ve been waiting for years for the Kardashians to be blasé about their plastic surgeries and now they are, but it’s buried in a special about Bruce being trans.
On ABC, at the same time, Iggy Azalea was letting people see her new nose and new chin at the Billboard Music Awards. The rapper didn’t look like a completely different person, but she looked different enough to make it obvious she’d had surgery. It was just a few months ago that she told Vogue about her recent breast implants. And now, according to sources close to Iggy who talked to Us, “She loves the results! She wasn’t happy with her nose for a long time, so after the boobs she wanted to get that taken care of and then got the chin done at the same time."
For some reason, in a world where celebrity faces change all of the time because of surgery, Botox or other injections, Iggy’s work got a lot of people talking. It was like the Kylie Jenner Lip Scandal of the music industry: the work that caught everyone’s attention and became a hot topic.
It’s really good that we have not become so desensitized that we stop even commenting when famous people change their face. But it’s really bad that we still live in a world where, alongside all of the messages of “beauty comes from within” and the other New Age, Oprah-esque lines about confidence and self-acceptance, there is an attitude from the famous about permanently altering their appearance. Little girls are going to have a much harder time loving what they see in the mirror when the stars they look up to treat plastic surgery as a casual choice. But then again, Iggy Azalea does not pretend to be a role model, so is it fair to connect her decision to go under the knife to any potential impact on girls who look up to her?
Maybe the real place where we should assign blame is not a single celebrity who decides to get surgery. We should remember that the culprit is a pop culture machine that treats faces like they are something that can be swapped out and “enhanced” as easily as a skirt length, one that defines beauty as a revolving door. It’s a way of thinking that leaves us feeling like there is no need to search for inner acceptance if there’s a way to pay for a plastic surgeon. The terror of feeling like beauty can be built is way scarier than what some people think about how Iggy now looks.
Let’s hope she’s the last rapper — since she’s definitely not the first — to think plastic surgery is the way to more hits and a longer career.
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