Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Too much beautification kills

Remember that stupid show in Fox? Talk about cosmetic surgery. That reality show -- "Swan" -- is about some girls having plastic surgery, lipposuction, etc. And Fox follows and reports the metamorphosys from not-so-good-looking women into some ... swans. No, actually, they mean beautiful girls (hey, who wants to marry a swan?). The show -- or so reported -- has been a hit for Fox channel, the TV station with so many dumb reality shows. (The only thing I like from Fox is ... The Simpsons). And, this beautification story of course spreads. Many teenagers and young women think cosmetic surgery is the easy way to go. Forget about diet or fitness programs. Just "cut and paste".

But this business is going too far now. Kompas (yet, the paper confuses it with "fetishism") reports (in Bahasa) that a female student wanting for more beautiful breasts died right after being injected collagen -- something to bury under your skin so you look more "curved" . Surely, this is sad. The girl (and many other victims reported thus far) might as well have known the fatal risk of such treatment. Especially since, many of those who perform the injection services are not medical doctors. They are just certified beauty counsellors. Risks are there. But being beauty seems to be more attractive, even in the highly probabilistic world. In the girl's case above, risk-loving has cost her life. She prefers doing it the ramdom way over having it through the natural one: eat healthy food, practice healthy life, exercise. In von Neumann-Morgenstern's words, we say, her utility function is "strictly convex" in being beautiful, i.e. her "expected utility for being beautiful" is higher than her "utility of getting expected beauty".

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