The Value of a Woman
Rich plastic surgeons in a city where beauty means everything, Dr. 90210 is a reality TV program that follows the lives of plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills, California. The episode that I viewed was â€śGirls Just Want to Get Doneâ€?. It featured two Hooters waitresses hoping to get breast augmentations and a young teen girl in for pubic liposuction. I enjoy watching the show, but when using feminist analysis to examine the storyline I can see that the show really exemplifies what is wrong with the stereotypical lifestyles of women that American society has created.
Dr. 90210 is broadcast on E! Entertainment Television and is typically there for a male audience. This show depicts the pressure put on people (especially women) to be perfect. The Hooters girls are shown making comments on how women need bouncy breasts and big boobs=good boobs, etc. This is one instance of how our society has made it â€śnormalâ€? for women to have big boobs because itâ€™s the only way that men will find them attractive. Laurel Richardson states on page 101 of Feminist Frontiers that â€śin practice women are defined in terms of their sexual desirability to menâ€?. It should be a top priority for all good girls to settle down and find a good husband to raise a family and live the American dream. Itâ€™s become so normalized in our society for plastic surgery as a quick fix. One doctor showed this when he stated, â€śComing to Beverly Hills for breast augmentation is like goinâ€™ to Belgium for chocolates.â€?
Because of the easy access and availability to plastic surgery one doctor went so far as to say, â€śPersonality is #1 when looking for women because we can change anything else we want to afterâ€?. If we arenâ€™t perfect enough for the eyes of society, we can be â€śfixedâ€?. However, even our personalities arenâ€™t free from the pressures of society. Later in the program, Dr. Rey (one of the surgeons) is on a trip to Venezuela trying to find out why Venezuelan women are so beautiful. In one scene, Dr. Rey is visiting The Giselle Academy where young girls and women are taught to behave like ladies. True ladies have certain personalities and characteristics that they have to exhibit if they want to fit in with societal norms.
Another way that societal norms intervened was through the relationship of Dr. Rey and his wife. Dr. Rey was able to go off to Venezuela and meet beauty pageant queens while his wife stayed home being â€śmomâ€?. One scene showed Dr. Rey at the beach with a gorgeous woman and then cut to his wife at home playing and reading with the children. The wife was also shown making statements like â€śI feel more confident when Iâ€™m aloneâ€?. Living in a dichotomized world of man or woman places expectations on both genders. Men are the providers and thus deserve â€śnights out with the boysâ€? and vacations. Women are expected to be weak and dependent on their husbands, being stay at home moms or homemakers while their husbands are free to chase their dreams.
In another segment, a different Dr. is shown throwing a â€śBotox Partyâ€?. Itâ€™s becoming unacceptable for women to look their age; younger is better. After injecting a beautiful woman with botox in her forehead, the doctor commented, â€śThere, now youâ€™re normal.â€? Even in old age, it seems as though the true measure of a woman is in terms of her beauty and her sexual attractiveness to men. This just isnâ€™t the case for aging men.
Feminist Frontiers examines plastic surgery in Debra Gimlinâ€™s â€śCosmetic Surgery: Paying for Your Beautyâ€?. Gimlin states on page 105 that â€ścosmetic surgery stands, for many theorists and social critics, as the ultimate invasion of the human body for the sake of physical beautyâ€?. On page 203, she states that â€śsome writers have dealt with cosmetic surgery as if it were an attempt to attain idealized female beauty in order to gain the approval of men. Rather, they alter their bodies for their own satisfactionâ€¦to create what they consider a normal appearanceâ€?. This leads one to ask the question, what is normal? Mass media is constantly stuffing images of the real/ideal woman into the minds of young women and men. These images give the false hope that if we have the perfect, most attractive body we will be more self-confident and find more lasting happiness. This leads to another question, arenâ€™t even the most gorgeous people on Earth unhappy at times?
Society has placed all this pressure on women to be â€śnormalâ€? to be â€śbeautifulâ€?. We have to be beautiful so that we can fit into the general publicâ€™s view of what a woman should be doing with her life, what types of relationships she should have, etc. Dr. 90210 is, in my opinion, a very entertaining show. At its core, it represents the need for womenâ€™s value to be defined as our culture says it should, by how attractive we are to the men around us.