Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 02/10/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Busting the bounds of surgical irresponsibility

As it takes the trouble to remind us on frequent occasions, the Australian Women's Weekly is Australia's best-selling magazine, and the only title which currently breaks the magic million sales barrier in this country. With such a captive audience, you'd think issues of responsible reporting would be close to the hearts of every Weekly reporter. Or perhaps, being a bitter and twisted cynic, you wouldn't. Stay cynical; you'd be right.

In my particular line of fire at the moment is Leo Rozner, who writes a column about plastic surgery (wittily entitled 'Nips And Tucks') for the AWW. I accept that for such a column, expert knowledge is desireable, but not when the dangers and problems are understated and the social forces which lead to work for plastic surgeons outside of reconstruction completely ignored.

The biased slant of this column is apparent in the very first item, entitled 'What Is A Facelift?' Rozner tells the tale of an air hostess who approached him and said: "Do you think I need a facelift? I'm 29 and I'm looking for a husband."

Rozner doesn't respond with any of the obvious remarks one might make in such a situation, such as:

Instead, he goes on to explain the three main types of facelift, which basically involve hacking bits of your face off, injecting fat into your cranium or slicing up your skin to make it tighter. And his conclusion? "It is a composite of these three elements which gives the maximum improvement in a person's appearance." No risks, apparently; no potential for scarring; no contemplation of the notion that a person's appearance might get along best if you just left it alone. Ah, no. Not when there's scalpels to be sharpened and money to be made. He never tells us what he actually said to the hostess. Funny that.

Rozner also discusses the idea that the infamous Princess Di 'cellulite' photographs from earlier this year didn't show normal fatty deposits (yes, the words "normal" and "fatty" can be adjacent in a sentence), but are the result of excessive liposuction. His solution to the alleged overuse of plastic surgeons? "Fat grafting may be needed"!

It's disturbing enough that plastic surgeons continue to present surgery as an easy 'solution' to beauty 'problems'. It's disgusting that such views are presented as editorial commentary in a widely-read and influential magazine.

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