Plastic surgery shows are typically problematic, and Channel 4’s BodyShockers: My Piercing Hell has proven to be no exception. The documentary strand investigates subjects who are pushing their bodies to extremes and often includes stories about people who are undergoing unusual plastic surgeries and other cosmetic procedures.
One of these subjects was Cherrelle, a woman so unhappy with her smile that she decided to get dimpleplasty, a procedure that would enhance the appearance of dimples on her face. Now Cherrelle is criticizing Channel 4 for leaving an inaccurate representation of her surgery, and I don’t blame her at all. Cherrelle believes that Channel 4 framed her story in a negative way that made her seem like a girl obsessed with dimpled celebrities like Cheryl Cole or Lauren London, people whom she had said she “admired” during the interview sessions with BodyShockers. She feels pin-pointed by the show and indirectly criticized for her personal choices, which were made to appear completely ludicrous in within the context of the documentary. Cherrelle stresses that she underwent the procedure for very personal reasons, stating:
“Without going into too much detail (for fear of further backlash) I did not want to look like Cheryl Cole or Lauren London, that will never happen and I don’t idolise them… I wanted to do it because I hated my smile previously – I thought it just looked odd. So I avoided smiling in photos.”
I’m with Cherrelle 100% on this, and I’m glad that she’s speaking out against the show for turning her plastic surgery story into a spectacle. Lately I’ve been very frustrated with how the media frames stories of women who choose to undergo any cosmetic procedure, which is often by subtly shaming women for wanting to change their appearance. The women — and sometimes men — are framed in a way that makes their focus on their appearance seem shallow or sick.
We all have insecurities, and we shouldn’t tell anyone that they can’t do what they want with their bodies. I wish that no one ever felt the desire to change anything about their natural appearance, but we can’t pretend that we don’t live in a world that floods us with images of the ideal body and then blame people for succumbing to the pressures of our perfection-obsessed society. Quite frankly, we don’t have any problem with people dying their hair, getting tattoos, or doing other things that alter their appearance — we shouldn’t have a problem with Cherrelle making a decision for herself, either.