ABC Triple J Hack Interview on Why Young People are Having Cosmetic Surgery

Says Sarah from Brisbane, “Food was the only thing I could control, and then I started noticing that I would get all this targeted advertising on Instagram and Facebook for weight loss, and ‘Don’t put on weight over lockdown’ and ‘Do this lockdown workout’. Like heaps of people in Covid, my socials were flooded with posts about the perfect lockdown body. So I started seeing content come up more so than I had in the past about people getting liposuction surgery and BBLs and fillers and all the stuff, and I just thought why don’t I do that? I should do that?

If you scroll through TikTok or Instagram, there’s heaps of content of people talking about getting cosmetic surgery, BBLs or Brazilian butt lifts and liposuction. Look, I know it’s a lot of money but if it’s something that helps me feel more comfortable everyday and wake up and feel a bit better about being in my body then is it worth it?”

Sarah made the consultation appointment when she was still in that first lockdown and went ahead with the surgery later in the year and she put down a lot of cash for it.

“So we had to put our house savings on hold while we paid that surgery off which also then started to have an impact on me because I felt really guilty about that as well because that was not just impacting me that was also impacting my partner and his goals. Yep, more than $10,000 on lipo.”

 Sarah is just one of more than 1200 Hack listeners who wrote in as part of the crowd source body-image investigation and her experience is like that of so many, she’s gone under the knife, and she’s pleased with her results, but she’s been left wondering what exactly drove her to it.

“Had I not been in lockdown in my house for 3 months, not being able to live my life and being constantly bombarded with things about how I was going to put on weight and how I was eating too much that I would have actually gone ahead with it.”

It was easier and faster for her to get lipo, than it was to find a new counsellor. It’s a pretty terrifying comparison. Surgeries like lipo, and butt lifts have become huge on social media. TikTok challenges and transformation videos and photos are all over our feeds, and a lot of influences and celebrities are becoming more open about the work they’re having done.

“I’ve cried most of the day, and it’s very very messy, we’ve changed my pads like maybe 4 times.” That’s Kathy Evans, you might remember her from Married at First Sight. She recently had a BBL, where fat is taken from parts of your body and injected into your butt, and she’s been taking followers along for the ride. There has been a big surge in the procedures that have achieved notoriety on social media so for example the Brazilian Butt Lift was pretty much an unknown procedure until it was all over the internet, blasted onto the internet by the Kardashians.

Dr Amira Sanki is a Sydney plastic surgeon, and she’s also the Vice President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Over the past decade, she has seen previously unknown and sometimes pretty high risk procedures surge in popularity. There is no doubt that what people see on social media directly influences their decision-making, most especially social media has sort of given everyone that instant gratification. She’s worried that dodgy docs straight out of med school are capitalising on the boom without enough training, and they’re finding the clients through social media. The popularity of a doctor on the Internet does not equate to their skill or level of education and experience, they can buy their followers, they can Photoshop their Before and Afters and they can fake their reviews, but she says it’s not all bad. Positive aspect is that consumers and patients are now really well researched and social media has been great from that point of view.

It has empowered our public for them to make better decisions on what they want from their cosmetic doctor, and their plastic surgeon in that category would be Isla Gurney. She’s a 20-year-old neuroscience student from Sydney and she wanted a BBL for 5 years.

“I wasn’t too worried about death or anything, but like I was worried about the recovery because I watched a lot of daily vlogs of girls filming their recovery process and a lot of them are just crying in pain.”

She got the surgery at the start of this year. Night times were probably the worst, because you have to sleep in a compression garment and a binder. You feel like you’re being crushed the entire time, but despite the pain and the six weeks of recovery, she’s going back in later this year.

“I want to go bigger; I don’t think I went big enough the first time.” She gets really annoyed when people say she should’ve just worked out more to get the body she wanted. No one can grow a surgery booty in the gym, and her surgery bill is adding up. It’s going to be just under 30k probably all up.

This interview was done by Tamsin Rose of ABC’s Triple J. It has been republished here with full permission.


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