What the Ass Shots Epidemic Says About Our Culture

Growing up, I questioned just how diluted my bloodline was. I felt as if I had been genetically shortchanged, robbed of an age-old anatomical endowment: the motherland posterior.

Throughout my secondary years, I was the butt of my friends’ jokes, teased for my “pancake booty” and “elongated back." I hated having to navigate past mobs of hormonal boys in public. Cries of damn, she has no ass unnerved me. Squats were quickly abandoned as I found my gluteus maximus only tightened. It did not, to my chagrin, round out. So when I began seeing headlines about a new butt injections trend, I thought that perhaps my prayers had finally been answered. Until I found out how dangerous they are.

Ebony recently reported on the medical risks of the procedure, which have included complications ranging from bleeding lungs, to multiple amputations. The article also highlighted the particularly horrific story of Suyima Torres, who died from a botched butt injection at Cuerpos Health and Aesthetics, a cosmetic surgery center in Miami. The mother of two paid $2,000 for the operation, and never even made it to her car.

These cases are not anomalies. Los Angeles denizen April Brown relayed her experiences about going to a “pumping party” to KNBC news last May. “Pumping parties” are an event where people (not always just women) come together and receive butt injections from unlicensed, uncertified persons. Brown lost all four of her limbs after being injected with industrial-grade silicone.

Perhaps the repercussions of the trend are not being tacitly addressed because the procedure is presumed to be the stuff of strippers and video vixens. But the users are in fact everyday women like me; victims of a culture whose wildly fluctuating beauty ideals foster an incredible pressure to conform.

As long as our cultural dialogue revolves around Kim K's cakes and Beyonce's bootylicious shape, women will continue to believe the myth that they are only as valued as their bodies are, and they will continue to go to extremes to engineer more idealistic figures.

Image: Reneek_ on Flickr