Beauty and Body Standards Do Not Define You. Here’s Why.

Today, there are literally some people who have undergone surgery to remove ribs from their rib cage, not for health purposes but to make their waist look tinier and their butts look bigger! Why is this? Of course, what we do with our bodies is our choice, but we should at least take the time to examine how some of these trends have come about historically. 

How have humans historically defined beauty?

Across different cultures and time periods, concepts of beauty vary. But, there have been a few theories surrounding why some features are held in high esteem.


In every single animal species, there are instances where attraction is driven by fertility, and certain features appear to show more or less fertility. For example, a woman’s hip-to-waist ratio may be a sign of fertility, and there have been studies showing how XY chromosome humans have been drawn to this.


Another example is biases about acne. Acne is normal however acne can resemble chicken pox or an infection. From an evolutionary standpoint, this might trigger something primitive within people. Parts of the brain dealing with survival might lead people to have certain biases. And even though humans have gone through cognitive evolution and have more knowledge, these biases still remain entrenched in the back of some people’s minds.

And oftentimes, it’s biases that set trends or encourage us to change. Biases can even lead people towards changing their bodies beyond what is safe or anatomically possible, especially when they see celebrities do it. 

Remember when Kim Kardashian wore the black thing that covered her face to the Met Gala? Everyone knew it was Kim just based on her body shape. Her body shape is almost a logo or something the media uses to define her.  And in truth, she really catalyzed the BBL movement.

What is a BBL?

A BBL is when people take fat or adipose tissue from elsewhere in the body and inject it into the butt. This is supposed to give the butt a rounded look, not just on the back but on the sides. Most people have little indents on the side. That’s where your gluteus maximus and medius, your butt muscles, attach to the bone. But, some people want this filled out. 

Some people have gone to extreme lengths like BBLs to do it, and many people have passed from this risky surgery. Filling parts of your body with more adipose is no small thing, and BBLs have several risks.

BBLs might look uneven.

Since BBLs are the transfer of fat, these transfers can lead to a disproportional presentation. While your butt may look rounder, it might look uneven.  


The cannula can hit a blood vessel and cause fat embolism.

During a BBL, surgeons must inject fat tissue above the gluteal muscle.  This is crucial to BBL safety because that muscle layer is a barrier that separates the blood vessels from the cannula. While cannulas are approved devices used to extract and inject fat, cannulas can hit blood vessels when they are injected deep into the muscle. Hitting a blood vessel can cause fat embolism syndrome, which can be seriously life-threatening. 

Fat embolism syndrome is when a fat particle or droplet enters the bloodstream, travels through the circulation, and eventually blocks a blood vessel. Signs and symptoms of fat embolus include central nervous system dysfunction irregularities in heartbeat, respiratory distress, and fever. 

Cell Damage

Another potential complication of BBLs is fat necrosis. This is when fat cells are damaged or die due to trauma from the surgery or lack of blood supply. Fat necrosis can result in lumps or cysts, and this may require additional surgical procedures to correct them.

Skin necrosis can also occur. Skin necrosis is when tissue dies due to lack of blood supply or trauma as well. Skin necrosis can result in areas of discoloration, loss of skin elasticity, and even open wounds that require treatment through medication or further surgeries.

The big picture

Once again, there’s nothing wrong with having treatments,  but there are a lot of things we need to talk about or consider. Appearance influences several aspects that change the way people subconsciously perceive us. 

These conversations are growing even more important as AI images increase. Since everything is so digital, it’s important to contemplate how these surreal images will affect beauty standards, which are already unrealistic. 

So, how will these digital images affect choices around treatments? What will the process of embracing beauty in all of its different forms look like in the future?