“Rodrigo Alves became known worldwide for his courage in reinventing himself with the help of plastic surgery. This has given him the confidence to express himself with a unique fashion style, and has led him to be happy to enjoy life and a better lifestyle. He is now outgoing, charismatic, and a truly passionate ambassador for the subjects of body image, plastic surgery, fashion, body image bulling, and equality.”

- from Rodrigo Alves’ website

I honestly don’t know what to think of people like this guy.

On the one hand I’m a fan of tattoos, which of course, is a type of body modification. However, tattooing is basically a one time procedure. And yes, people do go full on and cover every inch of their skin with tattoos. But, the thing about tattoos is that while they may make you stand apart from the crowd, or these days make you part of the crowd, the tattoo will fade, or stretch, get wrinkly with old age and turn into some ink blob. Despite that, it still holds meaning and isn’t meant to make a person look forever young or conform to society’s view of what is beautiful. Even periods when tattooing is trendy it still holds a unique meaning to each person.

On the other hand Alves and people like him are getting serious amounts of plastic surgery done, which is also engaging in body modification. I find it sad though. The surgery is expensive (although a good tattoo is as well) and more importantly dangerous. People die getting liposuction and other procedures which often require anaesthesia that can be very risky. And for what? The ultimate goal is to attempt to conform to a standard of beauty pushed upon us by big media corporations. The surgery doesn’t last and ages terribly, ultimately making the face void of expression, a mask that perpetually looks neither joyous nor sorrowful. It’s a face in limbo and doubt that I see. The story always seems to be the same with each person, unlike the tattoo, that they wanted to be young and beautiful forever.

But live and let live I guess. I should say that plastic surgery has a very important part in society. For those born with disfigurement, or have been victim to an accident of some sort, looking like most “normal” human beings (2 eyes, a nose, a mouth, etc) can be vital to self worth and social mobility. Those are not vanity projects.

In the end though, I wonder if my positions are hypocritical…

Just some food for thought.