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One article that I found particularly helpful for my research, which will also be beneficial for others in the class, focuses on providing information about the risks of cosmetic surgeries to correct unattractive facial features. Diana Zuckerman wishes to examine risks associated with these types of surgeries to inform teens and young women in order to assist them in making their decisions, realizing that it’s difficult to determine when surguries cross the line. She begins the article by describing plastic surgery in developing teens, moves on to the risks involved with it, and then addresses possible solutions, all the while proving her point that this topic of research needs more time and energy to ensure that we aren’t ruining young girls’ lives.

65,000. To fix noses, lift breasts, perform tummy tucks, and go through with liposuction, 65,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 sought and received cosmetic surgery, many of whom did not make informed decisions (Zuckerman). Zuckerman points out that girls usually gain weight between 18 and 21 years old, so most girls who get surgery may need to get it again as their bodies change. Not only does she worry that teens don’t fully comprehend the risks involved, but the FDA has concerns about silicone gel breast implants and how young women don’t know all the information. As Zuckerman explains the risks involved with plastic surgery, she points out that “most women who get breast implants have at least one serious complication within the first three years” (Zuckerman). Many things can go wrong, and if something does, the patient will most likely have to go through surgery again. Body dysmorphic disorder is also prevalent among women seeking surgery, which holds a psychological risk. Zuckerman wants young women to realize what they’re actually about to go through and to understand the full scope.

Not only are the physical and psychological risks associated with breast implants, but monetary risks exist as well. Cosmetic surgery is very expensive, and if a complication exists, a lot of women may not be able to pay for it. Zuckerman also explains the risks associated with liposuction. Most people don’t realize that there can be “infection, damage to skin, nerves or vital organs…or blood clots” that can lead to death (Zuckerman). Teens will most likely not pay attention to the risks associated with these surgeries, which is a problem since the media and “public has an inflated sense of the benefits” (Zuckerman). Overall, research is lacking in results, but the media is influencing young women on this issue, which leads to uninformed decisions.

In order to prevent these decisions from occurring, Zuckerman proposes a couple options. Effective screening is a great way to determine if a patient is ready and mature enough to transform her body. Also, research is very important in this area since studies found that body images of teens improves regardless of going through plastic surgery or not (Zuckerman). Zuckerman feels that there is not enough long-term research for teens and their parents to make informed decision about cosmetic surgery.

This article is very important to my research because it showcases that we could be encouraging uninformed decisions about plastic surgery and that benefits of cosmetic surgery are inflated, just like in the novel Uglies. Many of the presentations focused on what dystopias can teach us about our society, and this article is a great example of what Uglies teaches us about our fears and how this benefits our society. We as a society are not focusing on the major problems associated with cosmetic surgery, and Zuckerman and I both realize that this needs to be changed.

Works Cited

Zuckerman, Diana. “Teens and Cosmetic Surgery.” Our Bodies Ourselves, 6 May 2016,   www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/teens-cosmetic-surgery/. Accessed 22 Feb.        2017.

In one week, I will be presenting my conference paper for the class, which will encompass the many ideas I have for my research paper. In “Uglies Confronts Issues about Insecurities in Our Society,” I will explain how Scott Westerfeld uses his dystopian novel to criticize an aspect of society. In Uglies, he uses the “pretties” to represent the many people in our society who think they have to be perfect all of the time and the girls who are constantly dissatisfied with their bodies. Technology and social media have provided young girls with skewed images of what being pretty looks like. Westerfeld realizes this is a problem, and one way in which he can spread the message about problems in the world is by using his novels.

The increasing problem that Westerfeld addresses in his novel Uglies is something we have to address immediately. Patients seeking cosmetic surgery have shifted in age from a somewhat older population to a young one. Many girls think they need to be normal, but they already are. Technology and mass media has created a false image of what reality looks like, and it is costing us young girls’ innocence. In Judith Burns’ article about pressuring girls into looking pretty has very astonishing and repulsive statistics. Among seven- to ten-year olds, “38% felt they were not pretty enough (Burns). This is absolutely insane. These girls either have not reached double digits in the ages or just have. I can’t even remember thinking about how I looked. This number increased to 66% in 11- to 21-year olds, which is crazy (Burns). All of the girls think they are not pretty enough, not good enough, but what they don’t see is that each one of them is beautiful in her own way.

Westerfeld realized that using plastic surgery to make someone look “normal” is wrong, and the shift towards this as a norm should not be happening. Critics even look to judge a woman based on how she looks instead of what she is actually saying. Women are being judged based on looks, and it is affecting how girls and women look at themselves. Young girls are still maturing, so most of them don’t realize what they’re about to go through. Body image disorders are increasing in number, more young girls are seeking plastic surgery because they think they look abnormal, and women are pressured to look pretty all of the time. All of these extreme measures are costing us innocence, money, personal relationships, physical risks, and psychological effects. Westerfeld is warning us what will happen if we continue this trend, so we need to address plastic surgery and body image issues immediately.

 

Burns, Judith. “Pressure to Look Perfect Hits Girls’ Confidence, Say Guides.” BBC News, 4 Oct.            2016, www.bbc.com/news/education-37543769. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

While dystopias can contain various characteristics that make them what they are, there are a couple aspects that fascinate me. One aspect in particular that catches my attention is the fact that many authors of dystopian novels criticize a certain type of political system, a norm of a society, or a current trend that their society is leaning towards (“Dystopias”). Today, many judge people based on looks and what they see fit as being pretty. In Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, he criticizes this aspect of society by making the citizens of the dystopia go through a transformation (plastic surgery) to make themselves all pretty. They do not even get to have a choice about what they look like; the government decides everything for them. In this novel, society holds one, single definition of what pretty is and pressures everyone into becoming the picture of the definition. Westerfeld takes the novel to an extreme. He relays the idea that if some of us keep encouraging plastic surgery and being “perfect,” they will never achieve perfection. We cannot keep moving towards surgery and every available option to “fix” us; we are perfect in our own way. In another part of the novel, Westerfeld criticizes the world with his use of the Rusties. These people are more concerned with making a profit off of anything they can rather than caring for the environment or negative consequences. Westerfeld stressed the problems in our world today that need to be fixed, and we should try to not head toward these outcomes.

In this photo, a beautiful girl is about to go through plastic surgery most likely because she wants to fulfill society’s definition of pretty.

Another aspect of a dystopia that particularly interests me is that a dystopia is an illusion of a perfect world. The surgeries that are supposed to make the citizens “perfect” actually cause a problem. Many in Uglies don’t see the problem with having the surgery because they don’t know anything outside of their society. The citizens are told what is “right,” but that is not necessarily what is right. It can connect with the world today because many people are attempting to transform themselves for various reasons, and I need to find out why. Uglies consists of an illusion of a perfect society and criticizes many aspects of society, making it one of my favorite dystopian novels.

 

Works Cited

“Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics.” ReadWriteThink. NCTE/IRA, 2006,             http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/Definitio   nCharacteristics.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2017.

In dystopian novels, authors use propaganda in the dystopia to show how the citizens of the nation can be controlled. The leaders use propaganda to prove that they are in control of everything that goes on. When those who are in control of a dystopia (or think they are in control) use propaganda, they want to show the populace that they are the ones who call the shots and that they are the ones who are always right.

Propaganda is prevalent throughout the novel 1984, written by George Orwell, in which “Big Brother” always watches them. In this novel, the citizens watch telescreens, which seem to be omnipresent. They are told what to think, which further proves that this novel is a dystopia because the citizens’ feeling and thoughts are controlled, taking away freedom of speech. In 1984, the citizens cannot turn the telescreens off, so the propaganda coming from the screens is always being put into the citizens’ heads. The screens are always giving new information about rebels and what happens to them to try and scare the citizens into believing the government.

Not only do the words in the propaganda tell the citizens how to think, but they also play patriotic music to make what they say seem better for the nation. Even though the information being put on the screens isn’t necessarily right for Oceania, the government makes the citizens feel like it is. Since propaganda is such a major part of 1984, the citizens have no time to plot against the government or to think for themselves. If the citizens even react weird or dissatisfied with the propaganda on the screens, they could be labeled as troublemakers and get in serious trouble. The idea that “Big Brother is watching you” inflicts fear in the citizens, and it enables the dystopian government to control the citizens through propaganda on the screens (Orwell).

 

Works Cited

Orwell, George. 1984. New American Library, 1950.

A dystopia can encompass various ideas and multiple aspects of society, which contribute to the creation of an imagined universe where nightmares become reality. In order to criticize a certain aspect of society, authors create dystopias “through an exaggerated worst-case scenario” (“Dystopias”). In many dystopias, the leaders, or those in power, use propaganda to control the citizens. These rulers restrict freedom and information from their citizens. In The Hunger Games and in 1984, the government controlled all aspects of life and kept important information about their nation from civilians. One of the main characteristics of a dystopia is the concept of fear. People live in fear of the government and live in fear of changing any aspect of life. A dystopia is “an illusion of a perfect utopian world” (“Dystopias”). The citizens of a dystopian nation don’t know anything different from their respective dystopia, so they go along with the government, living in a dehumanized state.

watching you

Very often in dystopian literature, scientific innovation has led to the demise of an older society and the creation of a dystopian one. In The Giver, the government developed science to control how people think and what they see. Dystopian literature mixed with science fiction creates a world in the past or in the future in which something bad happened, so the government took over with scientific innovation. Suzanne Collins created Panem to reflect how the government has developed in science and technology in hundreds of years following the present generation. The leaders in The Hunger Games were able to create dogs from deceased tributes to eat those that remained alive. This can only happen in a dystopia affected by science.

When combined with Young Adult literature, the dystopia genre shifts to incorporate a protagonist that challenges the dystopian world he or she lives in. This character is meant to connect with young adults, rebuilding the community and making a better world for the citizens to live in as well as the readers to live in.

 

Works Cited

“Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics.” ReadWriteThink. NCTE/IRA, 2006, http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2017.