Sisterhood Blog

Regardless of Ethnicity, Women Still Chase Barbie Beauty

By Elissa Strauss

In “Ethnic Differences Emerge in Plastic Surgery,” a New York Times story published last weekend, writer Sam Dolnick explains how different ethnic groups now tend be in pursuit of one particular type of procedure.

Dolnick writes: “As the demand for surgical enhancement explodes around the world, New York has developed a host of niche markets that allow the city’s many immigrants to get tucks and tweaks that are carefully tailored to their cultural preferences and ideals of beauty. Just as they can find Lebanese grape leaves or bowls of Vietnamese pho that taste of home, immigrants can locate surgeons able to recreate the cleavage of Thalía, the Mexican singer, or the bright eyes of Lee Hyori, the Korean pop star.”

He goes onto to explain that Dominicans want buttock lifts, Koreans want slimmer jaw lines, Iranians want smaller noses, Italians want slender knees, Russians want bigger breasts, and Chinese want double eyelids.

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Nip/Tuck — With Your Rebbe's Blessing

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Spiritual beauty is increasingly not enough for ultra-Orthodox women. More and more, plastic surgery is becoming acceptable in a community where it was once unheard of, and rabbis are relaxing their opposition to it, a recent article in Ynet reports.

Religious Jews are notorious for shunning cosmetic alterations to the body — tattoos are a famous no-no.

Until very recently, nose jobs and breast enhancements were looked upon as frivolous procedures for the secular community, in which women (and men) were willing to risk their lives to serve their vanity. But now, with the risks of cosmetic surgery reduced, a small but steady trickle of Haredim are finding their way to the plastic surgeon’s offices, with the blessing of their religious leaders.

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Digest: Virtual Plastic Surgery and a Bar Refaeli Boycott

By Beth Schwartzapfel

The Sisterhood Digest:

• The recently released results of an Orthodox Union survey seem to indicate that Orthodox Jewish women have happier marriages than married women in the general U.S. population. Some 74% of women responding to the O.U.’s online poll characterized their marriages as “excellent/very good.” Compare that to the National Marriage Project 2009 poll, in which 60% of American women reported that their marriages to be “very happy.”

• Over at DoubleX, Melissa Meltzer reports on two new iPhone apps that offer virtual plastic surgery. Don’t like your nose or ears or cheeks, but afraid to go under the knife? No problem. The applications iSurgeon ($2.99) or NewBeauty ($4.99) can test drive the new you — no anesthesia required. “After giving myself a rhinoplasty, chin implants, an eyebrow lift, and cheek implants,” Meltzer writes, “I looked like a cross between a cat and an elf.”

• When you’re done squinting at your elf-self, check out Mae Singerman’s blog post over at jspot.com), in which she writes about Matzah Ball organizers giving out her contact information to clinic that performs cosmetic surgery.

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Jews and the 'Bo-tax'

By Elissa Strauss

The Slate folks recently had an online spat about Congress’s idea to help cover the cost of health care with a 5% tax on elective cosmetic surgery. On the main site Christopher Beam argued against the tax, using studies to show that, despite assumptions that this would only affect the rich, one-third of the people getting plastic surgery make under $30,000 a year, while 86% make under $90,000. He also makes the case that better-looking people are often more productive and higher earners.

Meanwhile, Jessica Dweck, over at Slate’s women’s-interest blog the XX Factor, argues that there is nothing wrong with the so-called “botax.” She thinks that this would be more akin to a sin tax, as opposed to a payroll or an income tax, and best serves as a discouragement to questionable behavior. Dweck writes:

If the majority of those going under the knife cannot afford to do so, the government should dissuade its low-earning citizens from frittering away their scarce resources on larger breasts and firmer calves and encourage them to invest in education instead.

Now the fact that the tax was presented as a way to cover the estimated trillion-dollar cost of the proposed health care bill, and it was not an attempt at “father Obama knows best,” as Dweck calls it, is besides the point. This is still a pretty interesting debate on the plastic surgery.

At first I read Dweck and cheered.

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