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Bum bum and self-esteem: BBL has taken Black culture by storm

Sep 27, 2023 02:00PM ● By Gift Joe

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

The Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is becoming more common in Black culture as more women are going all out to achieve the "thick curvy Black woman aesthetic". You know the tiny waist, large bum, and big hips. Yeah, that look! We have the likes of Kim Kardashian to thank for this “banging body trend” that is taking over.

While some can afford it, those who cannot have made it their life’s goal to save up so they can get this figure 8 look.

What is BBL and the risks involved?

The Brazilian Butt Lift is a complex procedure where fat is transferred from your abdomen, hips, lower back, or thighs to your buttocks, typically resulting in a smaller waist, flatter stomach, and larger buttocks.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that between 2015 to 2019, the number of augmentation surgeries increased by 90.3%, making it the fastest-growing plastic surgery procedure in recent memory. The number of Black patients also increased by 56%. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) reported that liposuction was the most common cosmetic surgical procedure in 2021, with more than 1.9 million procedures and a 24.8% increase, overtaking breast augmentation (+3.8%). The mortality rate from BBL is reportedly estimated to be as high as one in 3,000.

Dr Jerry Chidester, a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the US, gave insight into the risks involved.

“The Brazilian Butt Lift procedure has obtained a bad wrap over the last several years, spawned by a series of deaths reported in Florida which led to further investigation and subsequent changes in our approach as a specialty towards BBLs. Although, at one time, it was considered one of (if not the) most dangerous elective plastic surgery procedures because of the risk of fat embolism and death, recent studies performed by board-certified plastic surgeons demonstrate otherwise. They showed that when performed by board-certified plastic surgeons using “Safe BBL” techniques and ultrasound guidance, it can be one of the safest elective procedures in plastic surgery,” he stated.

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Societal pressures fueling the rise of BBL

With the rate at which ladies are undergoing this procedure, one may ask, what is the obsession with women having a small waist and big hips lately? Could it be peer pressure or trying to fit into society’s standard of beauty?

Many celebrities and influencers are praised and adored for having the "perfect body". From Jennifer Lopez to the Kardashians and Beyonce, the focus is on a shapely bum. Other women want to be like them; they also want curves in the right places so they can get the same attention. So can we blame women for wanting the “perfect body” when social media makes it hard for people to accept their bodies the way they are?

People opt to have a BBL for several reasons - to fit better in their clothes, to have an hourglass shape, to minimize fat in other parts of the body, to follow the trend, and others.

Many individuals who choose this procedure believe it will enhance their self-image and boost their self-esteem.

Sharing his thoughts, Dr Chidester said:

“There are many different reasons women and men seek out buttock augmentation using their own repurposed fat! Typically they are aesthetic reasons and for creating enhanced or improved body proportions. Because it requires liposuction to obtain the fat for grafting to the buttocks, the main advantage is patients get body contouring and fat removal while also using that same fat to enhance buttock shape and volume.”

Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

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How women feel about their BBL surgeries

For Maria, getting a BBL was one of the best decisions she has ever made. According to her, she did not like how she looked in her clothes so she decided to do something about it.

“I did it because I wanted to look good in all my clothes. I love my body and the attention it brings.”

She said it has brought her more money. Explaining how she said she gets more jobs as an influencer for clothing brands and also gets free clothes.

Krystal wanted to fix the insecurities she had with her body. She has always wanted curves since she was a teenager but could not afford the procedure then. When she could finally pay for BBL, she went for it. She said she did not do it to please anyone but for her confidence. According to her, she gained more confidence after she had the surgery.

“It was a painful process, but I would do it again and again. I feel if you are not confident about something and you can do something to fix it, then do it.”

Just like Krystal, Bisi did not like her big stomach.

“I could see my waist getting wider. Every time I sit, I feel the folds and my bulging stomach. I didn’t like it, so I started hitting the gym but I wasn’t seeing results. I finally decided to go for liposuction to get my desired waist.”

Like many others who have undergone the process, Bisi has no regret for her actions.

Unlike the others, Catherine has been considering the Brazilian Butt Lift for more than a year, and now that she has finally done it, she still feels insecure about her body.

“I thought getting a BBL would fix my insecurities, but it hasn’t.  I still don’t feel like I have my dream body yet. I still face criticisms about my hips not looking equal. The side comments get to me sometimes.”

Naya desired curves years back, but that has changed. According to her, she would never opt for BBL even in her dreams. 

“I and my friends used to discuss how we would go for BBL and disturb social media with our banging bodies afterward. But after I lost two of my friends to BBL, I swore nothing would ever make me take such a risk just to have a big bum.”

Well, if for any reason you wake up one day and decide you are tired of the tiny waist and big bum, you can have it reversed.

Dr Chidester said this can be done through careful liposuction and skin-tightening techniques, which is surgical, just like the Brazilian Butt Lift surgery.

Meanwhile, nothing lasts forever and the same applies to plastic surgery - no results are ever permanent. While the results of a Brazilian butt lift can last for years, Dr Chidester explained that several factors change the outcome over time.

“Fat transfer to the buttock itself isn’t predictable. Many patients undergo multiple sessions of fat grafting to obtain their desired look. And over time, aging and hormonal changes can affect how the transferred fat acts. Additionally, the skin around the buttocks and the ligaments supporting the buttocks shape continue to age and potentially alter early results. It’s always important to follow up with your plastic surgeon regarding your short-term and long-term results!”

Despite the criticisms and fears that these women will regret it in the future, many are still opting for surgery to join the banging body trend, and they have their reasons. While BBLs may provide a temporary boost in self-esteem for some, it's essential to recognize that true self-worth extends beyond physical appearance. Self-esteem should be nurtured from within, not solely dependent on external enhancements.

As the obsession continues, ladies need to bear in mind that beauty standards are created by people, who most times, do not meet these standards. If you are not satisfied with your looks and you feel BBL is the way, by all means, go for it. However, do your research before embarking on that journey. Also, remember that we were not created to look the same. Everyone's body is unique and there is no one "ideal" body type.

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