When both men and women endorse the cultural ideal of the nineteen-year-old body as not only the highest good, but in effect the only good (“to the exclusion of other characteristics”), they effectively undermine themselves. We would call attention to a further inevitability, even for those young women who embrace their own sexualization: No one struts the nineteen-year-old body forever. Or even for very long.
And here is the salt rubbed into the wound of that fact: there is always a new crop of nineteen-year-olds coming along. Soon - too soon - the women who not long ago flaunted their own sexuality stand in the shadow of the up and coming, failing now to measure up to the one-dimensional standard of personal worth that they themselves helped institute.
Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cited in the APA report offers a glimpse into the struggles of aging women to remain young looking. Between 2000 and 2005, Botox injections rose from about 750,000 per year to almost 4 million, an increase of 388 percent. Tummy tucks increased from 62,713 to 134,746, an increase of 115 percent. Buttocks lifts rose from 1,356 in the year 2000, to 5,193 in 2005, a 283 percent increase. Most stunningly, in that same five-year period upper arm lifts increased by 3,413 percent, and lower body lifts by 4,010 percent.
The numbers speak volumes, but Plato said it best: “Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.” Sexualized women in general go through the same exalted-and-trashed cycle that we see in the careers of sexualized celebrities: elevation to a pinnacle, followed soon by an inevitable and swift descent and crash.
In 2005, for example, the Comedy Channel sponsored a roast of the sex symbol Pamela Anderson. The graphic jokes about her (as the roasters would have it) aging, worn body - her drooping breasts and stretched-out vagina - were tasteless and cruel, even by the reversed standards of the roast in which it is understood that the more savagely attacked the guest, the more highly honored.
The Porning of America: The Rise of Porn Culture, What It Means, and Where We Go From Here by Carmine Sarracino and Kevin M. Scott, p. 210 - 211