Monday, April 16, 2007

I have a high regard for Spain’s serious press but I sometimes waiver in my admiration. Not content with just one ad for a phoney slimming product, El Mundo yesterday sported two in its Sunday magazine. The first was for our old friend, the miracle remedy comprising 11 amazing plants. The second treatment was lauded over three pages of ‘Publireportaje’ which consisted of little but testimonials from mythical Germans and Belgians. Needless to say, there wasn’t a scrap of scientific evidence for the usual outrageous claims. Only ‘Dr. Karren Mulder’ exhorting us to call a premium number or write to an address in Estoril, Portugal. Just in case you’re not immediately persuaded, there’s the carrot of a free gift and the stick of a warning that supplies can’t last as they’re ‘natural’. Of course.

Talking of dubious morals, last night I zapped into the last few minutes of the TV program, Cambio Radical. This is Spain’s equivalent of something called, I think, “Ultimate Makeover” in the USA. I guess the premise is the same; a woman goes in with a nasal problem affecting her breathing and comes out looking like a candidate for Miss Universe. Her boyfriend/husband is at first ecstatic and then dumped. Cosmetic surgery clinics must be drooling at the thought of all those unhappy women saving their centimos in order to make a temple of their body. In earlier – and more religious times – these would have gone to make a genuine temple that would have lasted a lot longer. And given even atheists cause to wonder at man’s artistic genius. Possibly causing much real and lasting happiness along the way.

All of which is a nice prelude to my latest 3-year compilation, on COSMETIC SURGERY . . .


A full-page ad in today’s papers - for a cosmetic surgery company - stressed that Beauty is also something for men. Well, what it literally said is Beauty is also a man’s thing but I felt I couldn’t write that in a family blog.

Wellness: My medical insurance company has launched a new offering – USP Wellness. To no great surprise, this centres on cosmetic surgery. Wellness is a translation of the Spanish word bienestar and so it seems that the company felt that ‘wellbeing’, ‘welfare’ and ‘comfort’ were simply not trendy enough. Call for a new word. Or perhaps the resurrection of an obsolete one.


One of the country’s leading cosmetic surgery companies has initiated a remarkably direct advertising campaign. This centres on having some of the country’s most beautiful women pronounce “Yes, I too have had cosmetic surgery and now feel better and more attractive.” Of course, the chances are that this is a bare-faced lie but no doubt the campaign will be effective. As ever, evidence of any sort of feminist reaction to this is conspicuous by its total absence.

I mentioned a couple of days ago an ad for a cosmetic surgery company that features beautiful young woman who allege they’ve had surgery and now feel much better and more attractive. So far, we’ve had three of these. The camera angle of the first was downwards, toward a bust bursting out of a white shirt. In the second, the camera appears to be on the floor and is, of course, highlighting an unnaturally long pair of perfect thighs. In today’s ad, the camera is level with the model but taken from the back, on a beach. I’ll leave you to figure out the feature du jour. One can’t help being impressed by the bluntness and crudity of the message. Not quite as artistic as today’s brilliantly updated version of Gene Kelly’s Singin' in the Rain on UK TV but doubtless just as effective. I’ve sent off for a form.

I see that, following a 60% increase in operations in 2004, the UK Medical Council has decided to impose stronger regulations on the cosmetic surgery industry. I confidently predict that not only will this example not be followed in Spain but also that we‘ll have TV ads targeted at men by the end of 2005. We already have them in the newspapers. Thank God I’m too old to care.

I’m departing early tomorrow for two weeks in the UK. From there, I shall attempt to cast my jaundiced eye over things Britannic [or at least English] and post regular blogs. One of the things I’ll be checking is whether the men’s cosmetics industry there has reached the same advanced point as here, where we are now being assailed by ads for creams that will get shut of the wrinkles round our eyes. Is this the equality that women died for?

Someone has arrived at my blog after googling ‘gay cosmetic surgery’. How, I wonder, is this different from straight cosmetic surgery. Do both participants have to be gay? Are the techniques different? Wrinkles in different places??

A very modern tale – The wife of the President of Nigeria has died under the surgeon’s knife in a Spanish hospital called ‘The Molding Clinic’. As you’ll have guessed, this wasn’t a life-saving operation but an ‘aesthetic intervention’. Or plastic surgery. It appears she was undergoing liposuction. So, ‘under the surgeon’s vacuum hose’ might be a more correct way of putting things.

We’re being inundated with pictures of the recently born princess. She looks exactly like any other new-born but the media consensus is that she’s stunningly beautiful. I suppose she’ll spend the rest of her life being called ‘guapissima’. A guaranteed candidate, then, for whatever wonders of cosmetic surgery are around in 30 years’ time.

You have to hand it to these Nigerians – the wife of the President is not yet cold in her [reduced-size] coffin but already her ‘Financial Adviser’ is offering me millions for helping him deal with the funds she squirrelled away before her ill-fated appointment with the Spanish cosmetic surgery clinic.


It’s reported today the National Court here has pronounced itself competent to judge an action brought against Chinese ex-politicians accused of genocide in Tibet. This must have them worried. At least it should stop them coming here for their cosmetic surgery.

I’ve mentioned once or twice that Spain’s leading cosmetic surgery company goes in for ads which leave nothing to the imagination. To say the least, they are in-your- [rejuvenated]-face. Their latest offering is a large picture of a woman of impossible physical architecture, above whom is the line – You don’t need to have a pact with the Devil to restore your youth.

The newspaper ads for the country’s leading cosmetic surgery have never left much to the imagination. The latest features a long-legged beauty in her underwear, standing [incongruously] in front of a marble fireplace. Below her – in a gallery of smaller pictures – we are offered nude breasts and buttocks. It can’t be long now before we’re treated to the fully Monty. And possibly to photos which wouldn’t look out of place in a gynaecology text book.

Well, it didn’t take long for us to get the full Monty from the cosmetic surgery company. Just 3 days, in fact. For now, it’s admittedly only a side view of a naked woman but I feel sure we can expect further developments. Very a propos, the government has asked the media to self-regulate itself and to stop publishing stereotypical images of women. I wonder what it will do if [and when] its polite request is completely ignored.

I’ve said before Spain seems to be the capital of the cosmetic surgery world. And its apogee is reconstruction of the hymen for imminent brides of Muslims and gypsies. Even for divorced women who wish to ‘make a gesture’ in the direction of the groom’s cultural/religious sensitivities. For ladies considering a more common or garden procedure, the latest in-your-face ad features a scantily dressed woman of stupendous proportions who has arrows pointing to relevant parts of her body. Believe it or believe it not, these are accompanied by Look, what a face! Look, what a chest! Look, what a bum! and Look, what great legs! You get the picture. Needless to say, the killer line is ‘You, too, can look young again’.

Quote from the President of the Galician Cosmetic Surgeons Association - “Above all, cosmetic surgery is a medical event, not a business of two for the price of one”.

Spain is the cosmetic surgery capital of Europe and its flagship is a company called Corporacíon Dermoestética. This has been running a press ad for some time now that seems to me to be a model of persuasive deception. Or deceptive persuasion. About 70% of the ad is taken up by four large photos overprinted with these comments. . .

1. ‘Beauty does not distinguish between races’. The photo is of a woman in a sari who looks remarkably Spanish.

2. ‘Nor sexes’. This time it is a handsome, bare-breasted, long-haired young man who may or may not be confused about his gender.

3. ‘Beauty does not recognise age’. Here we have a woman in her 30s whom I guess we are expected to believe is in her 40s.

4. ‘It is one part and it is all of you’. This tag provides the excuse to present a photo of a superb set of breasts and buttocks. Not to mention a flat stomach and a pair of cellulite-free thighs. All on the same woman, I should perhaps add. Sadly, we are not given her phone number.

Spain’s largest cosmetic surgery company is to go into the business of building luxury yachts. Which seems very appropriate to me as it’s all about superstructure.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

There's definitely risks involved with VIP cosmetic surgery, as with any type of surgery and it's about weighing these up with the benefits. How we look has a big effect on how we feel inside, so it's hard to be completely against cosmetic surgery.

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