with Lolade Sowoolu

When I heard of the death of 20-year-old British born Claudia Aderotimi and the circumstances surrounding her death, nothing bit me more than the rationale that walked her into death. To think that a girl of such age would travel to America for buttocks enhancement surgery simply to the end of featuring in music videos, exposes not only a large sense of inferiority but also an obsession stemming from stereotypes created by the media.

I will not fail to take a swipe at the objectification of the female gender in music videos and movies and the unintentional illusion that female TV hosts create of the glamour world. Glamour is a strong factor in our world. Its emphasis has downplayed the vanity that lies with it. The portrayal has got both children and adult feeling the NEED to ‘glam up’. ‘If I’m not beautiful enough to qualify for a beauty pageant, I can at least model anyway anyhow, even if in the streets’, they seem to think.

There are so many youngsters living in the thoughts that consumed Claudia till she took that doomed trip from London where she lived with her family to Philadelphia, where the failed surgery took place. Because of the living, I feel a strong need to address this issue, before someone else takes the Claudia trip for another flimsy reason.

It’s okay to look good. It’s even fantastic to glam up with clothes, accessories, shoes, make-up and all. But the moment you begin to consider accentuating or downplaying any of your physical features via medical surgery for beauty sake and not health reasons, it’s time to see a counsellor or maybe a psychiatrist. Why? Because a mental problem is brewing. If you don’t take that trip to the medics before it becomes an obsession, you may end up taking the Claudia trip – to the grave.

Beauty surgeries are done every now and then, yes. It was just an unfortunate one-surgery-gone-wrong, I know. Besides accidents happen, I agree. But until you have driven to the lagoon with your eyes shut and your foot hard on the accelerator and come out alive, don’t you dare excuse Claudia’s choice.

The way young people carry on these days and their mentality or standard of what beauty should look like is created by the red carpets pictures they see in the magazine and cover pages of newspapers, on Tv; the movies and music videos all available on the internet without restriction. Even if the traditional media is to come under stricter laws as regarding contents, with the BlackBerry in the hand of every young person, they’re only a click away from all their dream contents and stars. This pegs control at the door of parents and family. If the parents are ‘right thinking’ members of the society, their influence on the child will affect her choice of friends and societal leanings.

Claudia lived with her family. She embarked on that journey with three friends and without a word to her family. Her mum is a healthcare assistant. I need you to realise that decisions like that are not spontaneous. Besides it would cost money meaning whoever’s having ‘it’ would have to save up or set aside some money for the ‘project’ which included logistics like flying to America. Claudia had in times past worn ‘booty pants’ and butt enhancement panties for auditions and shoots. Booty pants are padded pants made specifically for ladies who want their butts enhanced auditions and shoots. And even though she had featured in projects with Hip Hop stars Akon and Sisqo, she still felt inadequate or needed to ‘up’ her game. She so badly needed to drop the padded pants.

Scouts and the media had told her and shown her what models NEED look like. Probably they told her, ‘big butts are more Tv friendly so you either grow one or get one’. Well, Claudia’s failed to grow so she arranged with friends to go ‘get’ the butts days before her 21st birthday. More so, she’d been dropped from a shoot because they uncovered her ‘padded’ secret. She was interested in becoming a full-time actress and model who writes music and was shopping for an agent till her death. She probably wanted a look like international pop star Nicki Minaj’s, who’s also had butts job. Now one of her other friends who went through a similar procedure on the same trip is alive and well. One died, one lived. Her family’s yet to recover. What more way should anyone desire to be taught. Love what you have people. Whatever physical features you don’t have, you don’t need. No one CAN make you feel inferior without your consent. No matter what the media says or doesn’t say, be content with who God has made you. You are adequate for your purpose.

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.