Olamide Talub & Rebecca Akintunde
Man has always been programmed to want more. We all have an Oliver Twist buried somewhere deep in our hearts; wishing, wanting, yearning for something different and attention-worthy more than what we have.
The body is a physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person. It consists of the arm, the legs, the thighs, stomach, buttocks, the skull etc. These bodies gifted to mankind by God has been a source of myriads of emotions especially to women e.g joy, envy and sadness.
Sadness may arise from birth abnormalities or defects, skin burn or anything that might have left its mark on the skin.
For women, it might be a flat or unflattering breast and chest, small hips or in some cases, scarred faces or ones without a pointed nose.
In a bid to get their desired look,fashion conscious women resort to different methods to improve their looks, to erase the scars caused from social stigma and total discrimination. This brought about the idea of human enhancement process.
In recent times, many women embark on this body enhancement which seems to be an advancement on plastic surgeries. It has become a lucrative business as many people now sell these body enhancements drugs.
Wikipedia defined human enhancement as natural, artificial, or technological alteration of the human body in order to enhance physical or mental capabilities. Physical enhancements include cosmetics (plastic surgery & orthodontics), Drug-induced (doping & performance-enhancing drugs), functional (prosthetics & powered exoskeletons), Medical (implants e.g. pacemaker) & organ replacements ( e.g. bionic lenses), and strength training (weights e.g. barbells) & dietary supplement).
In Africa, using Nigeria as a case study, the use of these enhancement products is popular among women, ranging from pills, creams down to juice cleansers, it is one of the most sought after products in the market today.
Miss Bankole Oluwakemisola, a vendor said they are like natural products used in enhancing the body, it can either be taken orally or through other means.
Her words “We have ones that can be in form of just weight gain which means products to add more flesh to the body when taken. It can also be in form of just enhancing the boobs; to enlarge or make it firm, it can be used orally or directly on the skin. Another form can be enhancing the butt & hips, also to enlarge and fix hip dip”
When asked about her brand and what she sells, she was quick to list them all, from weight gain powder/syrup/pills/booster,luxury curvy kit,butt and hips enlargement oil, flat tummy pills amongst others.
A spinster, Miss Ayomide Akinwande, In an interview with The Hope took a swipe at the increase in the patronage of body enhancements products wondering what will make people go under the knife because of a desired shape as different and less stressfuloptions are now available.
Her words “Asides that popular botox injections, fat injections, and plastic surgeries, we have also seen gastric bypass and liposuction to reduce fats in concentrated parts of the body.
“Body enhancements improves confidence. The products have yielded results for people and have increased their confidence. Don’t get it twisted, men are also undergoing enhancements procedures to boost confidence. However, it is of general conception that women are more likely to undergo body enhancements, especially fashion fitted procedures than men.’
She further added “I take body enhancement drugs because I don’t really like my shape.I want to look more like those celebrities; Cardi B and the likes, using those drugs does not mean you are doing what is bad. You just do what makes you feel better and presentable to the society, I can’t discourage anyone who wants to get body enhancement. Do what makes you happy, my dear. And I will keep saying this, I don’t regret getting body enhancement drugs”
Another user, Mrs Bright Aremu revealed her reasons for using the products “ I figured out that my husband likes curvy shape, and on the contrary, I don’t have that shape.
So I wanted to look curvy for my baby boo, I went ahead to order for those natural hip enhancement drugs.
“I got weight gain syrup, the butt and hips enlargement oil; both the pill and powdered form. Let me just say I got the maxi full kit of the weight gain package, well that is not all. The beginning of getting that shape is to get weight so I can now later gym to get that curvy shape my husband wants. At last I got the shape after two months of taking the product and three weeks for gym.”
She expressed that it is general conception that women are more likely to undergo body enhancements, especially fashion fitted procedures than men saying that the entire essence of it is to help people change problematic areas of their bodies giving them problems.
She argued “If we overlook the ones who get body enhancements because of obsession with perfection or to look like their favourite celebrities or even Barbie or dog or dragon, body enhancements can be advantageous.
“The only issue is just finding the way to fund them as they are not even remotely cheap.The truth is, you can accept yourself the way you are, but what if you hate yourself and it drains you of confidence? Are you criticizing it because you can’t afford them?”
Aremu claimed that some people who have done body enhancements might also be contributing to the hate, by their constant denials of their enhancements.
“If you’re enjoying it after you felt the need for it, why does anybody’s opinion matter? I understand the concept of protecting oneself from scrutiny. Let’s leave everyone to live as long as it’s legal and not detrimental to others.” She added.
A psychologist, Adebowale Olamide, in her words disclosed several reasons why body re-shapening has become the order of the day.
“When there is a lack of self respect, concrete self esteem, a kind of self representation, they feel like they are not enough so they have to do something to make them feel like ‘I will be enough or to make me feel enough’
“Another thing especially for ladies is attractiveness to men,men get attracted by what they see, so they feel like if am able to show that I have boobs,big butt, then men will get really attracted to them. I feel social media also influences especially this side of the country.
If a lady is not looking this way then she is not up or according to the ‘social standards’. For me,I will just say most of it can be traced back to self confidence,self esteem ,attractiveness to men and lastly social pressure, it’s because I see what my friends are doing and funny enough, most of these products do not work, most of these things can’t alter your body unless you do a surgery. That is why people will not even tell you what they are using to make such products, nobody can wake up today and say they want to enlarge their body without a reason”
While our attitudes toward human enhancement depend solely on our religion, age, gender, ethnicity, culture of origin, nationality amongst others, many still debate on the topic of human enhancement, whether it is through products or the initial process of appearing under a surgical knife, questions like ‘for how long’ ‘Is it ever going to wear off’ rises out of sheer curiosity because we are mostly concerned with looking perfect and comfortable in our own skin.
Several reports have disclosed the adverse effect of undergoing enhancement process. When implants and harmful products are used on and in the body, it opens door for life threatening diseases i.e cancer of the skin, rashes and infections which get high to a great degree. Let it be known that the body cannot survive when it is exposed to harmful substances, performance enhancers, chemicals amongst others. The secondary risk is death or abnormalities which one had planned to avoid in the first place.
Talub and Akintunde are students of Adekunle Ajasin University on internship with The Hope