In these modern times, the concept of “The Body Shop” has taken on a whole new definition in an increasingly convenient, superficial, and technologically advanced society. People search and find ways to enhance their bodies for a plethora of reasons; ranging from insecurity to superior athletic performance. Hollywood, advertisements, and national sports leagues have redefined our culture’s idea of what it means to be strong, beautiful and cool.
Even though most of these images and conceptions are far from based in reality, they nonetheless have irreversibly raised the bar on our already existent craving to be more.
It’s a healthy, natural desire to strive for improvement. When these wants aren’t being so exploited, we can actually discover some great ways to upgrade the human form. There are a variety of markets that have ubiquitously opened up for these increasing needs, desires, and trends.
Plastic & Prosthetics: It’s Breast Business
Not all of our ideals for a better body have stemmed from the influence of the big screen. The majority of us stray from vain cosmetic surgeries helped made famous by actors; succumbing to vanity through an undeniable image driven subculture. It is normal to want to maintain a youthful look. Most understand a healthy lifestyle is the best remedy and it is in the long run “in vain” to defy the inevitable. (Hollywood doesn’t have us all completely hypnotized.)
In most uses of, the following body enhancements have more practical and necessary functions.
Plastic surgery and prosthetics have been around since ancient times and originated in the Middle-East. Reconstructive surgery took place in India at least as far back as 800BC. The first artificial limb has been reported to date back to 1500BC in Egypt. This history is a testament to humanity’s inherent nature to want to improve, advance, and help each other. Self-preservation is an intrinsic human instinct, that, paired with human ingenuity, has lead us to our current, and evolving, corrective body alterations and completely functional robotic limbs.
Many unfortunate experiences put people in a situation where they truly need restoration or replacement of body parts. Babies born with minor birth defects can have corrective surgery to help them have a better adjusted social experience. It is well-known how cruel kids can be to others that don’t look “normal” through all adolescence.
Even through adulthood many operate through a mind of arrested developed. Giving a child a head-start for normalcy can make a world of difference for a lifetime.
People in major accidents often need medical assistance in the form of plastic surgery or prosthetics. Skin grafts have helped in repairing burn-victims’ faces or visually unappealing limb scars. Amputee victims, such as soldiers or those in severe automobile crashes, have had limbs replaced with prosthetics that have allowed them to walk again amongst other activities.
There is often a hefty price-tag for these advanced procedures and prosthetics. But many are thankful to have the option when unforeseen variables disrupt life as they knew it.
Though most never choose to ever have plastic surgery, especially for purely cosmetic reasons, we can’t ignore this side of the cultural phenomena. It is estimated that less than 5% of the American population has ever had plastic surgery electively. But it is, despite necessity, still a multi-billion dollar industry. From the nose to the toes, people pay to look better.
Breast augmentation is the most popular plastic surgery on the market. It has become a staple procedure in body enhancement. The majority of customers who go under the knife for this operation are female. Very popular among models, adult film stars, and exotic dancers, this procedure is often a business move to garner more attention.
More attention usually equates to more money in their line of work. Contrary to popular opinion, these industry women are not the majority for breast implant customers.
Females from all walks of life, the majority being middle-aged women and mothers of all ages, are the majority customers. They have breast implants for a range of reasons; as to improve confidence, to restore prior-form after child-birth, or (similar to industry women) to fulfill glamorized female typecasts for increased male desire. The intentions and choices are debated by men and women alike.
Many question the mental health involved in the decision. But if one feels better about themselves and are happy with their appearance afterwards, then the option is there and perhaps the judgment should not be.
Plastic surgery and prosthetics have bestowed hope and abilities for people to be able to live a more fulfilled, normal life after a tragic accident, a genetic discrepancy, or for personal aesthetic enhancements. This body shop market is one to be both thankful for, and for many, to question whether it has manipulated people into becoming customers.
Pill Sharks & Fricking Lazer Beams!
If there is one product that has been categorized, capitalized, and ingested by manipulation, it has been swallowed in literal pill form. Pharmaceutical companies are notorious for their corporate stamp on our culture, Western medicine, and domineering influence on both. No longer do we catch just a casual headache pill commercial on TV.
Now pills are promoted to heal all kinds of symptoms: from small or dysfunctional penises, small breasts, all the way to hair loss, weight loss and being depressed (perhaps because of small penises that don’t work or breasts that never grew). There seems to be a pill for any and all problems we never knew we had…
Hegelian Dialectic- Create a problem. Spark a predicted reaction. Offer a solution*. This is a paraphrased, relevant definition of the philosophical style of debate. It has been proposed by consumer advocates that big companies, even governments, have utilized this tactic to strike worry or fear into a target audience then show up with the solution that they had planned from the onset. The intention? *To make a profit.
There are a lot of hype and gimmicks with the pill industry. They sell the public on overnight cures to symptoms, and often have no hard-core proof of any real healing factors (Shall we list the advertised list of side effects that are probably more certain than any cure?). It’s surely one of the most dubious markets for deception and disappointing results.
But there are pill supplements that have been proven to help upgrade the human form. Enter the pill shop. But always, “Caveat emptor!”
Studies have shown that testosterone supplements can enhance muscle for strength, size, and tone when combined with physical training. Fenugreek has been reported to be one of the most effective natural supplements to increase testosterone. Here’s a list of popular natural supplements that help increase testosterone levels:
- Vitamin D
- Tribulus Terrestris
- Forskolin- this was reported to be what Matthew McConaughey used for his “Magic MIke” results. “Alright alright!”
Supplements can aid in enhancing the body and should be used just as their name implies; supplemental. A regularly healthy diet should always be paramount to any shortcut. Increase fresh fruit and vegetables. Ingest healthy fats like avocado, salmon, nuts, and dark chocolate. Often what we need to ingest to improve our human form is already in the fridge or pantry.
Keep in mind what we don’t put in our body is just as important when working on getting in shape or losing weight. Decrease sugar, saturated fat, alcohol, processed meat, salt and cheese. Cut out red meat (very tough for many). Exercising discipline and willpower is an upgrade all its own.
The Luxury of Lazers
One of the most helpful ways to advance the human form has come to the public after being fictionally portrayed in popular sci-fi films such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Lasers are not only used as weapons, but have become useful tools in soft tissue surgeries.
Photorefractive keratectomy and Lasik surgeries correct eye vision. There are laser surgeries for hair removal and for helping the appearance of raised skin grafts. Lasers are also used to remove tumors, birthmarks, moles, wrinkles, and regrettable tattoos. Sometimes upgrading the human form requires a little shedding.
Beyond Skin Deep: Tattoos & Microchips
Making Your Own Brand
Not all markets to human upgrades belong to the medical and health fields. Tattoo shops permeate the cultural and arts districts of nearly every major city in the United States. Tattoos are an adorning way to upgrade the human presentation. The language of ink has varied and changed from culture to culture and historical time-lines.
From rite of passage, clan, gang, and secret society membership, to self-expression, simply trying to fit into a subculture, and striving to be unique, body-art has code in social rank, identity, and tells of the soul.
Tattoos, like reconstructive surgery and prosthetics, have been around since ancient times. They are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and have historical finds in ancient Egypt, Greenland, China, and various other regions worldwide.
It were the Japanese who escalated the art form and originated the full body suit around 1700 A.D. This next level aesthetic style has influenced a revision of the depth and intensity of how people can intricately decorate their skin and create their own unique brand of being.
Today tattoos are more popular than they’ve ever been. It has almost become rare in the U.S. for a person to not have a tattoo for those born after the early 70’s. What started as a rebellious trend has spread commonplace in the last 20 years or so. This body upgrade is undeniably the most artistic and has transcended in recent history the boundaries of acceptance. It is an investment that lasts a lifetime. It is therefore recommended, but not always practiced, to choose wisely!
Man Vs Machine
The most controversial and modern human upgrade product belongs to the science and computer markets. The RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) microchip implant is still in its infancy, but has gotten under many peoples skin literally and figuratively.
Original uses were implemented on pets and farm animals for identification and tracking purposes. These microchips, the size of a grain of rice, are passive systems with no internal power source. Electromagnetic energy transmitted from a scanner activates the inert implant to communicate relative data.
There are active systems that exist on the market that are generally battery powered and have a transmitter. As experimentation and advancements with smart-technology continually increase, engineers and inventors have come up with many functions for everyday use by humans.
Many of these uses include computer log-ins, opening doors (home/office/vehicle), switching on lights, storing medical records, unlocking mobile phones, and operational compatibility with smart-guns by the owner. Most implants are inserted under the skin between the thumb and index finger.
Some companies have willing employees who have signed up for microchip implants for clocking in, bypassing security entrances, and paying for food in the company cafeteria. In most cases, the public at large is not so ready to get in line to have the RFID implants.
One objection is that the chips are hackable and could have problems such as identity theft or acquiring computer viruses. In April 2010, Mark Gasson, a British scientist, became the first human infected by a computer virus. It was a demonstration by him and his team showing how it was possible to wirelessly send a virus into an implant and onto other computer systems. This is quite a valid concern. The objections don’t end there.
With cancer being the number two cause of death in humans, many question if there is a connection between the killer’s high number and the increase of radio frequencies through such things as cell-towers and other wireless technology. The association of the interaction with those technologies and microchip implants have many dubious of the health-safety and long term effects of the devices that have yet to be fully researched.
Another popular objection is one of human ethics. There are two major concerns in this category. The first is privacy and how companies and/or governments could impose future widening of the implants usage without the citizens consent. Such uses could include tracking or personal information spying. Big Brother could have potentially another way to watch! The second concern is pointed out by Christian activists:
Many Christians believe that RFID implants could be the incarnation of the prophesied “Mark of the Beast” mentioned in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Revelation 13:16-17 speaks of a mark, or the name of the beast, to be received in the right hand or forehead in order to be able to buy or sell. It’s a fascinating theory, and to many very scary if it is actually in line with scripture.
It is clear that we are getting closer to a cashless society and this spiritual concern leaves Christian believers leery of microchip implants.
Regardless of belief, man and machine are interacting and integrating more and more. Most who own smart-phones can barely be a moment without them and access to the internet. This trend is far from losing momentum. Keep your eyes open as these types of upgrades become more accepted and head towards commonplace.
Researchers and visionaries theorize that microchip implants are the early steps of the Transhumanism movement. For better or worse, the future holds some exciting and wondrous advancements for man, machine, and their growing relationship.
What’s For Free?
In contrast to the markets available to improve our bodies, we should address the importance of upgrading the mind. Continually educating ourselves and being creative through our natural abilities, talents, and learned skills, we will upgrade and optimize our mental awareness, understandings, and perceptions. There are free libraries to read books, borrow educational videos, and search the web for new ideas and information.
There are plenty of free yoga, dance, and martial arts videos on-line and on YouTube. By enhancing physical abilities through exercise, stretching, and coordination practice, we gain a new sense of “being” through enhanced freedom of movement. The process along the way can be very fun and rewarding. People can utilize these programs through the phone and internet subscriptions that they already have.
Fresh Out of the Shop
The Body Shop has many fronts. There is only one you. Whatever ways you choose to fine-tune yourself or your body, always respect and have patience with yourself. There are plenty of options to help improve how we like to look, feel, and express ourselves. Those choices should come from a genuine healthy desire to be better and not social pressures or unrealistic standards.
Next time you find yourself thinking someone else looks strange, ridiculous or isn’t good enough, realize you may be on the path to downgrading.
THANKS FOR READING. LEAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS BELOW!