Every time we get our nails done, we are struck with a god-like sense of superiority that even the harshest comments couldn’t humble. Now imagine that on an even larger scale, and you have the ‘BBL effect.’
What is the ‘BBL effect?’
The ‘BBL effect’ or Brazilian butt lift effect for those uninitiated, is a term coined to describe the inexplicable attitude shift of those who have undergone a BBL procedure that takes the fat from other parts of your body and relocates it to your butt. It’s genuinely the plastic surgery of the moment, and it comes with an attitude adjustment that has TikTok creators in absolute stitches.
Started by @antonibumba, BBL effect videos poke fun at those who have received the surgery and, with it, gained an untouchable attitude and an heir of luxury that can only be achieved by attaining society’s highestbeauty standards. Now, TikTok is filled with thousands of clips of ‘baddies’ with immaculate hair and makeup going in for their straws tongue first.
But, behind the lighthearted fun lies another trend that is much more serious…
BBL’s are becoming the new boob job
Blame TikTok, blame the Kardashians, blame supremely unrealistic beauty standards. Still, no matter who or what is at fault, there is a shocking new reality we have to address: BBL’s are increasing in popularity at an alarming rate, and more and more young people are choosing the procedure.
Videos have been circulating the platform of airport lines to and from Miami filled with people on their way to get their BBLs. TikTokker @roxanneramsey recently also went viral after accompanying a friend to their BBL appointment. Ramsey claimed she was shocked to see the waiting room chocked full of young women straight off the plane, luggage in hand, electing for the surgery. Meanwhile, others were getting discharged fresh from the operating table. The concerned user even went so far as to claim it looked like ‘a trap house for BBLs’ and described the city was suffering a Percocet shortage due to the surgery’s popularity.
Another TikTok creator, @melanated_mel, also criticised the normalisation of the cosmetic procedure, questioning: ‘Why are 18, 19-year-olds getting BBL’s. Your body hasn’t even finished growing.’
Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting or wanting a cosmetic procedure, but there are major concerns around what is sparking the BBL trend and exactly what kind of safety risks are involved.
Why do so many people want a BBL?
Both @roxanneramsey and @melanated_mel believe that unattainable beauty standards are behind the rising popularity of BBLs, and they aren’t the only ones. Since 2015 BBLs have seen a 77.6% rise in popularity and have been touted to many as a solution for the body image insecurities that society continues to exacerbate. But the truth is that unattainable beauty standards are just that - unattainable, and people shouldn’t feel they need to fit into this specific ‘type’ to feel beautiful. And, thanks to advancing editing programmes, even your favourite celebrities and influencers don’t look the way they present themselves online.
In fact, society will continue to change and develop the beauty standard no matter how you look. Whether or not you’ve spent 10k or 100k on your body, your voluptuous booty could risk going out of style again in favour of the Kate Moss supermodel look that was popular only twenty to thirty years ago. Then what?
It’s not just BBLs or cosmetic surgery that perpetrates these standards either. Companies are policing our bodies for a payday by continuing to market teas, juices, waist trainers, and even retouching apps to help us achieve the coveted ‘slim thick look.
The dangers of BBL
The normalisation and trend of BBLs and other cosmetic procedures have led to a massive demand for cosmetic surgeons and doctors. This demand has lead to a surge of professionals with bought degrees and back-alley clinics that prioritise profit over people’s wellbeing. This is only made more concerning with the added knowledge that BBL’s have the highest mortality rate of any cosmetic procedure, and yet people are still looking to get them at a discount.
BBLs come with the standard risks like bruising, infection, blood clots and fatty embolisms, but one in 3,000 BBLs result in death. In 2018 the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery advised surgeons to stop carrying out the procedures altogether. Really, what we need is educated, professionally trained surgeons that prioritise safety and advocate introspection before allowing people to make such a drastic change.
As we mentioned before, there’s nothing wrong with being pro surgery or wanting these operations for yourself, and nobody else can tell you what to do with your body. So, if a BBL will make you happier, by all means, go for it. Just know that the BBL effect, baddie, opulent attitude you inherit post-op will have been in you the whole time, booty or not.