Why more women are opting for cosmetic surgery

A specialists perform plastic surgery on a client. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Surgery has long been frightening, but it is becoming more frequent in Tanzania, where some women use it to change their natural bodies

Dar es Salaam. Forget about fake buttocks and instead think of reshaping the breasts, stomachs and, indeed, the butts through plastic surgery.

Much as surgery sounds threatening, the practice is now gaining increasing popularity in Tanzania and is a go-to for some women who believe that their beauty is defined by the size of their buttocks, breasts, waists, lips, and tummies, among other parts.

Regarded back then as an expensive venture and one that could only be accessed abroad, the improvements in some local medical facilities have made it easy for some women to easily ‘reshape’ right within the soils of Tanzania, coughing up between Sh12 million and Sh30 million for the service, The Citizen understands.

Those who spoke to The Citizen say the amount is much less than what they pay when they go for plastic surgeries in Turkey, India and the United States, where they cough up anything from Sh15 million to Sh200 million depending on the size of the ‘beauty being bought’.

Irene John, 38 (not her real name), a Mwanza resident, says she underwent body reconstruction surgery to adjust her breasts one year ago because she believed her breasts were too small compared to her age and body size.

“My thoughts were to get any medicine that I could apply on my breasts’ skin so that they could be boosted,” she reveals.

She says her friend advised her and connected her with an agent who advised her to travel to India to undergo surgery because it is the best way to get the perfect body she wants.

“He advised me to adjust my buttocks too so that they look prettier,” she shares.

She says she accepted both surgeries, one for adjusting breasts and one for adjusting buttocks.

“His explanation about the final look after surgeries influenced me to accept and follow his lead,” she shares.

She says that the agent told her to find at least Sh48 million to take care of the surgeon, accommodation, and travel costs from Tanzania to India.

“He planned all the trip on his own, and I played my part as bill payer,” she reveals.

She says that because she is a businesswoman, owning business ventures in Mwanza, Mombasa, and Nairobi, it was not a big issue to get that amount, as she wanted to have the breasts of her dreams.

“I just told him to plan a trip, and I will fund everything throughout the process,’’ she notes.

Marry Steven, 29 (not her real name), a resident of the Arusha region, says she has undergone surgeries to adjust her lips and waist because of the influence of her fiancé.

She says six years ago she got a fiancé, a citizen of Cyprus who came to Arusha as a tourist. After starting a courtship with him, they agreed to travel to Cyprus.

After a few days, her fiancé told her that it would have been better if she had undergone plastic surgery to adjust her waist, lips, and buttocks.

“I had to say ‘yes’ because I had no other option,” she reveals.

Having agreed to the proposal, her fiancé took her to the hospital, where she underwent all the surgeries they agreed to.

Aisha Salum, 34, a resident of Zanzibar, says she has undergone plastic surgery to adjust her buttocks because it is something that she has wished to have since her teenage years.

“It was my dream to have this body shape,” she reveals. She continues, “I decided to undergo surgery because I had a chance to live my dream,” she reveals.

She says she is planning to undergo another surgery to adjust her waist so that she can look more beautiful.

“I will undergo more surgeries as time goes on because, in today’s world, you can buy anything you want, even body parts,” she shares.

Samson Peter, 38, a resident of Dar es Salaam and a secret agent of patients who are willing to undergo plastic surgery in India and Turkey, says he has been travelling with different people to those countries to undergo plastic surgeries and flying with them back to Tanzania.

Mr Peter reveals that some people wish to undergo surgeries and ask him to plan trips.

“Many women ask me to plan for the trips to undergo those surgeries,” he reveals.

He says most women reveal that they want to be more beautiful, which is why they want to do this kind of surgery.

“Most women term these surgeries as part of their efforts to become more beautiful,” he shares.

Saldin Kimangale, a psychologist, says body dysmorphic disorder is the main reason that drives most women to undergo body reconstruction surgeries.

Basically, body dysmorphic disorder is the persistence and consistency of thinking that other people see you as ugly or an unacceptable woman according to the standards of beauty believed by a certain society.

Mr Kimangale reveals that thoughts of that kind result in mental discomfort for a particular person as they cause the person to lose confidence and think other people think she is ugly and unacceptable.

“In reality, people don’t see them as ugly; they are just thinking they are not beautiful due to the standards of beauty in their society,” he says.

He says, for instance, that in the country, size eight, big buttocks, and flat stomachs have been the top criteria for beauty in recent years.

“Any woman who doesn’t meet those criteria may feel like she is not beautiful,’ he notes. He continues: “Others go further to reconstruct themselves by undergoing these surgeries to meet the criteria and be considered beautiful women.”

He adds that these types of surgeries are done on the body parts of the questioned person, making her think she is not beautiful enough to get fixed in a way that makes her feel that she finally becomes as beautiful as she wishes.

“After the surgery, that woman would be more confident because she thinks she is a beautiful and acceptable woman, as she finally met the criteria of beauty,” he reveals.

On the other hand, Ms Zabibu Idrissa, a sociologist and assistant lecturer at St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), says society is at the root of this matter due to how they define beauty and accept women in the country.

That system of life has changed in the country compared to back in the day, whereas, in this era of the commodified world, even women try as much as they can to meet the market value.

“Women are trying to fit in by meeting the criteria of beauty in society,” she says.

She continues by saying that most women undergo body reconstruction surgeries to impress men because they are the ones who will marry them.

“Most women undergo those surgeries, and that means men in the country like women with such types of looks,” she notes.

She adds: “The increase in the number of women who undergo those surgeries means the demand for such women in the country is high and increases as the days go by.”

On top of that, Mr Alfani Mduge, a sociologist, says the trend of body reconstruction surgeries is based in urban areas and not rural areas due to the difference in definition of beauty in those areas.

“Women in towns and cities undergo those surgeries due to the fact that beauty in urban areas is defined based on body looks,” he reveals.

He continues: “Unlike urban areas, in rural areas, they define beauty by other criteria such as calmness, charm, kindness, and hard work.”

Supported by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation