Me Weekly: Reality television crosses line with ‘Extreme Makeover’ challenge

Lindsay Sainlar

I found out a couple of years ago that one of my best friends from grade school was given the choice between a new computer or a boob job as a present for graduating high school. She naturally chose the boob job. I probably would have too, honestly.

Which brings me to the conclusion that our culture has gone plastic. I went to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Web site and found that in 2002 alone, 6.6 million people received cosmetic plastic surgery, either surgical or non-surgical, and 47 percent of those people had multiple procedures done to them.

Plastic surgery isn’t cheap. That’s a given. The cheapest of Botox treatments costs around $426. So, if all 6.6 million of those people got Botox injections and nothing else, they would have collectively spent over $2 billion in one year. I’m no business major, but I know that’s a lot of money that could be given to the poor, to teachers or to fixing the potholes around Bowling Green – the possibilities are endless.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging people who get plastic surgery. I’ve already planned my enhancements out. Provided I wasn’t cutting corners by drinking Keystone Light, I would jump at the chance to get breast enlargements and liposuction. But I know better than anyone that I would never actually go through with the surgery because I am petrified of pain. If getting my wisdom teeth removed was any precursor to the pain that plastic surgery would bring, count me out.

But in case you’re interested, ABC is hosting a casting call in Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday for its reality show, “Extreme Makeover.” Their promise is this: “If selected, we will give you a truly Cinderella-like experience by changing your looks completely in an effort to transform your life and destiny, and to make your dreams come true.” Gag me, please.

Is there really any question as to why eating and body-dimorphic disorders exist today? Everything we see on TV tells us that happiness is found in a 36-24-36 body. Look at what’s on MTV and in Victoria’s Secret catalogues and tell me you don’t think twice about eating Zaxby’s.

What are ABC and the mainstream media trying to do to our culture? Maybe they don’t realize their influence on society and what they’re selling as a social norm.

On one episode of “Extreme Makeover,” I watched this girl subject herself to 13 separate surgeries. She was getting things done to her that I didn’t know were possible. When she was finally unveiled to the public, I’ll be the first to admit that she looked absolutely fantastic. But why show it to the world? Why announce your insecurities and contribute to the ever-growing superficiality of our society? I think the people who go on these reality shows are attention starved and looking for quick stardom. They’re not normal, but then again, what’s normal?

I never thought I would say this, but I don’t even enjoy watching television anymore. I’m going to refuse to watch these reality-based programs for the rest of my life, except for “The Bachelor” and “The Real World.” I can’t quit cold turkey; I’m not that strong. So for now, I’ll wean myself off reality TV with Frankie “the cutter” and the football player who gave the rose to the wrong girl. They’re just too entertaining.

Lindsay’s column runs on Thursdays. Reach her at [email protected]

This column does not reflect the view of the Herald, Western or the administration.