From The Grio — “So should I be a glamour model?” 20-year-old ‘CarmellaLondon’ a.k.a. Claudia Aderotimi, self-described model, actress, singer, and dancer, tweeted to her hundred-or-so followers last month.
“I wanna be famous.”
The young woman’s words take on an eerie new meaning this week as details surrounding her sudden death emerge. Reports show that she died as the result of a botched attempt at surgically enlarging her buttocks.
Although there are legal ways to undergo this type of procedure, they can be prohibitively costly and lengthy. So Claudia traveled from London to Philadelphia to undergo an illegal clandestine operation. It cost her $2,000, and her life.
In the wake of this tragedy, public reaction has centered on the senselessness of Claudia’s death. Her actions seem drastic and unnecessary to many who consider cosmetic surgery to be a kind of extravagant and fundamentally superficial endeavor. These folks have been tempted to ask incredulously: “why would a young woman risk her life just to make her butt look bigger, of all things?”
Aderotimi’s death is certainly tragic. But it didn’t take place in a vacuum. Rather than representing an isolated instance of extraordinary tragedy, her death is better classified as a cultural casualty, the direct and largely imminent result of life in a world that appraises beauty by level of difficulty: the more unattainable, the more valuable.
Unrealistic standards of beauty have been shown and perpetuated for so long that today they have become the norm. Many of us no longer consciously notice or object when these standards are presented and perpetuated through us. Fashion models who’ve had their rib-cages photoshopped out to look gaunt and rail thin? We’ve come to expect it. Bodacious video vixens with measurements that seem impossible to achieve? Just another day in the life of a media consumer.
While it’s easy and perhaps tempting to snicker at the lengths to which fame-hungry young women will go to see their dreams realized, less laughable are the multi-million dollar media empires that have been built by women like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Kim and Coco, all of whom boast ripe “assets” — on their backs and in the bank.
And there’s nothing funny about that money to their millions of fans, including many teens and young women, who look up to these women and wish to emulate their career path. Their celebrity influence is far-reaching and deep-seeded. So it’s not surprise that Claudia is not the first to die as a result of this procedure.