The untimely death of hip-hop artist Kanye West's mother after plastic surgery once more gathers eyeballs and wagging tongues. Discussions on the relentless and often abnormal obsession with beauty that has gripped this age, rage on. Never has it been so difficult to get out of bed without applying some sort of face armor -the make-up, it is believed.
Plastic surgeon Jan Adams performed a breast reduction procedure and a tummy tuck on Donda West. She passed away last week. Her death was followed by the anticipated gossip columns, media hunt for court documents, arrest records etc .
The general feeling hanging in the air after the rounds of debates and counter discussions are long over, is that indulging in plastic surgery is basically selfish and narcissistic.
This issue has been a peephole into how people feel about those who (seem to) refuse to age gracefully, lose weight through diet and exercise or get a grip on their self-confidence issues through therapy.
Going under the knife has become accessible, even to those of modest means. It promises job opportunities, financial gain, compliments , etc. At the same time celebrities are hounded for getting such 'jobs' done , or for getting them done badly. Then there is always the pressure of not getting them done, of being derided for showing the inevitable signs of age, or for 'letting it all hang out'.
Well, it's not Hollywood alone- this yardstick extends to the office boardroom, the stage of politics, the modern neighborhood etc.
However, Donda West never seemed to fit any of these criteria. She had never developed a reputation for partying with her famous offspring or of being lured by the loot her son could bring home .She never appeared to be a stage mother living on her son's success. On the contrary, she was a former English professor at the Chicago State University.
Take ethnicity too. Out of the 11.5 million cosmetic surgery procedures performed last year on men and women, only 6 percent of the patients were African American, says the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Black women are less likely than whites to compare themselves with the Hollywood standard of beauty.
So it will remain a mystery and a blur on popular culture that a seemingly scholarly black educator could be tempted to try the extreme makeover, sadly , at the cost of her life.