In Clinton Hill, skin is in - Brooklyn Paper

In Clinton Hill, skin is in

Craig Dilger

I was walking down St. James Place the other day thinking about how I really needed a buttocks lift, when — what do you know? — there was a plastic surgery practice on the corner of Fulton Street advertising just that!

Though plastic surgery clinics are usually as discrete as a Plaza Hotel doorman, I couldn’t miss this office: the windows of Plastic Surgery in Brooklyn were covered with two posters of life-sized, beautifully naked women.

The implication, of course, is that my butt — not to mention my nose, my breasts and my cheekbones — could be just as nice as theirs, with a little work and a lot of money.

Could this be Brooklyn’s new “normal?” Have breast lifts and Botox injections become such commonplace procedures that plastic surgeons — whom women once patronized in secret — stake their claims in corner shops better suited for bodegas?

“This trend toward plastic surgery, toward increased beauty standards is intensifying,” said Sonia Ossorio, the president of NOW in New York City. “There are very few parts of our body that are not up for scrutiny. Who knew that 10 years ago, that there would be an ideal for a pretty vagina?”

In case you haven’t watched any porn lately, or read about it in the New York Times, a “pretty” vagina must be shaved, symmetrical and pre-pubescent looking.

Add that to our longer-standing “ideals” of femininity — slender arms, long legs, high cheekbones — and it’s surprising women have time to do anything other than commit gruesome acts on their own bodies.

The designer of the posters, Kim Long, 22, argues that the artwork is “not supposed to be the ideal.”

“I picked those photos because I thought they were artistic,” said Long. “I could have put up a big photo of a breast. I chose them because they are artistically and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”

That they are. Even to me. Which is troubling.

The problem is that we have been conditioned to think that being “attractive” means looking like those women — with no apparent flaws. The thing is, most women don’t look like that. Not even Long, who describes herself as 5’3’’ — and above model weight.

“People will look at me and definitely say I need plastic surgery,” said Long.

Of course she doesn’t. But the fact that people could think she does only shows that the images of perfection that bombard us every day have a pervasive impact.

“Just last week, New York Magazine called me about this new gloss for nipples, to make them rosy, and more youthful,” said Ossorio.

“It’s unfortunate, because what these beauty standards do is divert women’s attention, money and focus from more important things in their lives,” said Ossorio.

In other words, women have better things to worry about than the color of their areolae. Like, say, pay equity.

The Kitchen Sink

What would spring be without daffodils nodding in the breeze and kids making popsicle-stick crafts? Now that spring has finally arrived (knock on wood), the Urban Park Rangers are hosting “Creating with Nature” on Saturday at the visitor’s center in the middle of Fort Greene Park at 1 pm. It’s free. …

The first annual “Christina Porter Poetry in the School” lecture was held in honor of the late daughter of our pal Brent Porter at Pratt Institute on Monday. Alice Quinn, the poetry editor for the New Yorker, gave the talk, focusing on the work of Elizabeth Bishop, one of our favorite poets. Another, of course, is Christina, who penned a number of beautiful poems before her untimely death at the age of 21. …

The third week of April brings the Pratt Area Community Council’s “PACC Night,” held the third Wednesday of every month, to connect residents and members with all of the organization’s services and help foment grass-roots community action. Outpost (1014 Fulton St., between Grand and Classon avenues), 6 pm. For information, call (718) 522-2613 ext. 22. …

These days, fraternities aren’t all beer funnels and bong hits. Long Island University’s Phi Beta Sigma fraternity will host its first ever health fair this Saturday with all sorts of free health services, from help on quitting smoking and astham information, to HIV testing. LIU campus (Flatbush Avenue Extension at DeKalb Avenues), 11 am to 3 pm.

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