After somewhat of a social frenzy over the weekend on bodybuilding and artificial enhancement, it’s only natural (no pun intended) that we should discuss what is behind some of these athletes decisions to go ahead and have artificial implants. Are ab implants actually any different to breast or butt implants, and should there be any more stigma attached to these? Many will argue that any artificial, body ‘enhancing’ implant is fine and no one else’s business bah the person having them implanted, but what happens when these people take the bodybuilding stage and present themselves as natural athletes, is this actually any different to the use of steroids?
What drives people to such acts?
It may seem that the tone of my post is anti- implants, so I would like to assert that this isn’t the case at all, far from it in fact. I definitely see a place for breast implants in women who suffer with severe body dysmorphia and security issues regarding their breasts, implants for this section of society is understandable. Yes people may profess that we should all embrace our bodies and not worry about it, but from my time in clinics with anorexics, and with friends who have had similar psychological insecurities, it isn’t at all that simple. So when male and female bodybuilders go to the lengths of getting abdominal and pec implants inserted for what is most likely the sake of vanity, should they become the victims of stigma and ridicule anymore than the female population? For the record, neither should be on the receiving end of prejudice, it's just a thought…
Body dysmorphic disorder
Also known as body dysmorphia, this anxiety condition can lead to individuals (male and female) worrying about their appearance. On top of this anxiety, the condition is exacerbated by individuals having a marked distorted view of how they look! As a result of body dysmorphia you might find some of the most aesthetically pleasing people out there have a real issue with how they look. It might seem crazy to many, but considering heartthrobs such as Robert Pattinson and Hayden Panettiere, two of Hollywood’s most well known heartthrobs both suffer from this condition. Body dysmorphia is very, very similar to anorexia nervosa in that it seems so unjustified, many can’t understand why an already thin young lady/man would want to lose more weight, similar to how many can’t fathom how a well muscled man/women would wish to gain more mass! Body dysmorphic disorder is indiscriminate, it will make some of the most attractive people on earth feel less attractive, and it can make some of the best physiques out there feel utterly inadequate. This condition is also known as the Adonis Complex, a term given to the largely unattainable pursuit of the well muscled and defined physique of the Greek God, Adonis.
What to make of it…
There is no ‘tag’ for these people who opt for ab, pec or even breast implants, these are individuals who make their own decisions according to how they feel. The root cause of some of these decisions may seem a little distorted to us on the outside looking in, but the reasons in their minds are as real and valid as eating and breathing is to us. Yes, for most it does appear a little out of the ordinary to see a man on a bodybuilding stage with what are clearly artificial abs. I do see why many would argue that these individuals have no business competing in a ‘natural’ competition too, I mean they have knowingly enhanced their physique in similar ways to how the current Mr Olympia competitors have done so through steroids. Do I think these athletes should be stigmatised because of how they look, absolutely not, do I think they should be allowed to compete on a natural bodybuilding stage…I’d have to say no. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy incidences of ab implants was that of Darryn Lyons during his time on the Big Brother show. His abs were clearly on view over his layer of body fat, something that clearly shouldn’t happen, but to his credit he kept them on view and made no attempt to hide them…maybe he thought they looked good. Who really knows what drives these people to get artificial implants, fact is it doesn’t really matter, the reasons are personal to the individual the same way someone’s dress sense is personal to them. I say we just embrace the fact that we are all different, remember it would be pretty boring if we weren’t, and accept that individuals get implants because at the time of doing so…it was the right decision for them, simple.