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The swan

Alaina Stout:

Plastic Surgery popularity is growing every decade. Hollywood starlets and the rich and famous are shown in magazines with facelifts, nose jobs, breast implants etc. There are even circumstances in which your health care insurance will help cover the cost of the procedures. But what kind of effect is this obsession actualy having on those who have it done?

In this wiki, I plan to analyze three different types of media all pertaining to accounts of plastic surgery, how each source dictates the information given to their specific audience, and provide advice for future writing students. When writing, every author has the power and authority to choose what to include/or not include in their work. You will see how each source uses word choice as a tool to draw a certain type of construct designed to bring in their targeted audience.These sources show how plastic surgery can be a topic is different media and how to

Media 1: T.V Show: The Swan
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The Swan was a reality television show that aired in 2004. The basic principle of the show was to take females referred to as "ugly ducklings" and transform them into beautiful pageant queens through a series of extreme plastic surgeries. At the end of the season all of the featured woman preformed in a beauty pageant against one another to see who became the fairest of them all.

However you see this show, 15 million viewers tuned in to watch. And I must admit, I was one of them. Let’s look at why:

Special writing technique are often used in reality television to only show what the views want to see. The Swan showed average women in the U.S going through expensive or almost exclusive procedures and coming out looking better than they could have dreamed. This show worked because:

1. It was relatable to its viewers. This show appealed to average American women because the featured women in the show were average American women. The term "average American woman" is a very vague term, but that’s the point. To appeal to and draw in a large relatable audience the show minimized discrimination and choose to use a vague unifying construct. It also came on television at a convenient time, 9:00pm, when most women would be at home.

2. Women would like to be beautiful and like beautiful things. The show would begin with the background of the featured woman, let’s call her Kate. Usually shot in dreary tones it gave their audience a feeling of dullness. Then it would cut to the surgeons who explained what procedures they had planned for Kate. It all seemed very personalized and cool. After recovery Kate would walk into a marbled room, wearing a nice dress, and greeted by her surgeons who were smiling because of how pretty she was now. She would then proceed eagerly to an elaborate mirror where she would see herself for the first time since her procedures. This is when she would maybe start crying in awe/happiness, be unable to stop smiling, squeak in joy etc. The effect of "drab to fab" told their audience and gave them hope that they could become beautiful too. Beside the physical attractiveness, they also played on the emotional side. The women would be shown later having greater self-confidence, being in happy relationships, or even being proposed to all because of their plastic surgery. The show led on that plastic surgery was a quick fix to all your insecurities. What the show failed to portray was that this was only a short term effect and never told of long term disadvantages.

3. The procedures themselves were never filmed in detail and risks or long-term effects of the surgeries were never discussed to the viewers. Who would want to see Kate have a liposuction tube pushed into her abdomen and thrusted about? Or hear the endless lists of possible side effects? Put this kind of material in the show and you probably won’t have as many viewers. The writers emphasized on the "pretty" part of the show because that’s the part that attracts the biggest audience.


Media 2: Online Article: When Looks Can Kill
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This is an article that provides a first-hand accounts from a woman and a man. The purpose of this article is to show readers how plastic surgery is not a quick fix to self-esteem problems, and that surgery can lead to many unperceived psychological problems. The power in this article is that it is from a reputable news source and provides true personal accounts. It works because:

1. Online articles are great for quick specific answers. If you have a question the internet has an answer in about 2 clicks of the mouse.

2. It discusses the motives and logic behind getting plastic surgery. This article tells the inner thoughts that Laura had when deciding to get more plastic surgery. Maybe some people have had the same thoughts and will now be deterred from more procedures.

3. Before and after pictures are shown so readers can see for themselves the effect plastic surgery had on these people. When you put a face to the name people tend to be more likely to put themselves in their shoes. Once readers see pictures they see what it’s truly like to have plastic surgery and imagine what it would be like to be them, which gives them a personal attachment to the story.

4. It tells that people have had suicidal thoughts after plastic surgery. The fact that plastic surgery has caused Laura to consider suicide is shocking to most. This is an outcome that is very real but that no one would suspect when considering plastic surgery. Adding this to the article added a shock value and a realness factor that readers love.


Media 3: Academic Journal: The Effect of Cosmetic Surgery Reality TV Shows on Adolescent Girls’ Body Image
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This study was conducted to see that effects that plastic surgery in reality T.V had on adolescent girls. Ashikali, Dittmar, and Ayers study showed that exposure to cosmetic surgery shows resulted in girls reporting more dissatisfaction with their weight and appearance, but no changes were observed in attitudes toward cosmetic surgery.The targeted audience for media of this kind could possibly be other academic researchers, politicians, or teachers. Researchers who wish to further the study or use information in this study to support their own thesis could find this journal useful. If a congress women wanted to pass a bill that would require all plastic surgery TV shows must state the risks involved, an academic journal such as this would need to be presented. Such academic journals can be used directly alter our society. Psychology, sociology, or wellness teachers could also use this journal to provide data and pose questions to their pupils. The text itself is written in a scientific manner that may be hard or easy for certain people to understand. Long paragraphs, tables, and charts can be boring or seem like a puzzle for actual adolescents; but researchers or politicians could find this journal super interesting and useful.

Writing Advice: Why Writing the Truth is Your Best Option
 
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- Figure out what type of media you like working with: Do you want to be a screen writer, news reporter, journalist, author?
- Know your audience: To be successful in writing you have to understand your audience to know what type of writing appeals to them. If it doesn’t appeal to them, they won’t read it.
-The truth will always catch up with you. The Swan caught the eye of viewers at first glance when is aired on television, but why isn’t it on television anymore? Eventually the American society caught on to what false ideals that the show led on. It may be easier to "doll up" a bad idea, but there's only so much make up can hide.