I recently came across the story below and had to do a double take after reading the headline:
Woman undergoes quadruple amputation after black market silicone butt injections
Quadruple amputation? Although this unfortunate story is about one month old, its message is timeless, especially for the state of so many women today.
And the story goes…
After receiving black-market silicone butt injections, Apryl Michelle Brown, 46, had to have both her hands, both her feet and her buttocks amputated.
Brown said she always wanted to enhance her butt because she was teased as a child for having a “pancake” bottom.
In 2004, two ladies visited her hair salon, one revealing that she ran “pumping parties” where an unqualified practitioner injects illegal silicone into someone’s body at his/her home.
“I remember thinking it was a miracle she’d walked into my life. Her friend showed me the work she’d had done and it looked great,” Brown said. “In a split second I made the decision that I was going to go to this woman and let her inject silicone into my behind.”
Brown paid this unlicensed woman around $850 for two injections; the injections turned out to be industrial-grade silicone, i.e. the sealant you can find at any hardware store.
According to the article, the skin on Brown’s buttocks hardened and blackened, yet she was too ashamed to seek medical help. Finally, after much pain, she sought help only for her doctors to tell her it was too dangerous to remove the silicone.
She lived in agonizing pain for the next four years, and almost died in 2011 after an unsuccessful surgery. Her doctors put her in a two-month coma as they performed 27 different surgeries, removing her buttocks. Gangrene spread to her hands and feet, causing Brown to lose those as well.
*A “ray of sunshine” in this tragic story is that after six months in the hospital, much pain and extensive training, Brown completed a three-mile walk, ten-mile cycle and a 150-meter swim.*
Ladies, again, it’s JUST NOT WORTH IT. I understand that Brown didn’t do her research and went to an unlicensed “doctor.” But, what is the underlying issue here? What even pushed her to do such a crazy, life-threatening, and ultimately, life changing thing?
It’s the same reason Kelly Rowland and countless other female celebs got breast implants.
The cause of former Miss Argentina Solange Magnan’s butt implants ultimately taking her life.
And it’s the biggest factor in why breast implants are the no.2 surgery worldwide, with more than 300,000 performed in 2011 in the U.S. alone.
Sistas, I present to you the clever, well-hidden, subtle but monumental with its affects—inadequacy.
Women don’t feel…enough.
So we constantly search for ways to make ourselves “adequate,” i.e. sufficient, equal, standard (or above), accepted, ENOUGH.
We can face pressure from men, other women, our families, the industries where we work (or desire to), media outlets…so many areas of society.
Yet, when it comes down to it it’s still up to us to decide whether or not we will accept that “you are not good enough because XYZ” or if we will define good enough for ourselves.
Apryl Brown’s story is so disheartening, but she’s just one of many. My junior year of college a former friend from high school confessed that she was about to get breast implants the following week. She’d been working like crazy to save extra money and was excited to finally get the work done. I pleaded with her to rethink the decision, explaining that physical enhancements will and cannot ever cure a distorted, imbalanced, and broken heart and mindset.
Her defense: “I’ve always been self-conscious about how small my breasts are and just feel like implants will help me finally love and accept myself. Nothing anyone can say or do will change my mind.”
Ladies, you can find my friend’s mindset across every race, age, education level and economic status. We have to take a stand.
Instead of just talking (and writing) about this issue, let’s allow our voices and message to be “heard” and seen through our actions. Do not conform.
If an untamed afro is fly to you, wear it proudly. Or you have a thinner athletic build, wear clothes to accentuate your body type (I know many skinny women who feel they’re aren’t shapely enough to pull off leggings).
Just because a man, the TV or some popular celeb says “this is acceptable, that is not” doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because big butts are the latest trend doesn’t mean you need to be a follower (if you don’t have one); be a trendsetter. And if you do have some junk in the trunk, rock it proudly because it’s how God made you, not because of how society tells you to feel about it.
So many women are undergoing these surgeries with hopes they’ll come out better. But let me tell you, the confidence that shines through the mindset of an au naturel woman who fully embraces herself and defines everything for herself is much better than the insecurity hiding behind silicone breasts, injection-filled butts, and photoshopped-no-real-woman-looks-like-this skin.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: