These enhancements have little to do with individual health. In Western cultures, body enhancement is used to strengthen individual image and personal marketability and celebrate the ability to achieve a better position in the consumer society.
Humans are social beings, and society causes profound effects on the individual perceptions of self. The mass culture of consumerism, mass media and changing social norms impose new requirements on society members. Different cultures foster different norms of self-enhancement and wellbeing. In the Western society, slender tanned bodies operate as vehicles of marketable self, the drivers of seduction, and the instruments of achieving a strong competitive advantage (Featherstone 1991). When I decided that I wanted to get rid of a few kilos, I did not realize the underlying meaning of self-enhancement practices. One day, I looked into the mirror and felt that the picture in the mirror differed greatly from what I wanted to see. I thought that getting rid of a few kilograms and making my body tanned would give me a sense of huge personal satisfaction. I was never afraid of challenges; moreover, I always sought to accomplish challenging missions. I thought that body enhancement through exercise and tanning would improve my physical appearance. I also felt that self-enhancement would strengthen my confidence that I was able to achieve a better result, keep myself fit, and control my appetite. This being said, I went to a fitness club and, three months later, I could not recognize myself. Tanned, slim, and fit, I looked several years younger. Friends and relatives would look surprised and envious at how I looked. ...Show more