Preface: I can still recall it; my teenaged sister staring at herself in the mirror for hours everyday, "Our genes are so bad yar, no other girl's nose is as big as mine". I was 7 years old, and thought she's just carelessly ruminating. That was until the focus went from her "big nose" to her "recessive chin". She'd wish it'd be more protrusive so her jawline could look like Kim Kardashian's. I wonder if the people reading this blog post have ever felt the same because without realizing it, this way of thinking had become ingrained in me too! I started thinking my nose was too big, comparing myself with the Brad Pitts and the Leonardo Dicaprios of the internet. Eventually, me and my sister made a pinky promise to get rhinoplasties together when we grew older. Of course, that was before I realized how media had brainwashed both of us into thinking we needed to. Mrs. Potato Head: This is a song by Melanie Martinez and it means a lot to me. It satirically pokes at the new culture of insecurity that media breeds into young adults and teens, where they feel like they need to get plastic surgery to be attractive/loved. The song title comes from a character in Toy Story; Mrs. Potato Head. She and her husband(Mr. Potato Head) are both toys that are made of plastic(Clever innuendo here if
you read between the lines) and their appearance can be altered through different attachable mini-toys (like glasses, a new nose, and red lips).
This song cleverly uses Mrs. Potato Head as an analogy for people who end up getting plastic surgery to alter their appearance purely out of insecurity/peer pressure and because they link their need to be loved with how they look.
'Cause pretty soon you'll be bored of it, ha-ha" The song starts off playfully commenting on how once you start putting your self-worth in materialistic things(like the size of your nose), there is no limit. With each temporary body modification, you'll be incentivized to get more (since procedures like Filler/Botox require re-applications every few months). Consequentially, this cycle will keep continuing because plastic surgery(in this case) is just treating the symptoms of an insecurity, rather than treating the cause. "Kids forever, kids forever,
Baby-soft skin turns into leather" This pre-chorus ironically criticizes the age-ism that is present in Hollywood-culture. Actresses (and to a lesser extent, actors) are not allowed to look old for fear of losing mass appeal. Hence, just to stay competitive with new-comers, they're directly pressurized into getting anti-wrinkle surgeries/Botox so they can keep looking young even way into their fifties (Some examples: Madonna, Jennifer Anniston, Christina Aguilera, Majority of the Kardashians, Iggy Azalea, Courtney Cox, Lil Kim). And this leads directly into the lyric that makes the biggest statement to me:
No one will love you if you're unattractive"
It is important to note that in the sentence above, Martinez is not telling the listeners what she believes but rather, what society and media has directly or indirectly told her and other girls to believe.
Even if her face doesn't stay together?" The above mentioned chorus directly addresses Mrs. & Mr. Potato Head and asks several rhetorical questions (in the context of the song, it is addressing someone who succumbed to getting plastic surgery just to please the person who enabled and paid for it). Will the man who Mrs. Potato Head tried to please through going under-the-knife still love her once those changes wear off? Is it truly love if he wants to change her appearance in the first place? "If you want a little more confidence
Here is another part of the song where the singer uses sarcasm and metaphors to portray how ridiculous it is that rather than looking inwards, people feel the need to spend large amounts of money:
Just so they can be appreciated by society
Just so they can look like the Kardashians,
Just so they can "fit in".
I hope the message this song is trying to send is being received. I would like to conclude by saying that neither I, nor this song, is radically denouncing plastic surgery as a whole. Surely, at times plastic surgery can be necessary, and at times, helpful for certain situations. However, the use of plastic surgery just to please others is the problem. Promoting the use of Botox so that people will love you makes a mockery of the values we hold as a society, and it is a horrible thing to promote to a young and gullible audience like my teen-aged sister and by extension, a 7 year old me.
Please do give the song a listen and also watch the music video! The videography is amazing and also directed by Melanie Martinez. If you like the topics this song covers, you might also like Pretty Hurts by Beyoncé, as well as Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey.
Also, please let me know what you think!
Signing off, Ali Roman.