A young mother to two beautiful little girls—ages 7 and 8—visits a cosmetic surgery center in Miami. She plunks down a little over $2,000 on the counter at Cuerpos Health and Aesthetics. She receives her paid-for care, gathers her belongings, and makes her way for her car.
She was “cold and trembling,” staggering to her car in the hot Miami sun, when a local business owner saw her hit the ground.
“I was looking at her, and she fell down so I went outside, I picked her up, I asked her where’s her car,” he said, before he called 911 for her.
Suyima Torres died later that day from a botched butt injection.
She is not the first to die from botched booty work, nor is she even the only to experience harmful side effects from procedures performed at that office. Just days before, Dailen Garcia, 20, was placed in intensive care for bleeding lungs and impaired vision from complications due to the same procedure.
These stories are not unique. Early last year, a Los Angeles woman told a story of how going to a “pumping party – an event where people (not always just women) come together and all get mystery booty injections from unlicensed, uncertified persons – resulted in her losing all four of her limbs.
“I’d received the butt implants 8 years ago, so for five years, I lived in pain, excruciating pain,” April Brown told KNBC news last May.
In Shot Girlz, a book written by video vixen Vanity Wonder, a very sordid story takes readers into the underground world of stripping and shows how the competitive nature of “wanting to have the biggest booty in the house” continuously sent girls back to get bigger, fuller, larger injections of products they couldn’t even identify… products that were later identified as food-grade soybean oil.
This isn’t about squats. It’s not about lunges. It’s not about working out, it’s not about being fit, and it might not even be about – dare I say it – men.
What is so promising about a big booty that it would encourage an almost-30-year-old-woman to risk abandoning her 2 adolescent daughters? What is so important about having junk in the trunk, that a woman would allow industrial-grade silicone to sit inside of her for five years – causing her, in her own words, “excruciating pain” – instead of having it taken out immediately before it caused her to lose all of her limbs?
When you hear the story of 39-year-old Natasha Stewart – alias Pebbelz da Model – who not only lied for years about having had booty injections… not only went on to continue lying about having injections while being paid to give injections to others… but was arrested for homicide for killing someone by injecting them with concrete? What in the world are we supposed to think? What are we supposed to do?
This is not a phenomena exclusive to persons of color – society has long bestowed favor upon those who display ideal traits. In some cultures, it’s blue eyes or blonde hair. In other cultures, it’s height. In others, it’s a nice round booty.
And, just like some people artificially die their hair blonde in a way they presume is safe, some people are going to pumping parties (hey, it’s safe… all the other girls have done it and they’re fine…right?) or XXL mag models or vacant motel rooms to get their injections in a way they presume is safe.
Except…it’s not. And, more importantly, it’s not worth the risk. The exact same system encourages both to take risks, but one causes you to stain your shirt or your sink; the other can kill you.
I know that it’s common place for society to make women feel like their worth is in their appearance – and, hell, considering how far away we are from gender pay equality, who can blame them? – but to go to such extreme lengths…we have to draw the line somewhere, individually. Not only is it unhealthy, but it is dangerous. The mother above who died and left her two little girls without a parent – what will her daughters learn about their mother’s passing, and how will it affect their relationships with their own bodies?
This is a phenomenon that must stop. Great people are losing their lives and limbs in nonsensical ways because of this procedure that has no official procedure, no certification, nothing. We are letting people toy with our lives… and for what?
Our lives mean more than this. There is always a healthier, safer, more sensible, more sustainable way. This ain’t it.
Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs her journey of losing over 150lbs. A personal trainer certified in women’s fitness, fitness nutrition and weight loss coaching, she can be found on Facebook and Twitter.