preview

America and Size

Satisfactory Essays
America and Size

Somewhere between the struggle for American independence and the first billion sales of the Big Mac, Americans became obsessed with size. From movies to sexuality, and from cars to cholesterol, super-sizing is an American trend that invades most of society. The reasons why are threefold, but primarily the American obsession with size is an extension of the frontier-mentality. The notion of the "American dream" and the tendency of Americans to try and find the best deal has also played an integral role. One of the most interesting aspects of Bigger is Better trend is the lack of academic work related to it; while there is no shortage of analysis on other common American fixations like aliens and Madonna. A lack of academic analysis does not mean that it cannot be analyzed, and it certainly doesn't mean that it isn't prevalent.

One of the most obvious examples of a preoccupation with size in America comes from the Centers for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic. According their records, there were about 678 million outpatient, non-emergency visits to doctor's offices in 1999, and approximately 2 million of those were consultations for cosmetic surgery, the most popular of which was breast augmentation. Of the 158 million outpatient procedures, at least 2 million were cosmetic breast augmentation. When this data is cross-referenced with health insurance coverage of cosmetic surgery (which is almost non-existent), it becomes apparent that the number of outpatient visits and surgeries would be higher if they were covered by medical insurance (Outpatient Surgery Statistical Abstract 11, 15, 16, 72). The convention of breast augmentation is a directly and explicitly observable tribute to the American mentality of bigger-is-better.

Another manifestation involving physical appearance involves fingernail fashions. Vicki Vantoch of the Washington Post wrote "Fingernail Fashion Choices" on December 28th, 1999. She compares many of the fingernail fashions she encountered to chopsticks, and marveled at how one of the subjects, a Rite Aid cashier, managed counting money and bagging with "2 inch talons." She concluded, "we make fingernail fashion choices based on our cultural aesthetics, values, social classes and ideas about our roles in society." (Vantoch C04). Perhaps the value she refers to is the same one that won MorePenis.com (a site devoted to products that claim to increase penis-size) millions of unique hits since it's 1999 inception (Marquee West). Just like the early Americans who explored the vast untamed wilderness of the west, modern Americans have given a whole new meaning to the Monroe Doctrine by expanding their own borders with larger breasts, longer fingernails and bigger penises.
Get Access