These victims of vanity still deserve our sympathy
Health scare: A PIP implant which thousands of women opted for in a bid to improve their appearances
What price beauty At this moment, tens of thousands of British women are asking themselves that very question. Tens of thousands of women are thinking: ‘Oh God, I’ve been an idiot.’
Tens of thousands of women are facing the reality of serious health problems caused, in most cases, by their own vaunting personal vanity — not to mention their determination to cultivate the perfect body that they feel nature denied them. Nearly 50,000, to be precise.
For that is the astonishing number of female British patients who are reckoned to have had breast implants from the discredited French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).
For some time, concern has been growing in France and elsewhere over its products after it was discovered the company had secretly begun using cheap, industrial-grade silicone in some of its implants.
Instead of the usual medical-grade silicone, it was using the kind of cheap gel used to stuff mattresses.
It goes without saying that this gel had never been approved by French health authorities or the European Commission.
Now it is known these implants are more likely to rupture, can allegedly cause chronic illnesses and have links to cancer.
They are ticking C-cup time bombs, buried deep in the bodies of tens of thousands of women who now find their health could be severely compromised.
Many of them, who attended private clinics in Britain for their implants, are terrified for their future.
Dangerous pursuit of vanity: There are nearly 50,000 British women who have caught up in the breast implant scandal involving French company Poly Implant Prothese. Many of the firm's implants (above) have ruptured
How they must be kicking themselves for their narcissism, their vain and hollow lust for a bigger bust. How silly they must feel.
Yet women have implants for all sorts of reasons, not all of them mad or bad. Even if there can be little consolation for any of them in the fact that this week an investigation has been launched into possible charges against PIP of manslaughter and unintentional injury.
This follows the death of one woman who had its implants fitted. So far, 2,400 French women given PIP implants have lodged legal complaints, no doubt a great number in the UK will soon follow suit.
Yet it is important to know that while the number of women admitting to having PIP breast implants is rocketing, not all the company’s implants contain the cheap silicone gel. The problem is that no one knows which do and which don’t — and there might never be an accurate count, either.
Demanding action: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley (above) wants private clinics to pay for reversal procedures
This is due to lax accounting practices, the plastic surgery black market in some Eastern European countries — and the staggering fact that a great number of British women have no idea what kind of implants they have in the first place. Not a leaky, ruptured, sagging notion.
‘American women who want the procedure tend to do a lot of research beforehand, but I can’t say the same about their British counterparts,’ says cosmetic surgery expert Wendy Lewis, who runs an eponymous global aesthetics consultancy based in New York.
‘A huge number don’t have a clue what is inside them, not even what brand or type their implants are. It is a very frightening and complex issue.’
Of course, we all understand the impulse to want to look better. But the fact that implant procedures have become so commonplace is disquieting.
Yes, in thousands of ways we are all in thrall to the beauty industry, yet there is a huge gulf between a new lipstick or a fresh set of blonde highlights and the female mutilation needed for breast implants.
For me, the sheer numbers of women caught up in this scandal is what is so shocking.
That there are legions out there prepared to willingly accept the medical risk of this serious operation, and for what To look good on the beach To feel a bit better about themselves
We all know some women have implants for what are deemed socially acceptable reasons (reconstructive surgery after cancer), while others do so for more selfish reasons (‘I want bigger boobies now!’).
But this scandal goes way beyond any moral relativism between those two camps, because, for whatever reason all these women had their breast implants, they had a right to expect that the treatment they were receiving was safe.
Plastic surgeons worldwide are recommending that these implants be removed as a precaution. Our Heath Secretary Andrew Lansley wants the private clinics to pay for any reversal procedures.
Some boob job‑ettes have already
complained that the private clinics won’t give them a free screening to
check if their implants are OK. If they had the money for implants in
the first place, you’d think they might find the cash to fork out for a
procedure that might save their lives, wouldn’t you I despair
Some have already said they will, others are ignoring any duty of care to these women and trying to wash their hands of the whole affair. Indeed, no doubt they purchased the implants in good faith — it’s not their fault.
Meanwhile, some boob job‑ettes have already complained that the private clinics won’t give them a free screening to check if their implants are OK. If they had the money for implants in the first place, you’d think they might find the cash to fork out for a procedure that might save their lives, wouldn’t you I despair.
Still, let’s hope that some positives emerge from this pit of horror.
Let us hope that from now on, thousands of young women, whose bodies are lovelier than they know, will think once, twice, thrice and beyond about ever having a boob job; about the reality and the consequences of inserting two alien plastic orbs inside their healthy selves.
For a breast implant operation is not nothing. It is not like hair extensions, or bleached teeth, or a spray tan. It is a serious medical operation with serious implications.
You are putting a foreign body into your body — one that might stay there for the next 20 years, with all that involves.
In the meantime, let’s have a little sympathy for these women who have been dreadfully wronged.
Yes, they may be victims of their own vanity, but they are bigger victims of greed and heinous, unscrupulous practice. I know which is the greater sin.
And I don’t mind if my taxes have to go towards putting this terrible wrong right — and, somehow, I feel they just might. Sigh.
The Moir Formula for stars' divorces
A scant year and a bit after they tied the knot in a lavish wedding in India, it is splitsville for Russell Brand and Katy Perry.
The grand ceremonial wedding gestures, the elephants, the firework displays, the families flown in from around the globe for a seven-day festival and celebration of love It all counts for nothing.
Hardworking and successful, Katy wasn’t ready to settle down and have children, while Russell wanted nothing else.
Split: Katy Perry and Russell Brand might have got the basics sorted first before getting hitched
You would think they might have sorted out the basics before getting hitched in the first place, but life is not like that on Planet Sleb.
Must I dredge up my mathematical equation about flashy weddings again
The square root of the ceremony (y) plus the sum of the starpower egos (2 x 12 megatrons) + (y) squared = a disaster.
In other words, the bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage.
Maternity alert: Peaches Geldof is pregnant with her first child.
The ‘model’ and ‘television presenter’ is expecting a baby with rocker fianc Thomas Cohen — another unwashed innocent in her long line of Daddy-alike dates, husbands and lovers.
What on earth can this news bring
For Peaches rushes into everything without much of a thought. Her television shows have bombed and any nascent attempts at a career of any sort seem to have stalled.
Over recent years her life has been one long helter-skelter of aimlessness, with any faint grasp of reality skewed by her tenuous yet destructive relationship with fame.
Being a mother might be the making of her. So far, despite the wonderful opportunities and education that came her way, nothing else has.
Let’s talk pants.
Is it my imagination, or has Becks gone from having a great, squawking, parrot-sized pouch in his previous undie ads for posh designer Armani to something a little more … modest in his new range of knicks for the high street chain H&M
Don’t you think he looks a little crestfallen in his new budget-range budgie smugglers
No wonder Posh never smiles any more.
Iron Lady: Meryl Streep is brilliant as Margaret Thatcher, but there is something deeply distasteful about the film
OK, pussy bows all round. Meryl Streep is brilliant as Thatch.
The Iron Lady film may be set for Oscar glory — and has apparently launched a fresh interest in retro Thatcher fashions.
Seriously All those statement brooches and shampoo and sets
Count me out. While The Iron Lady might be enjoyable, there is still something deeply distasteful about a film that focuses on the apparent dementia and mental collapse of a woman who is still alive.
Yes, haterz, even if that woman happens to be Margaret Thatcher. Can you imagine that same treatment being meted out to Shirley Williams or Tony Blair, should the madness ever claim them
Where is Alastair Campbell on this, the former Labour spin-doctor — always such a doughty promoter of mental health issues and thoughtless cruelties against those who suffer from this kind of illness.
There has not even been the tiniest skirl of his pipes on this issue. I imagine he’s very busy.
Two little chips off the old frock
Look out lingerie lovers. It’s time to clamber back into your Onesie and turn out the night light.
For Sadie Frost, and her tanga panty partner in crime Jemima French are back with a new range of lounge and sleepwear clothes.
FrostFrench Remind me.
Sharing types: Jemima French (left) and her panty partner in crime Sadie Frost
Well, Sadie was an actress who was once married to Jude Law. She was also a leading member of the decadent Primrose Hill ‘set’.
Previous designer credentials and fashion talent None.
Jemima has been her best friend since school days. Unlike Sadie, she is a fashion pro. They joined forces because Sadie helps with the free publicity her name always attracts.
A bit like Sienna Miller, who helps out with her sister Savannah’s Twenty8Twelve fashion range.
You don’t hear Sadie or Sienna complaining about press attention when they use their promotional clout to try to flog clothes, do you Just saying.
Anyway, it seems like only three years ago that Sadie and Jemima’s eponymous FrostFrench company went bust, with debts of more than 4 million. That’s because it was.
The FrostFrench creditors were paid a measly part of the money they were owed, setting the women free to relaunch themselves as designers supplying sleepwear to Debenhams. This time, they have roped in their young daughters — and have even named the new Iris & Edie fashion range after them.
‘We all share clothes anyway,’ says Sadie. And the girls, says Jemima, have been ‘surrounded by fabric swatches, fashion magazines and mood boards from a very early age’.
That’s not all they have been surrounded by. In 2002, Iris was rushed to hospital by her mum after swallowing an ecstasy tablet at a children’s party in a Soho club.
Now she has recovered and is helping mum with her capsule collection of sleepwear. Sadie said: ‘Iris has always loved putting outfits together and has a strong individual eye for colours and styles. She is even an inspiration to me.’
I do like a happy ending, don’t you
Eighteen years of lies that denied Doreen true justice
Inspiration: Doreen Lawrence has suffered greatly, but has been so brave and dignified
Doreen Lawrence says she has not slept properly since the trial of Gary Dobson and David Norris started in mid-November.
She waited 18 long years for those guilty verdicts to come, and when they finally did, her first thought was: ‘Can my heart take it’ She has been so brave, so dignified, so incredible.
This mother who has suffered so much — not just the terrible death of her son, a young boy who dreamed of being an architect, but the corroding effect it had on the rest of her family.
Like many, she is disappointed at the light sentences meted out. As the defendants were 17 and 16 at the time of the attack, they were sentenced as juveniles. Had they been sentenced as adults, the judge said they would have received a minimum tariff of 30 years.
It still doesn’t seem right. Dobson and Norris denied for 18 years that they had committed murder — and profited handsomely from that denial. They lived and loved. They had girlfriends and children, hobbies and fun. Opportunities.
Eighteen Christmases and birthdays. All things that were denied Stephen.
Nearly two decades of living free.
This big lie should count against them — not for them.