The Heidi Montag Syndrome

Even though I may not readily discuss that I watch “The Hills” and know every character arc and plot twist, I have to admit that this final season is one to watch if you’ve never brought yourself to sit through an entire episode. I am not endorsing the show as a revolutionary concept in reality television or some groundbreaking visionary idea that changes the way we view life, love and happiness. What I am interested in is the amazing exploration into self-hatred, body dysmorphic disorder, and addiction to plastic surgery that are the backbone of this heated, over-the-top final season of one of MTV’s hit reality television shows.

Heidi Montag is the epicenter of this final season as she is the recent victim of Hollywood’s self-esteem shredder which caused her to undergo ten plastic surgery procedures — including a butt lift, a second breast augmentation, a second nose job, ear tuck, liposuction and a lip job. She looks like she’s wearing her face as a mask and the real Heidi is hiding underneath waiting to reassure all of us that she would never really go that far.

Her transformation became quite apparent throughout the five seasons since the show has been on the air. First it was nose jobs and lip plumping Restalyne and then it became something else entirely. One of the most eerie moments in Tuesday’s episode shows her going home to Crested Butte, Colorado where she visits her mother and family. She asks her mother if she looks good and her mother responds that she was prettier before any of the surgery. Its moments like this that are important for women everywhere to watch as we get the unusual and often rare opportunity to witness the mental and emotional breakdown of a young woman pressured by society’s difficult and demanding standards of beauty only to butcher herself to the point of no return.

Unfortunately, Heidi’s transformation isn’t the only one that occurs on the show. Fellow castmate Audrina Patridge is also guilty of going under the knife since the beginning of the show. She injected her lips and underwent a breast augmentation in order to keep up with the pressures of looking perfect. It’s hard to watch such young women destroy their bodies in order to satiate a public that is as fickle as it is careless.

Another casualty of the plastic surgery nightmare is Spencer Pratt’s sister Stephanie. Spencer Pratt is the resident villain and Heidi Montag’s slimy husband. Stephanie admitted that she has battled with an eating disorder for most of her young adult life and that after seeing herself on the reality show has lost an extreme amount of weight and went under the knife in order to achieve what she deemed as physical perfection.

Although “The Hills” seems like an innocuous little reality show featuring a bunch of spoiled rich LA girls who are more worried about which party they’re hitting up than world peace or the plight of the economy, this couldn’t be further than the truth. “The Hills” is a great social commentary on the effects of today’s internet society which has created legions of maladjusted young women who would rather destroy their natural beauty with plastic upgrades than learn to accept themselves.

I look forward to the time where there are reality shows that uphold young women for looking different and loving their looks rather than tearing them down from the inside out. Beauty sometimes equals pain but it shouldn’t equal self-destruction!

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