Plastic Pressure : The Pursuit of Perfection

by Vanessa Akin-Adesola Comments 8

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Symmetric eyebrows, long and curled eyelashes, slim nose, full lips, perfect teeth, long, lithe body. Perfection the elusive unicorn that we all chase. Or is it  plastic pressure? The aim of this is to review what constitutes ‘perfection’ by society’s standards. Also there’s a surprise collaboration at the end.

Society’s concept of the ‘perfect female body’ are clearly exemplified through commercialism. Image is everything, is it not? Trends that millions spend millions to follow and imitate.  Even on magazine covers, graphic artists are airbrushing ‘imperfections’, snatching waists quite literally. As a result society’s standard of perfection is replaced by a fantasy.

How though does this pressure to be plastic perfect begin?

Plastic Pressure- The Start

The pop culture icon that is the Barbie doll. Every child wanted one, at least I know I did. Barbie was most probably your first encounter with the female form. It subliminally helped construct your perception of beauty. Some may say that despite the Barbie dolls stereotypical and idealistic feminine appearance, for children that is not what is most important. It is more so the widely varying opportunities for imaginative play.

Lenore Wright in the book The Wonder of Barbie: Popular Culture and the Making of Female Identity says: “In the fictive world created by Barbie participants, imaginative,  identity-informing possibilities emerge that can serve to empower the participants in unexpected ways”.

Barbie Syndrome- is a term used to loosely describe the desire of some females to have a physical appearance and lifestyle characteristic of the Barbie doll. See Cindy Jackson

On the other hand there are many who feel that just like, film. music etc influence the choices we make, toys and video games play crucial roles in how children view the world around them and what they value in and around them.

What do you think?

Is Plastic Pressure Real?

Is plastic pressure real? Consider this. In 2013 a reddit user posted a side by side picture of Barbie. One of Barbie like you know her and the other of her without makeup on. The comments below that image revealed sadly what people really think. Lets just say, poor Barbie took a beating. See that image here.

Everyday, real women deal with the pressure to the perfect, to be plastic perfect. So many are shamed for not having perfect teeth, perfect hair, rock hard abs, straight legs etc. We live in a society obsessed with perfection and its impractical standards are pushed on us day by day.

What do I think? I believe that flawed as we all are, we are art. Imperfectly perfect as cliche as that might sound is my truth. Live in the truth of your flaws especially when they are physical flaws. Love Yourself. Love, Yourself.

Plastic Fashion?

Plastic is in, and no I don’t mean beauty standards. I mean literal plastic, the fabric. Plastic fashion is the trend that rolled over from 2017 and is taking over 2018. See here a report on the trend.

Abuja fashion girl Mabel Ozumba or as she is more known, The Style Linguist and I decided to style looks featuring plastic fashion.

Plastic Fashion with The Style Linguist

For my take on plastic fashion, I DIY-ed. You should know by now that it’s one of two things, thrift or DIY. I DIY-ed a plastic longline jacket with black piping. My plastic jacket cost me N3000 as that was how much it cost to purchase the fabric. I paired my plastic jacket with a pink sundress which I thrifted for N300.

Plastic Pressure

Mabel on the other hand went for a plastic see through bag . Which is probably one of the trendiest and easiest way to rock the trend.

Below is a comprehensive list of our outfit details.

Mabel’s Outfit

Denim Jacket ; Nyanya Market, Abuja

Skirt; Wuse Market, Abuja

Hat; Primark

Shoes; Asos

Plastic Bag: Nyanya Market, Abuja.

My Outfit Details

Pink Dress: Thrifted for N300 from Karmo Market, Abuja

Shoes: Primark

Plastic Jacket: DIY .


Want to learn how to style the plastic trend like a pro? Visit Mabel’s blog as she gives you  A Guide to Our Plastic Life.


The Wonder of Barbie: Popular Culture and the Making of Female Identity. Lenore Wright, 2003.

Battleground: Women, Gender and Sexuality. Stephanie Brzuzy, Amy Lind, 2007.

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Vanessa Akin-AdesolaPlastic Pressure : The Pursuit of Perfection


  1. Sarah Enuwa Audu

    This collaboration is fire girl! And you’re such a good writer too (applause really). I haven’t jumped on this trend nor do I plan to but if I do, I’ll definitely be going with the plastic bag.

    Princess Audu

    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      Thank you so much Sarah, that means alot. I agree I would definitely recommend the bag to anyone as a start. That jacket is only useful when it’s raining. Otherwise, it’s really hot.

  2. Tonye Barimalaa

    Plastic pressure is indeed real. As a little girl who owned a set of barbie collection, I remember how obsessed I was with Barbies and Walt Disney character looks and wondered why everyone was different. Presently, the pressure is still going on! People are looking up to celebrities who embrace being plastic, and they copy their lifestyle. In my opinion, embracing flaws is a facade.
    I love your look and how you both style the plastic trend. Nice post! I’m off to Mabel’s blog!

  3. Funke Olotu

    I love how you write and I’m sure you know.

    I also wanted a Barbie doll when I was younger and I can say that it made me question why my natural hair was the way it was but I’m over that and that’s not the reality for a lot of women.

    They “feel flawed” because society tells them that this body type is what a woman should look like and sadly it’s not their imagination.

    Body type is now a big deal in a lot of industries and it’s disturbing.

    It’s disturbing that women have been reduced to how they think we should look.

    You and Mabel look absolutely stunning. I didn’t know they sell plastic materials. I definitely want a jacket!

  4. Efe

    I was just nodding whilst reading this, society needs to work on fixing society’s standards, cause no hero is going to do it for us. Also, that diy jacket is super cute with the sun dress, I had no idea plastic material was just sold in markets. Definitely going to experiment on that.

  5. Efe

    I was just nodding whilst reading this, society needs to work on fixing society’s standards, no hero is going to do it for us. Also, that diy jacket is super cute with the sundress. I didn’t think plastic material would just be sold in the market, definitely going to experiment with this.

    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      I’m glad that it resonated with you. I agree that we need to change the standards ourselves. It took a while to find the plastic fabric but then I just happened upon it somewhere else and I was so excited.


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