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Surgeons are warning of the risks of DIY buttock enhancement after a year-old woman died in the US from silicone injections. Why do so many women now want to be big-bottomed girls? But tragically, for Claudia Aderotimi, it was the desire for a more shapely behind which ended in her death. The student, who lived in North London, had travelled to Philadelphia for silicone injections, but died after suffering chest pains and breathing trouble following the procedure. Police investigating her death believe she made contact with a supplier over the internet, exchanging text messages and phone calls before flying over.

Even though the injection of liquid silicone for cosmetic purposes is banned in the US, there is a burgeoning black market in the substance. For many, the risks of the banned injections are worth taking, for the reward of a shapelier bottom.

Several internet chatrooms discuss the injections freely. Just kidding, I just want enough to fill out my jeans," writes one poster. I get it done every six months Claudia was a budding actress and model, who once wrote of how she "dreamt of taking the world by storm". Some people in the business say the pressure to look like stars who sport larger bottoms, such as Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Buffy Carruth and Beyonce Knowles, is encouraging young women to turn to cosmetic procedures.

As a singer and actor who stars in music videos, Tassie Jackson says the urge to conform is powerful. But, in today's society and the world that we live in, a lot of women feel the competition and the need to enhance their features," she says. Some artists will look for women with "more curves" when choosing dancers for a music video, she adds. References to so-called "booty", a slang term for bottom, are commonplace in hip hop and rap music. Beyonce Knowles' former band Destiny's Child even brought the word "Bootylicious" to mainstream consciousness. The term, which now even appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, is an amalgam of "booty" and the word "delicious".

But it's not just young people immersed in hip-hop culture who yearn for a bigger bottom. The of buttock enhancements across all ages has risen in recent years, with the most desired waist-to-hip ratio standing at around 0. There were more than 5, buttock lift and implant procedures which are legal carried out in the US in , according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

It is difficult to know how many illegal treatments are taking place - but the US Food and Drug Administration FDA says the of cases leading to serious injury or death is on the rise. Dr Constantino Mendieta, a plastic surgeon who specialises in buttock implants, dates the trend back to Jennifer Lopez's rise to stardom in the s. She drew attention to it in a good way. Demand for Dr Mendieta's Miami Thong Lift operation - which transfers fat from other areas of the body to create a fuller bottom - has risen fold in the last decade.

Cultural d ifferences. Myra Mendible, a social historian who has written books on the subject, points out that buttock augmentation has been around for years - in the 19th Century, women wore "bustles" to exaggerate their behinds. At the same time, she says, large bottomed-people have historically been a source of ridicule in many cultures. The most striking example was the Hottentot Venus, a young African woman who was kidnapped and exhibited around Europe in colonial times because she had large buttocks. Today, buttock augmentation procedures - both legal and illegal - are most common among African-American, Hispanic and transgender communities.

Female body types have always been a of what society aspires to, Ms Mendible says, with a lean muscular form preferred in capitalist countries, compared with larger rears in poorer places such as her native Cuba. At the time psychotherapist Susie Orbach wrote Fat is a Feminist issue the pressure was on women to reshape their bodies through dieting.

More than 30 years on Ms Orbach argues in the Times that the pressure to have buttock enhancement and other cosmetic surgery is wasteful - and therefore as important a social ill as pollution. Just like all the other most environmentally unfriendly habits of our affluent world, most cosmetic surgery is unnecessary.

Wouldn't it be great if these surgeons could focus their time on reconstructing bodies after cancer or burns, rather than on an industry that makes millions out of pointless body hatred? Jan Moir says in the Daily Mail that the tragedy is that Claudia Aderotimi was probably right about a bigger bottom being her passport into hip hop videos. The problem lies in the "relentless misogyny" of hip hop, she says. They wear tiny outfits, shake their booty at rappers and queue up to be treated as sex objects by the likes of 50 Cent and P.

Does my bum look big in this? The Life and Death of Saartjie Baartman. For some people, bigger is better. Fuller figure. Further reading. Published 29 November

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Big buttocks: Where does our obsession come from?