In a world where people spend thousands of dollars to become a “real” Superman, a “Human Ken Doll,” and even a literal Cat-Woman, the story of Argentinian Luis Padron should not seem that unusual anymore. The 24-year-old Padron has spent over $30,000 on various surgeries and procedures intended to make him look like (and some might say, “turn him into”) a pale white-haired elf.
He has had operations on his nose, his jaw, and his eyes, as well as undergoing full body hair removal and skin bleaching. Future procedures Padron has planned include cutting his ears into points and limb-lengthening. He considers himself “trans-species.”
But this post is not to dwell so much on the idea of “extreme plastic surgery”—or even the concept of remaking ones self in the image of one’s choosing—but to examine the development of what I believe to be a “new” archetypal image.
Another young man who has been in the news lately (if that is what you can call The Daily Mail) is Vinny Ohh, who has undergone a similar plastic surgery journey as Padron—only in Ohh’s case, to resemble a “genderless alien.”
This immediately brings to mind David Bowie, especially from the movie The Man Who Fell To Earth.
The physical characteristics: enlarged/“alien” eyes & lack of gender-specific body parts. Now take that look “further” to described “aliens” from eye-witness accounts: a human/alien “hybrid” look, perhaps very tall and thin, perhaps with a very tiny nose, perhaps with a very prominent forehead (as in Ohh’s “look”), perhaps “Nordic” in appearance, etc. etc. etc.
Not only is this a common “look” in both cosplay and the “extreme” plastic surgery community, but it’s a common design for characters in pop-culture itself. It starts with the “Space Child” from 2001: A Space Odyssey, though one could say it started even earlier with Aleister Crowley’s illustration of “Lam” (Lam and the “classic grey” of the Communion cover pretty much the same thing minus the eyes).
Is this “face” a new archetype for humanity? And is contemporary pop-culture, as well as some of these people who choose to have their appearance altered in such extreme ways, sort of “tapping” into it? And/or has the image of the elf, fairy, angel, and others through the centuries and millennia merely the same as this type of “alien?”