Women – and men – have recently been geting a lot of attention for plastic surgery and it’s often negative. From celebrity plastic surgery rumors that spread like wild fire to religious statements made recently by the Vatican comparing plastic surgery to a “burqa made of flesh”.
This has all come despite the fact that plastic surgery is continually becoming more common due to the increase in less-invasive procedures, lower cost, and high success rate among credible physicians. Recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show an increase in cosmetic procedures over recent years with a reported 15.6 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures performed in 2014.
As Grace Gold states in “We Need To Shut Up About Plastic Surgery“, the inferred narrative for women is clear: If you elect to have a cosmetic procedure, you’re repressed and imprisoned or are making the wrong choice by falling prey to the superficial. Is this not an example of shaming women for making what should be a personal choice?
As we see with patients in our office and reports from many around the country, the reasons women – and an increasing number of men – choose to undergo plastic surgery varies greatly as each brings individual experiences to the table. But the underlying desire most patients seem to have is simply wanting to look as youthful as they feel and the inside and restore facial features to a previous state. Most men and women seek out facial plastic surgery following remarks from others who tell them they look angry or tired when they feel perfectly fine. Often times, insecurities can keep people from experiencing life to it’s true potential. Would we think those that choose plastic surgery based on these concerns are in anyway “fake” or lack authenticity as plastic surgery patients are often judged?
While there are many things men and women can do to enhance or alter their appearance, including tattoos, hair extensions, makeup, hair color, or cosmetic surgery, it really should be up to the person and not to society to decide what is appropriate and what is “too much”.
For many people these procedures significantly improve quality of life. You can read countless reviews on RealSelf.com where one mother, following tummy tuck surgery, shared that she used to sit on the sidelines during family activities as she was too self-conscious to where a bathing suit in public. After her tummy tuck, “I’m now that mum who runs, swims, plays with her kids – no longer thinking about what others are thinking. My confidence is through the roof!”
There seems to be this idea though that smart, emotionally healthy people should be able to look past such insecurities. The truth is, we all have concerns about our physical appearance. And when those concerns begin to impact ones quality of life, making the decision to undergo plastic surgery can be a very intelligent, healthy decision.
Yes, media influences and pressures can certainly effect ones decision to undergo surgery, as well as family upbringing and peer pressure. We all age and have insecurities about our physical appearance that changes overtime. While some deal with it and others decide to change it, it’s a personal decision. The final question Grace Gold poses is, “why should anyone get to set the standard for everyone else, and why are we still socially judging and condemning the choice to get cosmetic surgery?”