Cosmetic & Plastic Procedures

This one is tricky for me because it’s a subject with which I have had much personal contention. Today, plastic and cosmetic procedures are more popular than ever. They are seen as a common fix-all solution for people to perfect their bodies and faces. Botox, laser hair removal, cellulite treatments, face-lifts, nose jobs, liposuction, liposculpt, breast implants, butt implants, calf implants… and the list goes on.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 1.5 million people underwent cosmetic surgical procedures in 2009. Most popular? Breast augmentation, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, liposuction and tummy tucks. Also last year, 11 million people got minimally invasive cosmetic procedures such as botox, soft tissue fillers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser hair removal.

Growing up, I dreamt of the day when I would be old enough to get plastic surgery and make all of my “flaws” go away. It seemed like magic – so fast –– so easy.

When I entered into recovery from my eating disorders, I almost forced myself to see cosmetic surgery solely in a negative light (except for medical reasons, of course). It wasn’t until someone very close to me revealed that she had gotten breast implants that I was forced to take a step back and reconsider my stance. I was shocked at first. Breast implants? Why? She was beautiful the way she was. For a while, I couldn’t accept that she was the same person I’d thought she was, but with time, I found peace and realized she still the same joyful, loving friend I’d always known.

Everyone has different reasons for undergoing these types of procedures, and it’s unfair for any one of us to say what is right and what is wrong. Whether a woman undergoes breast augmentation after a bout with cancer or just because it’s something that she personally wants, it is an extremely personal matter. I now realize that I cannot be so quick to judge. While I may not have made the same decisions as others, it is their life, their body and their choices.

Rather than criticize those who have made the decision to undergo plastic surgery, might it be more appropriate to examine our culture and mass media? Considering the popularity of cosmetic surgery around the world, might it be fair to say that the increasing number of people choosing plastic surgery represent more of a symptom than a cause for criticism? Do they not deserve our respect, and in some cases, compassion? Instead, we must address what it is about our society that breeds this kind of need in people’s minds. Thus, we instead be lending our energy to reach the root of the issue rather than simultaneously putting temporary bandages over the wounds and insulting people.

In the case of celebrities, the choice to alter one’s body is still an extremely personal one, but the situation differs a bit. There is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with being in the spotlight. Whether a famed figure likes it or not, people will be affected by his or her personal choices. When the tendency in pop culture is for fans (especially young fans) to hang on their favorite celebrities’ every word, public figures are well served to bare some level of responsibility for their words and actions.

I can only offer my two cents and say that, above all, the most beautiful thing you can do is embrace your authentic self. And it is never too late to do that.

©2010 REVOLUTION OF REAL WOMEN, LLC. All rights reserved.


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