COSMETIC SURGERY-MY ARSE!
71% of 50 women said they were considering cosmetic surgery*. OK, that statistic comes from a woman's fashion magazine and is therefore probably biased, but I would think anything over 10% was shocking.
When asked to write about 'a sad subject' for class a few years back, my teacher didn't understand why I wanted to write about cosmetic surgery. But I feel that when society has gotten to a point where people are voluntarily being cut open to improve their appearance there is something wrong. Why are our looks, just a small part of us as a person, so important?
There is, in fact, an entire industry based upon peoples insecurities now. In some magazines there are 20+ adverts for different 'Doctors' specialising in cosmetic surgery. And although it is marketed as a longer lasting alternative to make-up or diets, there are often extreme dangers involved. Botox and lip fillers (the most common procedures asked for) can cause more cosmetic damage than they prevent when not properly applied. Many women have been left permanently scarred. Often women who, at under thirty, probably didn't "need" it anyway.
How anyone can consider breast or bottom implants after the dozens of famous examples of silicone poisoning is beyond belief. Pamela Anderson, Daniella Westbrook, there's plenty more... Alicia Silverstone has even made her ordeal with silicon implants very public in order to show the risks cosmetic surgery has.
But although these cases are tragic in themselves, it doesn't happen all the time. I feel the very idea people would allow themselves to be operated on merely to improve their looks is a greater crisis. What does it say about us? What does it imply about people who do not comply to the traditional rules of what is beautiful, that they are some how lesser?
There was once a cream marketed that lightened black skin. The majority of the public was outraged, and rightly so. But is cosmetic surgery not just as big an insult to those who society considers "ugly"? It is no more under a persons control what size or shape their features are than the colour of their skin. It should be no more of a shortcoming either, and I simply feel that the cosmetic surgery industry is connoting that we should (or have some obligation to) look 'perfect.'
Another awful fact about cosmetic surgery is that it doesn't change anything except you appearance: unlike some people subjecting themselves to it think it will. Like wealth, it cannot make people happy if they weren't already. Confidence might improve, but for somebody to have cosmetic surgery I don't think their esteem can be high. There will appear something else to feel insecure about, and this may lead to more surgery, not solving the initial problem. I refrained from saying 'beauty comes from within' earlier in this essay, as it's an awful cliché and I'm not even sure it's true. But confidence can only come from self esteem and a satisfaction with oneself, and changing outside factors like appearance can't produce this.
To address another issue, some would argue that people who have had disfiguring accidents have a right to have cosmetic surgery. I agree. Although this contradicts what I have said about society should accept everyone, unfortunately it doesn't. And furthermore being injured is traumatic enough as it is; being left looking like someone else causes even more distress. The only exception, in my opinion, is medically obese people having liposuction. I don't believe this should be practiced for medical use, as again: it Doesn't. Solve .The. Problem. The weight will likely be put back on since little effort (according to a friend of mine who underwent it) is made to re-address the problems of emotional links to food, or lack of knowledge of a healthy diet.
Western society sure is a strange place to live in. Imagine in you came across a "primitive tribe" (sorry for the bad example) somewhere, who cut each other apart, suck the fat out of people, injected paralysing poison into their skin and broke their bones in search of perfection. In England we'd be all smug and sniff at the crazy little ape-men, in America you'd probably "nuke the bastards". I mean, some people even get twitchy about rings round peoples necks or head shaving! But that's what we are doing, and thousands of people a year subject themselves to treatments that take from one to six months to recover from and leave in some cases horrific scars. And all in the name of beauty. All in the name of "good looks."
It's not that I think to have plastic surgery is morally wrong, it's not that I think we shouldn't mess with what "god gave us" or whatever. I just think it's heart-rending that people think so little of themselves they feel they need cosmetic surgery. If you are considering it please think about how much more you are worth. It's becoming a bit of a modern cliché, but look at Michael Jackson! Leave the hospitals for people who are ill, and be glad you can chose whether to be operated on or not.
And to cosmetic surgeons, I like my arse the way it is, so f*ck off or I'll sit on you!
*19 magazine, June 2003
Yeah, I know it was badly written, but it's just something I feel strongly about. Hope I didn't come off as preachy... I do a lot. Please review, flames will be uses to burn down cosmetic surgeries!