Plastic Surgery: The False Sense Of Self

Look at the gallery of women below. They range in age from 70 something to 20 something. Yet all have either secretly or admittedly had some type of plastic surgery. But even saying that, one opens a line of questioning starting with  “What do you consider plastic surgery?”

Some don’t feel botox is plastic surgery. I’m of the view that any medical procedure that you must visit a physician or surgeon for in the name of fighting the physical proof of one’s age is cosmetic surgery and if plastic is involved, then it’s definitely a big deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of plastic surgery. A way for people to erase the physical evidence of age or recreate themselves in their own envisioned image. But in some cases, it becomes a sick obsession where a person has such a distorted image of themselves that they go on this lifelong quest to transform who they are into what they feel is the ideal image of beauty when they look in the mirror.

Let’s start with 23-year-old Heidi Montag. As you can see from the picture on the left, nothing was really that terrible about Heidi, but she turned herself into the woman we now see on the right. So why the need for change?

Read the rest after the jump!

“I was made fun of when I was younger, and so I had insecurities,
especially after I moved to L.A. People said I had a ‘Jay Leno chin’;
they’d circle it on blogs and say nasty things. It bothered me. And
when I watched myself on The Hills, my ears would be sticking out like
Dumbo! I just wanted to feel more confident and look in the mirror and
be like, “Whoa! That’s me!” I was an ugly duckling before.”

That’s really, really sad. Heidi has had ten procedures thus far,
including a chin reduction, neck liposuction, fat injections in her
cheeks, butt augmentation, nose job revision and a mini brow lift to
just name a few.Part of celebrity culture is constant media scrutiny of appearance. In that sense, there is pressure upon women who work in the entertainment business to remain vital and young looking. But how young is too young? Like Montag, Megan Fox recently stepped out at the premiere of her new movie Jonah Hex and looked terribly different, leaving many to wonder if she’d had extensive work done. By seeing the before and after pictures, it’s evident that her face has been altered in some way that is beyond natural aging for a 24-year-old. Again, why? Why are young women desperate to change their appearance? Is the fear of being imperfect getting out of control not only in Hollywood, but in society in general?Then there are plastic surgery horror stories like that of Lil’ Kim, whose plastic surgery is joked about openly among many. It seems ironic that these women alter themselves in hopes of not being rejected based on their looks.  But after coming through the cosmetic surgery process, they become even bigger punchlines and subject themselves to even more ridicule than they did originally. Is that how the endless cycle of surgeries begins? Some say that there is such a thing as plastic surgery addiction, that it becomes something that people can control in a world where much of what they say or do is completely beyond control.  I think older generations paved the way of making plastic surgery acceptable, but even they were tabloid and talk show fodder because of their choices. People like Jocelyn Wildenstein, the socialite, or Cher or Roseanne or Joan Rivers were poster girls for that first wave of radical plastic surgery that began in the late 80s and early 90s. Many women argued that there was nothing wrong with ‘a little upkeep.’ But when upkeep becomes chasing the flame of youth and trying to put your face back to how it was decades ago, nothing good can come from such a task.Even now, more and more men are going in for plastic surgery, proving that physical perfection is being held up to every individual of every race, creed and color. Mickey Rourke was once considered one of the hottest men in Hollywood, but after years of addiction problems and plastic surgery, he’s become more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in that most people are now uncomfortable to look at him. Another case of trying to improve something that only backfired with disastrous consequences.There’s something to be said for aging. For those who proudly wear their age upon their bodies and their faces. It marks a certain level of self-confidence and self-awareness and humility. And it frightens me that the people going in for cosmetic surgery are getting younger and younger. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2009 statistics:”People age 35-50 had the most procedures – almost 4.5 million and 44 percent of the total. People age 19-34 had 20 percent of procedures; age 51-64 had 27 percent; age 65-and-over had 7 percent; and age 18-and-younger had 2 percent.”So it’s not grandma getting a facelift, it’s mom getting a breast augmentation, or sis getting a rhinoplasty. We’re all sensitive about our looks, which is why these numbers are so high. If people make a comment about our personality, we can change it to get them to like us, but if people talk about our looks, what can we do? I argue that in those moments of judgment, people find their true resolve: their talent. They go within themselves to find that one thing that they can do better than anyone else. So maybe Joan Rivers wasn’t the prettiest girl, but her sense of humor kept all others at bay. Maybe Cher didn’t look like the girls in her school, but that led her to an eventual path of performing and a career that has spanned four decades.It also should be said that some people are having cosmetic surgery not to improve their looks, but to make them not stand out in an obvious way, i.e. people with birthmarks or severe acne, etc. In some cases, there are truly benefits of cosmetic surgery that can improve one’s self image.  But would argue the majority of people having cosmetic surgery are not of this group.Instead of perpetuating unhealthy body images, people need to recommit to themselves that they are fine just as they are and that getting caught up in what other says (including the media and even us bloggers – we’re all guilty) is nothing more than a waste of time and a distraction from pursuing one’s true happiness.What do you all think? What are your thoughts on plastic surgery, especially amongst young women? Do you know of plastic surgery horror stories from your own life? What do you think motivates people to get plastic surgery?