Disclaimer: This post is not intended to offend anyone who has gotten plastic surgery, cosmetic or otherwise. You are loved exactly the same as those who haven’t.
As I was driving to work this morning I heard this song, Mrs. Potato Head by Melanie Martinez.
It talks about how girls/women these days are getting plastic surgery to fit society’s ideals of beauty. Some of the lyrics say…
“Oh Mrs. Potato Head tell me, is it true that pain is beauty? Does a new face come with a warranty? Will a pretty face make it better? Oh Mr. Potato Head tell me, How did you afford her surgery? Do you swear you’ll stay forever? Even if her face don’t stay together. Even if her face don’t stay together. If you want a little more confidence, potatoes turn to french fries, yeah it’s common sense. All you need’s a couple more condiments and a hundred thousand dollars for some compliments. It’s such a waste. When little girls grow into their mothers face. But little girls are learning how to cut and paste and pucker up their lips until they suffocate.”
Miss Melanie has a good point. We live in a world that constantly shoves it’s ideas of beauty down our throats. From wrinkle cream ads to the Atkins diet, it’s all marketing with the same message:
“Be what we think is beautiful or you aren’t beautiful at all.”
But hey, for 3 easy installments of $49.99 you can use a cream for wrinkles that will give you hives. Who wouldn’t want that? Now let me be clear, I have nothing personally against plastic surgery or those who get it. It’s a very personal choice and not one I can pretend to understand. I have never disliked something about my body so much that I would pay thousands of dollars to change it. However, many women (and men) have. This post is not about those people.
This post is about living in a society that tells these people that they need to change themselves to be “truly beautiful”. This post is about examining what damage we’re possibly causing our children by raising them that self acceptance comes from going under the knife, not from within. This post is about how (I think) we ended up hating ourselves so much.
The first face lifts and nose jobs were performed in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Breast implants and augmentations, while still rather barbaric, started even earlier than that. Various rough versions of reconstructive surgery were used during the world wars to help injured and disfigured soldiers. Dr. John Davis, the first professor of plastic surgery in the US, established the first formal training program and fellowship for plastic surgeons in 1924. In 1931 the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPS) was formed. Then in 1937 The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) was formed, causing a dramatic raise in standards for the specialty. Between 1950-1959 cleft lip and cleft palate procedures revolutionized the treatment of facial deformities and helped hundreds of thousands of people. In 1954 a plastic surgeon named Joseph Murray performed the first ever live organ transplant. Plastic surgeons, advocating for their patients, fought for many of the good things we take for granted today, such as shatter proof windshields. This specialty has in fact helped millions of people. In 1962 the first silicone breast implant was unveiled, followed shortly after by advances in cosmetic craniofacial surgeries in the 1970’s. Then in 1982, liposuction becomes a thing and by the end of the 1990’s plastic surgeons are performing more than 1 million cosmetic procedures each year. Between 2000-2009 body contouring (the removal and tightening of excess skin left over after weight loss) is introduced and implemented. In 2014 15.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries were performed. Compared to the stats of the 90’s that’s 14.6 million more surgeries each year. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons predicted that the number of cosmetic procedures would spike to 55 million in 2015 and that’s for the US alone. We’re still waiting on the annual report that will either confirm or deny that however. Nonetheless, to say the occurence of cosmetic surgery procedures has skyrocketed would be the grossest understatement of the century.
We live in a world that always wants to change us, “make us better”, “thinner”, “tighter”, and “more defined”. We’ve traded in our self acceptance and chosen science instead. It’s no longer about loving the perfectly healthy body you were given; no, it’s about changing it till it fits whatever ideal television, the Internet, the Kardashian’s have pounded into your head. I have nothing against people who get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons. If it truly helped them feel more comfortable in their own skin then that’s amazing. What saddens me is that they couldn’t work towards this same comfortability by learning to accept themselves.
Beauty is NOT one size fits all!!
We are not all supposed to be 5’6″, blond haired, 32DD toting, tan Barbie dolls. Our noses are not supposed to be as thin as pencils and chiseled down to the bare essentials. Our asses are supposed to jiggle, for fuck’s sake!! And sagging? That shit happens people! Gravity is a bitch! She always will be! The only thing we all have in common is our utter uniqueness. Our specific look, the look god, nature, whatever gave us that is ours and ours alone. No one on the face of this earth looks exactly like anyone else and that is how it is supposed to be!
Who gets to decide that what beautiful is? Who made the rule that your thighs are only the perfect size if you can stand with your feet shoulder width apart and fit a quarter between them? Who says only light eyes are pretty? Who gets to decide what is considered “skinny”, “fat”, “pale”, “ugly”, too this or too that? Who makes these fucking rules?! We know…
Society does. The media does. Current trends do. Marketing does. And a million more things…
However, we CHOOSE to conform to these ideals. They can’t exist without us believing in them. If you woke up tomorrow and everywhere you turned something or someone was saying that anyone between the ages of 20 and 30 should cut 3 inches of flesh off their body each year, would you agree? Would you do it? No?
Then maybe you can understand why I can’t comprehend what drives millions of people to get their flesh cut off, sucked out, nipped and tucked. What pushes them towards getting their bones grated down, their genitals partially removed, or having foreign substances injected into their body so they can have “fatter asses” and “fuller lips”.
What ever happened to “Love Yourself”?
What happened to unconditional self acceptance? What happened to teaching our children that they are beautiful just the way they are? Again, I am not attacking people who’ve had work done. I’m not angry with them or disgusted and I have no other negative emotion towards them. I’m just… Sad.
I’m sad that we live in a world where it’s completely normal to make payments higher than a 20 year mortgage for a set of saline tits. I’m sad that I’ve heard girls as young as 12 talk about buying these tits or getting nose jobs done “when they grow up”. I’m sad that we’ve forgotten how to love ourselves because hey, there’s an easier (much more expensive) option. I’m sad that we dislike ourselves so much that we would sooner get possibly dangerous, sometimes fatal procedures done instead of learning to love our own reflections.
I’m angry that we live in a day and age that has pushed us to this. I’m angry that society gets to decide what beautiful is. Not because someone else should be deciding but because it isn’t a decision.
We are all beautiful. In our own unique way we are all majestic fucking snowflakes, different from each other, but special in our own way. Cosmetic surgery is completely unnecessary. I’m fully aware that there’s various necessary surgeries; I’m not referring to these whatsoever. I’m also aware that some people have physical malformations that require surgery but are still considered “cosmetic” by insurance companies. I’m not talking about them either. I’m referring to purely cosmetic surgeries for completely cosmetic reasons. Again, I don’t judge these people. I’m just sad we live in a society that defines anything different and outside of the norm as “ugly” or “not good enough”. I have things about myself that I don’t particularly like and I know that this dislike stems from an ideal that has been wedged into my mind through tv, the Internet, etc. But I refuse to surgically change my body because of it. I will find a way to love these things, even if it takes a lifetime. I don’t/won’t judge anyone who chooses the surgical road to self love. However, that doesn’t change the fact that pain is not and will never be beauty. Beauty is beauty. Pain is pain. It’s that simple.
by Ashley Hebner.
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