Plastic surgery seems to get a bad name in our society.
Without calling any specific person out, there are many celebrities who had quite clearly surgically altered their appearance, and yet they will deny it despite all evidence to the contrary.
Many body-positive women, including artists Melanie Martinez and Alessia Cara, have called out plastic surgery as being a problem that targets emotionally vulnerable and self-conscious women.
And in our everyday society, you often hear people laughing at plastic surgery, especially if they decide that the someone has ‘overdone it’ or that they shouldn’t have done it at all.
For one reason or another, there seems to be a certain amount of shame attached to getting plastic surgery. People are expected to learn to love the things that society has told them is flawed, and if they can’t but they don’t want to simply let it be either, then that’s considered a shame. But, personally speaking, I don’t think that there’s anything inherently wrong with plastic surgery.
And maybe that’s just because I’m a big fan of body modification in general. I love piercings, tattoos, hair dye – all sorts of things that alters the way nature made you to turn yourself into something that you made. Personally, I hate my natural hair colour and feel much more confident and beautiful with red hair. There’s no shame in that, and there really shouldn’t be. It should be treated as just another thing that I do to present myself on my body, like clothing or jewelry.
And because I love body modifications, I can completely understand someone wanting plastic surgery. I know what it’s like to struggle to make yourself love something on your body when you know that there is a way to change it. If that’s what you want to do, if it will make you feel more confident and comfortable in your skin, then I say more power to you!
The problem is not plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is only a means to an end – a tool, as good as hair dye or clothes. The problem runs much deeper than that.
The problem is that we live in a society where girls are told that the only way they can be beautiful is if they have big lips, youthful skin, large breasts. Our definition of beauty is far too narrow, and that isn’t okay. It is perfectly fine to have personal preferences and want to change your physical appearance for yourself, but it is not okay when you are altering something because you think that that is the only way you can become beautiful.
The problem is when people are so desperate to change something about themselves that they’re willing to put themselves into harmful situations to do it. Maybe they spend more money on it than they should, maybe they go to doctors who are unlicensed, maybe they don’t really know what they’re doing.
The problem is that the beauty industry is so complex and invasive that, at this point, we don’t even know what’s real and what isn’t.
And when people complain about plastic surgery, when they scoff and roll their eyes and say “you can tell she’s had some work done,” I like to think that this is really what they’re complaining about. Not that someone has had the audacity to surgically alter their body, but that there’s always this underlying suspicion that they’ve only done it to conform to this ugly and pervasive definition of beauty in our society. That’s really the problem here.
But the person who gets plastic surgery should not be treated as the one at fault here. Even if the only reason they are getting it is because they have been told all their lives that they needed to in order to be beautiful, that is not their fault. That is society’s fault, for making them feel that way.
Plastic surgery is not at fault. The narrow-minded definition of beauty is, and that is the thing that should be challenged. We need to let girls and women both know that they can be beautiful just the way they are, that they don’t need to change anything if they don’t want to. And if they still want to change something after that, then let them! That’s perfectly fine.
At the end of the day, there’s nothing inherently wrong with plastic surgery. If you’re doing it because it’ll make you feel happy, then do it! You deserve some happiness! Just make sure that the only person you’re doing it for is you.