Reconstruction V. Reinvention
I’m not sure when the transition began, but what was once meant to be used for reconstructive purposes, plastic surgery is now an answer to millions of peoples’ slightest body dissatisfactions. From breast enlargement, to but lifts, rib removal for a smaller waist, nose jobs, labiaplasty—body modification doesn’t even justly describe some of the lengths people are going to just to achieve the perfect look. Or what some may think is the perfect look.
Plastic surgery has drastically affected the beauty standard. There is no way anyone with natural features can live up to a body that has been surgically sculpted. People now think that Botox, nose jobs, breast implants, and liposuction are necessary for beauty. The plastic surgery field has exploded; it’s out of control.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, and feeling happy about yourself. However, what lengths should one have to go to? I think it’s counterproductive to make surgical changes to yourself, in order to be happy with you. That’s not loving your true self. That’s loving an artificial version, made by the artful crafting of a surgeon’s tools. Anyone can look great after surgical alterations. Not only is it dangerous to go under the knife for elective procedures, but it sends the message to younger generations that one can just change what isn’t “perfect” about them, in order to have happiness. Happiness should come from within. Body satisfaction is achieved when you learn to accept your body and yourself as beautiful even with the imperfections—because no one is made nor meant to be perfect.
I detest the modern view on plastic surgery: if you’re not skinny enough or young enough, just go and make it happen. I’ve seen many cases of a person having so much surgery that they end up looking like a completely different individual. And nine times out of ten, the end result looks fake and undesirable. This is because people are meant to age! We are not immortal, so surgically trying to look it, results in an artificial, sometimes scary, appearance.
Plastic surgery first came about as a means for reconstruction: in cases when a person had been very badly disfigured due to accidents, fires, etc., a surgeon could do his best to give a recovered appearance. There is documentation of plastic surgery as a means to heal facial injuries from more than 4,000 years ago (Kita, 2015). From there, it grew into a million dollar industry of reinvention. Whatever happened to natural beauty? Or creating a better you by hard work, living a healthy lifestyle, and exercise? Why become someone with different features, only by the skills of a good surgeon? Does it not feel fake, and not really you?
I wish more models and actors in Hollywood would project a natural beauty campaign. Imagine commercials and advertisements showing people with REAL bodies, cellulite and imperfections included. That’s life. Bodies age, wear down, gain fat, and it’s all just a result of being a living human being. Imagine how much better young women and men would feel about themselves. Perhaps the rates of teen eating disorders, depression, and suicide would decrease as well.
Of course people are going to do what they feel will make them feel better, and it seems that surgery is becoming the easiest option for that. It’s such a shame that reconstruction has morphed into cosmetic alterations, and we are working our way toward complete reinvention by means of voluntary surgery. One day, we may not even be able to recognize one another.
Author: Emily Simpson
Emily is a dual-degree seeking student in psychology and communication disorders, with minors in biomedical sciences and nonprofit management. Emily plans on getting her master’s degree in neuroscience then going to medical school. Emily wants to become a doctor of neurology, specializing in disorders affecting communication.