“Baby I was born this way” sings Lady Gaga on anthemic track of the same name. But not everyone can say that. In fact, more than 37,500 plastic surgery procedures were carried out in 2011, in the UK alone.
Plastic surgery isn’t good for you. We all know that. Especially in the light of recent events; namely, that breast implants (particulary PIP implants) can rupture inside of you. As a result of this, surgeons from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) have argued that all adverts for cosmetic surgery should be banned. (Read my piece on this here.)
But no one seems to care. In much the same way being told smoking is bad for you doesn’t really hinder you from sparking the lighter and bringing it to the cancer stick in between your lips.
But why? It seems we live in a culture where you are expected to (or think you are expected to) look perfect all the time. When celebrities leave their house without make up (ie looking how they actually look) paparazzi cluster to capture the atrocity, and the pictures often make front page news.
What does this breed? A culture in which people think looking natural is a crime. A culture in which people think looking natural is not good enough.
And so there are the girls that pile make up onto their faces, the ones who prod and poke at themselves in the mirror. “I’m so fat” they say. Before booking an appointment for liposuction, because God forbid something isn’t instant in this day and age. God forbid someone actually needs to work for what they want. Gym? Sweat? What’s that, they say. Why bother? There’s an instant solution.
It’s much the same with everything these days really, communication is instant – so we expect it instantly. Changing the shape of your nose is possible – so why not? You want bigger boobs to match your new dress – might as well get it done, you can, after all.
But that’s not the way you’re supposed to look. You were born looking a certain way for a reason. We are not a planet of clones. We cannot all be good looking. There would be no differentiation between what is and what isn’t. As someone humorously put it, ‘take one for the team.’ And I have no doubt that satisfaction would never ensue. There would always be bigger boobs, a straighter nose. Where does it stop? Hopefully before you end up looking like the woman in the picture above.
I do acknowledge that in some cases plastic surgery is undoubtedly necessary. Back pains over breasts that are too big should no doubt mean they need to be reduced. A scarred face from an accident should undoubtedly be fixed, because an error made it that way.
I understand that for some people a wonky nose or tiny breasts are a source of great mental pain and can make them feel insecure, often debilitating their social skills. I understand that at times those same individuals, once under the knife, feel much better about themselves. But that is a short term solution, not a long term one. That is assuming the reasons for your discomfort are what’s on the outside, when often that is just an excuse. Allowing this simply perpetuates the cycle and the negative beliefs of society, instead of saying ‘I am good enough as I am, take it or leave it.’
It’s cheating. It’s vain. It’s not good for your body, or your self-esteem. It’s not good for the self-esteem of those around you. You should be happy with what you have. Some people have one arm, one leg, one breast. Half a genital.
And here the western world are, as usual discontented and complaining of first world pains. Simply making everything bigger, stronger, straighter. Unaware and unconcerned that often, what we need to work on, is inside.