Chew on this for a moment: nearly 11.5 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2006, with the most frequently performed procedures being Botox injections and liposuction. The frequency of silicone breast implants rose 18 percent from 2005.
Ninety-two percent of cosmetic procedures were performed on women.
Of all the numbers floating around in the article Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Research: Statistics and Trends for 2001-2006, that one screeched me to a halt and made me come back to make sure I read correctly. Yep, sure enough: Women had over 10.5 million cosmetic procedures, 92 percent of the total.
Even as the writer of a beauty blog, that horrifies me. I enjoy the fun and experimentation of make-up and beauty products, but I see them as items that enhance me, not alter or cover up something about me.
* 56% of women say they approve of cosmetic surgery
* 57% of men say they approve of cosmetic surgery
This is the wrong question, to me. It doesn’t matter if I approve of cosmetic surgery, though for the record, I don’t. What I approve even less is the concept of one, rigidly-defined standard of beauty for women, for which one is viewed as a failure for not attaining or even not wanting to attain. What I certainly don’t approve of is the suffocating pressure on women, that women help place upon themselves and each other, to constantly pick apart their appearances and the looks of other women, and ignore anything but the physical attributes of any female.
No, I don’t believe men face anywhere near the same pressure or scrutiny, and the fact that men sought only 8% of cosmetic procedures supports that. Nor do I wish upon men the same oppressive rigidity and militant standards of attractiveness.
What I wish is that women wake up and slap themselves out of it. No one can force you to shun your thoughts, mind, intellect, nature, and abilities to focus entirely on the size of your breasts, the slant of your nose, the shape of your lips, whether your belly is flat enough. Flat enough for who?
I love make-up, and I enjoy being pampered, getting my nails done, trying out a new hair color. These activities make me feel better about myself, because they’re fun, and because I accept and celebrate the way I look already. I am not trying to be someone else, or fit a Barbie-doll image foisted upon me by a society that truly will never appreciate anyone who doesn’t mindlessly bend to norms and expectations anyway.
But surgery? Needles into my forehead, my lips, a knife to my breast, a tube into my belly? No, sir. Keep your artificial body parts and your plasticized faces. I am proud of my 100% natural body, my God-given face, and most of all, the confidence and self-assurance to not even want to look into the mirror and see anything but me.
An argument so many women try to make is “But I did it for myself.” Not buying it. If you were deserted on an island with no one to ever lay eyes upon you, you wouldn’t invest in cosmetic surgery. If you were never subjected to glossy magazine spreads and billboards and worshipped celebrities, you likely would never feel a stir to change yourself in the first place. It’s not for you; it’s for a society that desperately needs to change its priorities.
To me, plastic surgery is saying, “It’s okay that this unrealistic pressure is put upon girls and women. I condone it by getting surgery myself and eliminating yet one more image of a “real” woman on this planet.”
I feel very strongly about this, yet I know not everyone agrees with me. Care to comment?