I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately–mostly surrounding plastic surgery. If you follow me on twitter you know that I submitted multiple requests for consultations at different hospitals and offices around St. Louis that specialize in cosmetic surgery. Long story short, I hate my nose, and I want fuller lips (some small work on my butt, thighs, arms, and stomach wouldn’t hurt either).
From an early age family members always teased me about the largeness of my nose, and I always brushed it aside. Recently, the insecurity has become overwhelming. I look in the mirror and all I see is this huge nose staring back at me. I imagine my face would be a lot more pleasing to look at if my nose was a bit smaller, and less wide. My eyes could be more defined, and my cheeks would’t look as full. I know this sounds crazy, and as you read this you might be rolling your eyes. But, honestly, why do we hate cosmetic surgery so much?? I mean we (me included) think: Oh man, people who get cosmetic surgery are so embarrassing. They are consensually altering their face (+bodies) in order to fit societal beauty standards that we (+ I) fight daily to change, AND they are consensually partaking in the societal culture that physical perfection is all that matters. Greg Stevens from the Daily dot shares three reasons as to why we as humans get frazzled when people mention cosmetic surgery. According to Stevens:
- People who elect to have cosmetic procedures must be insecure.
- People who elect to have cosmetic procedures must be shallow and care more about looks than who they are “inside” as a person.
- People who elect to have cosmetic procedures are reinforcing the more systemic problem of looksism and narcissism in our culture, and are symptomatic of culture that constantly tells people that they aren’t attractive unless they look a certain way.
According to me, Safarii…real reasons why people (I) want plastic surgery.
- Because #mybodymyrules
- Because I can.
- Because I think it’d look nice
There is absolutely nothing wrong with adults deciding to make a change to their bodies by way of cosmetic surgery. Yes, we live in a society that deems beauty as the end all be all, and I see why people could agree with Steven’s 3 reasons. However, we can critique the system without condemning those who are shaped by the system. And, yes this system affects even those who have won the natural beauty/attractiveness lottery. Everyone is in danger. So, you’re wondering if I (a big believe in self-acceptance and self-love) wants plastic surgery does that mean that I am a phony. Was my entire #BodySeries a scam? No!
They way I look at it, criticizing plastic surgery is just another form of body shaming. As you all know the body positive movement is a movement all about loving one’s body the way it is without letting societal beauty standards dictate that they have to look a certain way to be deemed beautiful. So, plastic surgery could be considered the “real life” photoshop. Plastic surgery could be considered anti-feminisit because it encourages women to alter their appearance in order to garner positive responses + reactions. Right?
While body positivity encourages women to love their bodies the way it is, why do we assume that a woman has cosmetic surgery for anyone else other than herself? Why is plastic surgery any different from getting braces? Braces are considered societal norms for people with crooked teeth (who have dental insurance + sufficient funds). To this day, my dentist still asks me If I’d consider braces in order to fix a small overbite. How come every person who enters an orthodontists office isn’t targeted as being anti-feministic + not body positive. How come those who get Lasik eye surgery are not met with pitchforks after leaving the ophthalmologist? What about getting highlights by the hairdresser? Piercings + tattoos? Aren’t they all part of altering the body?
At the end of the day we have to remember that being Body Positive and being a Feminist means having the ability and the freedom to do what you please with your body + your own personal life. If getting plastic surgery makes me feel better, and doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process, then why should I be ashamed?
*Disclaimer: Safarii is currently a BROKE post graduate student, and will not be pursuing plastic surgery soon, but it’s definitely on her mind.
*Featured Image Artsit–Assa Ariyoshi