Cosmetic Surgery




The Human Obsession
In most television programs or magazines, depictions of an unrealistic population are portrayed. The images of clean-cut suburbanite family life, portrayed by television in the middle of the twenty-first century, can certainly be joked about now, however, this was only the spark that lit the flame. Families like the Cleaver’s, the Nelson’s, the Osmond’s and the Brady’s were put on screen to show our world what everyone’s life should be like. They had good children, nice homes, and every episode taught some lesson in mortality. Every wife wanted to be just like June or Harriet. Every teenager wanted to be Greg or Marsha. Society felt that they could be like one of these unrealistic characters, possibly have something that they had, they would, in some way, be happier or a better person. Then, corporations caught wind of this “effort to be like” and sent it to their advertising departments. Soon, it was not just another pretty face endorsing Mabeline cosmetics; it was super-model, Twiggy. Who better to sell the products, but someone rich, famous, beautiful, and appearing to be flawless. These seemingly trivial beginnings have now snowballed. Take a closer look at who is on the big screen; superstars like Pamela Anderson, a 5’7” blond weighing in at 115 pounds, including both of her 34 DDD’s. These are the images our society looks at in awe and strives to become. Looking good is a universal human obsession. Plastic surgery has taken the role of the closest thing to perfection of the body that we obtain. The reasoning behind cosmetic surgery are self-esteem, success, social stability, and health.
The definition of plastic surgery is “a medical specialty that has distinct branches of its own. The word plastic is derived from the ancient Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or give form” (Heckaman and Henry 5). Many search for perfection by undergoing surgery to construct their ideal figure or shape. Due to distorted expectations many are not happy with the results of the surgery. The concept must be understood that surgery will not save a marriage or make someone a super model. The psychological well being of the individual must be evaluated by the physician to determine if the surgery is appropriate for the patient (Sevinor).
A major factor of self-esteem is being comfortable with outer appearance. Another major factor of self-esteem is feeling good mentally. Lack of confidence and/or self-esteem due to unsightly features or irregularities drives many people to surgery. The want for cosmetic surgery starts with a quest to change the outside to help satisfy inner feelings. Sevinor points out that “there is a relationship between self-image and the desire to change one’s looks.” Gaynor’s statement “beauty may be only ‘skin deep,’ but that thin layer of skin is awfully important in almost all our interactions as human beings” (18) is a bitter reality.
The world tends to give attractive people the upper hand. Gaynor declares “looking as good as possible can remove an often secret barrier to success” (3). He
tells of observations when patients underwent surgeries such as face and eyelifts, then received higher paying jobs. Typically, the better-looking person of two people equally qualified that are up for the same job will result in the more attractive person getting the job. Suffering a loss such as layoffs, promotions denied due to age, or death often sends people looking for youthful appearances to help deal with the issue (18). Many of the aging baby boomers are beginning to search for the fountain of youth. They look in the mirror and realize that they do not look as good as they feel (Sevinor). “In the 1990’s, one American turned fifty every seven seconds [which has played a part in the increase of cosmetic surgery]” (Gaynor 1). “The top five most frequently done procedures [on people sixty-five and over] were face-lifts, eyelid surgery, chemical peels , collagen injections , and forehead lifts” (Nash, 80). As the generation of the baby boomers increases in years, the number of beauty surgeries are expected to rise.
Good looks have a positive impact on social life. Reported by Gaynor “cosmetic surgery can often help children and teens develop more self-confidence and avoid rejection by peers, but should not be undertaken lightly” (91). Women and