Necessity, trend or peer pressure?
If a few years ago we only saw celebrities taking advantage of the medical advancements in this field, we are now surrounded by women and girls who choose to change their physical appearance with the help of plastic surgery. Which is not that bad, if you ask me, as long as we don’t go overboard. And I do not necessarily mean on a personal level, as we are all entitled to choose when and how we want to change our appearance. We’re talking at a societal level and how plastic surgery slowly, but steadily came to be a type of imposed necessity in order to be considered beautiful.
Perhaps the situation in Romania does not seem so serious, but in South Korea, for example, 60% of the 20-year-old girls have already had interventions, at least at a facial level. The way there’s our tradition of parents gifting their children cars when they turn 18 or graduate from high school, in Korea, it is a tradition for girls to receive rhinoplasty, liposuction, lip augmentation, botox etc. In an I-D mini-documentary on this subject, a 20-year-old girl was asked what she would do if she couldn’t use make up or have plastic surgery, and her answer was: “I would die.”
Romania is ranked 25th worldwide, when it comes to the frequency of interventions, which means that there are approximately 100,000 surgeries annually. I can’t say I wasn’t a bit surprised by this information. To put things in perspective, about 70% of Romanians can’t afford even one week of holiday per year (not even in Romania). This industry collects EUR 70,000,000 annually and the top three interventions based on frequency are breast augmentation, liposuction and rhinoplasty. The saddest part, on the other hand, is that two out of three women are not satisfied with the end result.
Given that plastic surgery is becoming more and more accessible to the general public, my greatest fear is that it will become a trend, or even worse, a sort of necessity in order to belong to a group or a social category for some women. It’s not as repercussion free as growing your hair or a beard in order to show you’re a rocker, or putting on a studded jacket when meeting your punk friends. Plastic surgery is something permanent.
To go through interventions on your nose, lips, breasts, just because X or Y would not find you attractive otherwise, it’s first and foremost, humiliating to you as a woman. The only one you owe something to is YOU. Beauty, especially the one based on standards considered en vogue at a certain time, is not a rent you have to pay to live on this planet. This year it’s desirable (or rather, men like) to see a big butt, and so, many women go through surgery in order to have one. But five years later, when the ‘super-model standard’ is the norm again, what are we going to do? Having plastic surgery is an important decision, a decision that is often irreversible. And we should not be judged for choosing to not undergo any. Or, even worse, be compelled to go at it, unless it is something we really, truly want.
Someone told me once that they were certain that if I had a button or some type of surgery that would make me slim without any risk involved, I would most definitely push it. I spent a lot of time thinking about my answer, with my inner self, not thinking about my “image”. Of course it would be very hypocritical of me to promote self-love and jump instantly on the button, right? But I also took this ‘possibility’ into consideration and allowed myself to explore it, honestly. Yes, I would like to have a better physical condition, which is something I am working on now. Yeah, I think I’d like to be a bit more toned.
I gained some weight in the last month, considering that I’ve had a very stressful couple of weeks, and I think I’d like to turn my belly into a tummy. But I would not resort to any kind of surgery to get that. Instead, I came to realize that I wouldn’t want to be slim, super-thin, to fit into the “template”. Not necessarily because I want to be ~ special ~ and then, if I were skinny, I’d have nothing left to stand (and fight) for, but because I worked a great deal on myself until I got to this point. It has been very difficult for me to get over a mentality that has governed me and whispered every day in my ear that I’m not good enough, beautiful enough and that I’m a failure – just because I have a few extra pounds. And I worked on myself, I really did. I find it just as normal and healthy to work physically in order to get into the shape I want to have. After all, a victory without a fight is sadder than a defeat, in my opinion.
I made this personal bracket to get to the most important thing I want to point out: the fact that it’s much harder to accept and love yourself as you are than to spend a few thousands of euros and fix everything that does not fit within the default “beauty” stereotypes.
If all the procedures would guarantee happiness and satisfaction, especially on the long run, I would say, “Go get it, girls!”. But given the fact that two-thirds are not happy with the results from the start and probably in about 10 years, even the remaining ones will not be all satisfied, is it worth the risk?