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Surgery: The Compulsion to Look Perfect
By Lara Stoll
Daddy, do I look ok? Mom, do these pants make me look fat?
The words resound from a ten-year-old’s mouth and are even more powerful
in her mind. Where is she getting this message? Why aren’t young girls
(who later become women) happy when they look in the mirror? More than that,
why do they begin to despise their bodies?
The drive to look a certain way abounds from our media and what the world communicates
is “pretty”. But instead of showing women how to look prettier, shouldn’t
the world be increasing the message that, “You’re beautiful just
the way you are?”
I met a woman who told me about when she was sixteen and her mother showed her
a brochure for liposuction. Let me repeat that…at the age of sixteen.
So during Christmas school break, her mom used her daughter’s inheritance
intended for college to purchase ten thousand dollars worth of plastic surgery
for seven regions of her body ranging from below her breasts to above her knees.
Did the girl need it? Absolutely not.
Of course, the mother was just thinking it would improve her daughter’s
self image. But where did she learn this behavior of critiquing her own body?
You guessed it. From her own mother!
Statistics show that nearly 11.5 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures
were performed in the United States in 2005.* And apparently that isn’t
enough because over half (51%) of patients will have multiple procedures performed
by the same doctor in the same year.**
What is this craze all about? What fuels a woman’s drive for physical perfection?
When someone says to me, “I want to get a boob job; I want my nose to look
like Ashlee Simpson’s,” I ask them,
“What else besides your nose don’t you like?”
There’s always more.
I believe that as women, we have the responsibility to tell other women that
they don’t need to change a physical characteristic to compensate for the
way they feel about themselves on the inside.
Have you ever noticed a woman who isn’t exactly a cover model with an A
cup bra size walk up to you and say, “I feel great!” She beams with
inner beauty and confidence which radiates on the outside.
Maybe with every plastic surgery consultation, there should be a wellness coach
saying, “Hey, what are you really trying to satisfy? What are you truly
seeking?” And most likely, it can’t be fixed with anesthesia and
a knife. Plastic surgery fulfills only a fraction of what women are looking for;
the need to feel beautiful, the need to feel adequate, the need to count.
Feeling better about yourself starts from within. It’s what’s on
the inside that counts. You were uniquely designed to look a certain way, just
as you are. Don’t mess with a good thing.
You are beautiful, inside and out.
*AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR AESTHETIC PLASTIC
**AAFPRS 2005 Statistics on Trends in Facial Plastic Surgery.