I'm not a vain person but I do start to wonder how much one's looks are tied up with both one's self-confidence and happiness. There's no question that when you're at your best (i.e. good hair day, feeling less bloated than usual, brighter eyes from a full night sleep, hot outfit, etc.) you feel better and your whole mood changes. So as things start to droop and sag, I wonder if I will be able to maintain my sense of self-confidence despite the aging process.
I've always said that there was no way I'd go under the knife. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with it if you do, but it's just not for me. I might, however, be in the minority. With the ever growing popularity of cosmetic procedures, it has not only become widely acceptable, but also widely accessible. In addition, there are also many less invasive and less expensive options to choose from... which may be the reason so many more women are turning to these types of procedures.
Here were the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for 2010*:
2010 Top Five Cosmetic Surgical Procedures
Breast Augmentation 296,000 (2% increase from 2009)
Nose Reshaping 252,000 (1% decrease from 2009)
Eyelid Surgery 209,000 (3% increase from 2009)
Liposuction 203,000 (2% increase from 2009)
Tummy Tuck 116,000 (1% increase from 2009)
2010 Top Five Cosmetic Minimally-Invasive Procedures
Botulinum Toxin Type A 5.4 million (12% increase from 2009)
Soft Tissue Fillers 1.8 million (3% increase from 2009)
Chemical Peel 1.1 million (no change)
Laser Hair Removal 938,000 (5% increase from 2009)
Microdermabrasion 825,000 (9% decrease from 2009)
*Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons
I get it... if there was no pain, no risk and it cost nothing, I'd be the first in line for the tummy tuck! Birthing two kids in my late thirties... well, need I say more? In the meantime, I just work the abs as best I can and suck it up that I now have a permanent muffin top.
When I look at the stats, my concern turns to what this means if we choose NOT to pursue any kind of procedure, invasive or not. Is it possible to age gracefully while we socialize with friends and family who look "better" or "younger" because they chose cosmetic surgery? Do we develop a stronger sense of self-esteem as we get older (in addition to the lines and wrinkles) to deal with this? I'm not so sure. Of course, there are many examples of cosmetic surgery gone bad and in that case, those of us who choose to stay "au naturale" will feel much better. With this ever-growing popularity, I think that many women are going to feel like this is one instance they may have to "keep up with the Joneses". For me, unless they develop some very cool laser that is painless and risk free and makes us look 25 again, I'm out of this rat race.
My bigger concern, however, is what this means for our daughters. They're growing up knowing that if you don't like something about yourself, you just go have it fixed. What happened to self-acceptance and appreciating our uniqueness? Will they want to achieve the media's version of beautiful and end up all looking the same? And then when they have daughters who look nothing like them, then what?
And how sick is this - a plastic surgeon wrote a book called "My Beautiful Mommy" for mother's with young children contemplating plastic surgery. So we're supposed to explain to our young daughters that mommy is just not beautiful the way she is and that she has to go through painful procedures in order to be so... while at the same time telling them they are beautiful just they way they are? Talk about being a hypocrite.
I'm all for making ourselves look and feel our best. I also completely understand fixing a feature that has caused abject embarrassment and teasing, especially when it gets to the point of damaging our self-esteem. But where do we draw the line? When is enough enough? Let me know what you think... would you consider plastic surgery (or have you)? If so, why?