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Drawing the Line on Plastic Surgery

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When it comes to people getting plastic surgery of all kinds, my views are pretty libertarian. If you’ve done your homework, you have reasons that make sense to you and you’ll take steps to ensure your safety — go for it. It’s your body, it’s your life, and you should decide what’s right.

But that doesn’t mean I personally believe all procedures are okay for everyone. There are plenty of times I’ve reacted to cosmetic surgery news with the ever articulate, “Huh?”

Knowing there definitely are times when I don’t think plastic surgery is a great idea, I’ve been searching for a logical place to draw the line; to come up with some sort of criteria for what’s reasonable. The old, “I’ll know it when I see it,” just doesn’t do it for me. As someone with a pretty decent understanding of the world of plastic surgery, at least for a layperson, I really want something more definitive than that.

“Huh?” was just the reaction I had when I read that a terminally ill woman planned to have surgery so she could look like Demi Moore. I thought about the tens of thousands of dollars this would cost and figured there might be a better use for the money — some kind of meaningful legacy, maybe?

I also wondered why this woman would subject herself to extra pain during this difficult time. But most of all, I marveled that someone living out her final days would choose to spend them looking like someone else. For goodness sake, why? Doesn’t it make more sense to live the last bit of time allotted to you on this earth, as, well, you?

That’s when it hit me. This is where I draw my own personal line between cosmetic surgery that makes sense to me and cosmetic surgery that doesn’t. If you want to change your physical self to attain some sort of ideal — a look you think embodies true beauty or epitomizes perfection — I wonder how happy you really are. And I probably won't applaud you for planning surgery. While I might agree that Angelina Jolie has great looking lips, I don't think that having someone else's lips will make you more content (even if I thought you could achieve them after seeing so many lip jobs gone oh so wrong).

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Thanks for the comment, Susan. I guess the bottom line for me is that I believe people should be fundamentally content with themselves and their lives before considering plastic surgery. Commit to a procedure as a kind of fine tuning, or icing on the cake, not as a way to get happy. I agree with you, those who take the Michael Jackson approach to plastic surgery have a huge self-satisfaction issue.

Have you read about the Korean singer who was so addicted to plastic surgery that she went even further than MJ and took the DIY route? I just saw before and after photos--yikes! Google it if you want a shock. Poor thing.

March 30, 2009 - 4:43pm
HERWriter Guide

Thanks for your insight - I agree with you!

I disagree with plastic surgery for children because they are unable to form these decisions by themselves(using critical thinking skills and real knowledge of consequences, and I also fear that "their" decision is actually their parents decision) but for adults who can afford it and are doing it for the right reasons - hey, go for it!

What are the "right" reasons? For some, it's important that they, like you said, have Angelina Jolie's lips. Personally, I don't like her mouth all that much but that's why I wouldn't do it and someone else would!

If someone wants bigger boobs or a smaller nose, then they have the right to go ahead and do it if it makes them happy, self-confident and so on. Certainly I know that a nose job really helps people with their self image. I can honestly say that if my nose was really huge or really crooked, I'd probably elect a rhinoplasty too, and it really would not be anyone's place to judge that.

My issue is more with people who want to transform themselves into a whole new person, changing their entire face, their bodies, their hair, their EVERYTHING. Their sense of dissatisfaction with themselves must be huge. And someone like that is in great danger of becoming addicted to plastic surgery and taking the Michael Jackson route.

I read an interview with Joan Rivers and was so disheartened to hear her say she helped to pick the parts of her daughters face that needed plastic surgery and her daughter, Melissa, went ahead with it and positively ruined her formerly very pretty face. She is so young and yet now has that plastic stretched out cat-face like her mom. Why ruin such a nice face? I think that's a real shame.

I agree that we're not all supposed to look like Demi Moore. In fact, Demi Moore is not supposed to look like Demi Moore! :)

March 30, 2009 - 11:18am
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