Cosmetic surgery, freedom and women

This week a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about an 18-year old girl that has become completely handicapped after an incident during cosmetic surgery. A young, beautiful woman, who wanted to be even more beautiful, is now brain damaged.

On Facebook, the discussion went in many directions. Who is to blame? Parents, the girl herself, doctors with no ethics? I would like to ask the question; why has cosmetic surgery become such a huge industry in the first place?  I will focus on women, as the majority of people having cosmetic surgery are women. And I will zoom in on those who don’t really need it – they have had no accidents or born with extreme looks.

Historically, women were dependent on “marrying well”, since they had less opportunities to get a job and provide for their own lives. It is still the case in several parts of the world. To find a future (wealthy) husband, your chances were, and are, better if you are very beautiful. As cosmetic surgery has become more affordable, those who want/need to “marry well” have more access to becoming even more attractive. It is relatively understandable to be drawn towards cosmetic surgery if you see marriage as the only way to live or get wealthy. However, in many parts of the world, women can now provide for themselves, and also become rich and successful, so there is no real practical need, we have freedom to live our lives as we wish to.

Then the question is; why take such a risk, just to be slightly more beautiful  – when you don’t have to? The answer could be “pressure from society”, or “role models from movies, music videos and magazines” or “convinced she will be more happy with an “improved exterior””. OK, but why listen? Why do some listen and other’s not? I know of several parents that pay for the cosmetic surgery of their children, because they think they “help them” feeling better. The examples I have in mind are beautiful girls that need no “help”…  What are these parents teaching their children about values?  That we don’t care about the person itself, just the frame of that person?

Clearly, there is big money to be earned as a cosmetic surgeon and there are also many insecure women out there (I will hint to how we are raised here). Some clinics use this in an ice-cold way and create a need where there isn’t one.

I recently read an article where the author claimed; “body focus is the new religion”. He meant that we have lost our interest for spirituality and interior growth; instead we spend our time building up perfect exteriors. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that there are more suicides among women who have done breast surgery.  Life doesn’t miraculously change after acquiring new and “better” breasts.

In my part of the world, women wearing hijab, niqab and burka are looked suspiciously upon. I am personally not in favour of covering up women’s faces, but what “freedom” are we talking about when women think they have to look like models (and show as much skin as possible) – a perfect image that doesn’t even exist?

I have more questions than answers, but I find it sad that cosmetic surgery is becoming so “normal”.  Unfortunately, reality is that even in the business world, more attractive people get better paid and more promotions… I wish for a world where parents role model that inner qualities are valued, that we are judged on who we are and what we contribute with – not what we look like, and that society embrace diversity rather than clones.


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