Women want to look and feel beautiful and many are taking extreme measures to change the way they look. Before you get that nip, tuck or lift, ask yourself why. The answers could reveal deeper makeover motives.
80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (NEDA, and Council for Body Image and Size Discrimination) and many women will go from simple to extreme measures to change how they look. When and why is it good to get a makeover? Before you alter your appearance get a check of your own motives, and ask yourself why. Think it over before you get a makeover.
1. Fashion Makeover: This includes buying new clothing, getting a new hairstyle, or trying new makeup techniques.
Positive Motive: Fashion can be fun. There are also times that change, or trying something new can help motivate us. Just as re-arranging furniture, trying a new hobby, or exploring a new destination can give you a fresh motivating perspective, there will be times we can find energy by changing how we look.
Negative Motive: To fit in or in an attempt to be more likable.
Perspective to consider: Fashion is always changing. Sometimes with fashion trends no matter how hard we try, our efforts will never feel good enough because trends are always changing. If we base our worth on our appearance, or shop to fill a void we may feel a lot of extreme highs and lows. If you are basing your worth as a person on how you look, you will be limited to how you look.
2. Dieting: This includes controlling or monitoring the food and drink we consume which is intended for weight loss.
Positive Motive: If we are dieting to be healthy and take care of our body, it can result in powerful positive consequences such as renewed energy, joy of accomplishing a goal, and better health with a more abundant life.
Negative Motive: If we are dieting to be skinny it can result in some heavy negative emotions because not every body type is meant to be the slender ideal.
Perspective to consider: Every body shape has been idealized in every era of time. In the 1800’s women often wanted pale skin and round figures because it meant you could afford to be indoors and eat. From the curves inspired by Marilyn Monroe to the flat boy shapes inspired by the flappers, ideal sizes vary based on how society is placing status. There is a hierarchy associated with our body types and we always seem to want what is the most difficult to obtain.
3. Minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures: As listed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox ® had well over 5 million procedures done in 2010, which is a 584% increase over the past ten years.
Positive Motive: Some procedures are designed to help us live more fully. Each individual must decide if their circumstances are disrupting or preventing them from living a full life. Just because we are aging doesn’t mean we have to look old, to a certain degree.
Negative Motive: To stay young. It is inevitable that we are going to age. We are going to miss out on life if we are trying to stay forever in our 20’s. There are new great experiences in store at every age.
Perspective to consider: Women often say their hero is a mother or a grandmother. Yet, the women featured as role models are often airbrushed and altered in order to look young. One woman in her 80’s was quoted to say, “I want to die knowing I lived to the fullest, to me that means having wrinkles.”
4. Liposuction: As listed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction is one of the top five requested surgical cosmetic procedures. More recently it is trending for women who already have a size 2 figure to want to fix their “problems areas.”
Positive Motive: If you have developed self-acceptance and do not feel pressure to stay young or keep-up, liposuction may be an option for you. Some procedures are designed to help us live more fully. Each individual must decide if their circumstances are disrupting or preventing them from living a full life.
Negative Motive: We should not engage in cosmetic surgery if we are emotionally unfulfilled, or trying to compete because the surgery will not fix the problem.
Perspective to consider: Women are often in competition to establish that they are a person of worth and have used phrases like I want to: “get noticed,” “be at the top of the game,” “keep-up,” “stay fabulous.” When a woman gets pregnant and experiences changes to her body, she often does through a variety of emotions about her sense of worth. This is happening more and more because of competition and the value we are putting on looks. If you are basing your worth on your appearance, you are limited to your appearance.
5. Breast augmentation: As listed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the top surgical cosmetic procedure last year was breast augmentation with 296,203 procedures being performed, which is a 39% increase over the past 10 years.
Positive Motive: To help women live a normal productive life. There are times a breast augmentation or breast reduction can be a good thing because there is a distraction from living a normal, daily life.
Negative Motive: To get attention, or to keep/find a relationship.
Perspective to consider: My grandma had a mastectomy after her battle with breast cancer. I will never forget the way my grandfather showed her love and how he looked into her eyes, even with a missing breast. It is not about having a perfect youthful body that can compete and get attention, it is about a woman who has learned to love herself and in doing so allows another person to love her more fully.
Each individual should consult with their physicians about the risks involved with any medical procedure.
Karen Eddington is a Self-Worth Analyst and has spent over ten years doing research and outreach work targeting women and teens. She is the author of Today, I Live…a gift of peace for girls at any age. For more information go to www.selfworthretreat.com