Do you judge other people when you discover that they have had plastic surgery? Do you judge them negatively? Does that mean that you think they are shallow?
Studio 5 Family and Relationship Contributor, Dr. Liz Hale and Holly Willard LCSW is a psychotherapist at Wasatch Family Therapy have differing views on plastic surgery.
DR. LIZ: ADVOCATE FOR AGENCY
Cosmetic Surgery Lifts Sagging Skin AND Self-Confidence
Plastic surgery is currently experiencing unprecedented popularity in a diverse array of procedures with continuing advancements in technology. Last year, 13.5 million plastic surgeries were performed; economic downturns don’t seem to affect this popular industry! The top five procedures are breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, eyelid lift, liposuction and tummy tucks.
For many, successful plastic surgery can lead to increased self-esteem and confidence, which can a have a positive snowball effect on many areas of one’s life. The correction of the “problem” perceived by a patient can mean a reduction in self-consciousness and social anxiety.
Social and Professional
Countless studies have shown that attractive people are generally perceived as more intelligent, honest, successful and capable. Those same studies show correlations between attractiveness and professional recognition, hiring decisions, promotions, and salary levels. Some research even determined that attractive people receive better, more efficient service in restaurants and retail establishments.
Attractive people also have increased romantic opportunities and a larger pool of potential mates from which to choose.
Much attention is directed towards men’s sexuality issues. We have seen countless television commercials and ads on drugs and therapy devoted to improving men’s sexuality. Cosmetic surgery addresses these similar issues for women.
Women who have breast changes due to nursing or the natural aging process may not feel as attractive. This is why over 2 million women in the United States have breast implants! Improvements in women’s self-esteem and sexual satisfaction are directly correlated to having undergone breast augmentation.
It’s important to understand, however, that while plastic surgery can bring positive rewards, it will not change your life, your problems or your relationships. The same person who goes into surgery, comes out of surgery. Plastic surgery is for physical improvement, not perfection! Cosmetic surgery won’t change your life. It won’t solve personal problems or make you look like someone else. But it may give you greater self-confidence and add to your sense of well-being.
HOLLY WILLARD: ADVOCATE FOR ACCEPTANCE
Plastic Surgery is Not Always the Answer
It’s not always as easy as just visiting a plastic surgeon to take care of getting a new look. There are some drawbacks to relying on plastic surgery for a new look or outlook.
1. Medical concerns- There are serious potential medical risks to cosmetic procedures/surgery from disfiguration to death. Since procedures have gained popularity, people may underestimate side effects. It’s extremely important to research medical risks and the clinic they choose.
2. Explore Underlying issues for cosmetic surgery- As with any major life altering decision, people need to be aware of why they are making this choice. Patients should process motivation and probe underlying reasons. If there are unresolved issues, I recommend attending therapy to work through those issues first. Some procedures like gastric bypass actually require a mental health assessment first.
3. Not a quick fix to self-esteem or relationships issues- Cosmetic procedures do not change a negative self-esteem. They may build confidence or change feelings about the targeted area of their body, but they don’t improve someone’s overall sense of worth. Couples should invest in therapy to improve the relationship instead of the cosmetic procedure.
4. Some cosmetic procedures reinforce the media’s unrealistic portrayal of “ideal woman.” These female images contribute to body issues, eating disorders, and objectification of women. These ideals are especially damaging to children and teens. We need be focusing on health and nutrition vs. size and weight.
5. Many procedures require a lifestyle change (i.e. nutrition and exercise). If people are not willing to maintain these changes the weight returns and the depending on the procedure the distribution of the weight can be unnatural.
6. Prioritize and balance- It’s important to make sure that cosmetic procedures do not come before more essential needs. Procedures can be expensive. Cosmetic procedures can become addictive as a drug addiction. When is enough good enough.
7. The emergence of cosmetic procedures devalues the worth of growing older in our society. With experience comes wisdom, which should be revered instead of feared. Many other cultures mock America’s obsession with youth and vanity.
8. Some cosmetic surgeries takes away our humaness and basic body functioning. The ability to express facial expressions and show emotions can be limited. It also decreases our individuality and beauty if everyone looks the same.