COLUMN: In defense of plastic surgery — in moderation, of course
Melodie Lettkeman, The Oklahoma Daily
Summer months seem to be more high maintenance than others — spray tans and sculpted beach bodies are a prerequisite for June, or so society tell us.
For some, literally months of a person's total life add up to maintaining his or her appearance. Although cosmetic surgery continues to be a controversial issue as to whether people should alter their appearance for personal gain, I believe partaking in cosmetic surgery should be a personal choice uninfluenced by society's pressures and standards.
The American attitude particularly values physical perfection, as evident in our movies, television, music and advertising industries. A slim percentage of Americans are held to be “perfect” and therefore desirable, while the rest of us have some serious work to do, according to the industry.
Even though I know the chances of me ever resembling Carrie Underwood (and her abs) are slim to none, I still take the time each day to do 400 crunches and an hourlong run each day, for me. Ideally, I wouldn’t mind going under the knife for a nose-job — knowing that my nose is one of the things I am most self-conscious about. If done correctly, plastic surgery could be my key to being less self-conscious.
I don’t particularly understand why plastic surgery is such a controversial topic. I can understand why too much plastic surgery could be a bad thing, but when you’ve spent years developing a physical representation of your inner self, why not do a little housekeeping from time to time?
There were more than 9 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2011, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Surgical procedures accounted for 18 percent of the total number of procedures, with nonsurgical procedures making up 82 percent of the total number of procedures.
The top five cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed for 2011 were liposuction (325,332 procedures), breast augmentation (316,848 procedures), abdominoplasty (149,410 procedures), blepharoplasty (147,540 procedures) and breast lifts (127,054 procedures), according to the society. The top five cosmetic plastic surgery procedures for men in 2011 were liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction to treat enlarged male breast, and facelifts, according to the society.
Of these total procedures, women had almost 8.4 million cosmetic procedures, 91 percent of the total, and men had almost 800,000 cosmetic procedures, 9 percent of the total.
No, I am not implying you should completely reform your entire exterior (or posterior, for that matter) just because seemingly everyone is doing it, but if a bump in your nose is the difference between being self-confident all day, every day or eternal temporary happiness, by all means, see your local surgeon.
However, if you feel the need to surgically recreate everything from your forehead to your butt implants, I firmly encourage you to see a psychiatrist for your self-esteem issues rather than a surgeon. These procedures wouldn't truly be for you. I could name 100 things I find wrong with myself, but I wouldn’t be willing to actually surgically address many of those things.
I have a lot of respect for older women who are willing to take their physical future into their own hands. People ages 35 to 50 had the most procedures (about 43 percent of the total), according to the society.
Joan Rivers may have gone a little over board with her facial reconstruction, but where’s the harm? If you have the money, free time and a strong enough back bone to withstand the ridicule of your friends and coworkers who think you’re merely undergoing plastic surgery as a form of denial, go for it.
For many older women, especially those who are trying to “get back into the dating game” or who are merely searching for a reminder of their past lives, plastic surgery is often the perfect solution to feel beautiful and attractive well past their heydays.
On an even more controversial note, plastic surgery is becoming a foremost option for the transgender population. Reconstructive surgery can aid GLBT members in adjusting to a more ideal living situation. What may seem unnecessary or abnormal to you or I could be the difference between confidence and acceptance for a GLBT individual.
A recent study concerning transgender reassignment surgeries showed 76 percent of transgender reassignment patients were happy with the cosmetic result of their surgery and 80 percent said the surgery had met their expectations, according to Live Science.
Plainly, seemingly every age group and population is tapping into plastic surgery. This is OK, as long as it is for healthy, personal reasons.
Personally, I still want to feel attractive by the time I’m 80. My limit will probably entail Botox and maybe a tummy-tuck after I have kids, but no facial reconstruction.
However, the day my chest area starts heading south of the border, believe you-me, I can and will visit my local surgeon.
Elyssa Szkirpan is a journalism sophomore.