We Are Using Cosmetic Surgery To Solve Our Problems, and Here’s Why It Never Works…
Has the thought of getting cosmetic surgery ever crossed your mind?
Have you ever wanted to go up a few cup sizes, shrink your nose, or make your lips a little fuller?
If you’re nodding your head as you read this, don’t worry — you are most certainly not alone. Like most girls and women, I’ve had those thoughts plague me too.
Did you know that Americans spent more than $16 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery in 2016? Breast augmentation surgeries continue to be the most popular, and have increased by a staggering 41% between 2000 and 2017, with over 300,000 procedures across the U.S. last year.
As a world, we are evolving and advancing at such a fast rate, so why does our relationship with our appearance and our bodies seem to be deteriorating so rapidly in contrast?
Last year I was watching a bit of harmless, trashy daytime TV back home in the UK, and this advert appeared, which the naive part of me initially thought was for a girls summer vacation. It didn’t take me long to realize that I was sadly mistaken, and it was in fact an advert for breast implants, being shown at 1.30pm in the day on a mainstream broadcasting channel.
The ad shows a very non-diverse selection of typically attractive models, all with breast implants, in bikinis and bathing suits lounging around by the pool in a luxury villa, dancing, laughing, and seemingly having a fabulous time. It essentially implies that you too can live a beautiful life like these women — if your cup size measures up.
To say my blood was boiling after witnessing this is an understatement. Any number of young girls could have been confronted, persuaded, and brainwashed by that 60 second commercial.
Are we genuinely claiming to be surprised when we hear that two-thirds of girls aged 12 and 14 surveyed in Britain want cosmetic surgery, most wanting fat removed from their stomach and hips, or breast implants?
The cosmetic surgery industry is a raging money making machine, and is preying on young women’s insecurities to consistently boost their top line, year after year. And no one seems to be batting an eyelid.
There are even makeover apps and online plastic surgery games aimed at children as young as nine, like Plastic Surgery Princess, Little Skin Doctor and Pimp My Face. These apps encourage young children to play around at altering their face or body, mimicking a cosmetic surgery procedure, preparing them for when they reach puberty and are flooded with even more messages telling them the way they look simply isn’t good enough.
The act of mutilating our body has become normalized. The more people do it, the more other girls and women think it’s normal and see it as an easy fix to all of their insecurities and unhappiness.
People openly talk about the work they’ve had done, particularly celebrities in the public eye, and reality TV show stars. Getting a boob job has become the equivalent to popping to the shops and buying a push up bra, though it’s far from that in reality.
The truth is, any kind of surgery is extreme, and only ever used to be carried out as a last resort — until a bunch of people lacking any kind of moral conscience decided to cash in on it. Regardless of how safe and easy these businesses paint it to be, surgery imposes serious risks and health implications.
So why are millions of us worldwide, willingly going under the knife each year?
Celebrity figures like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are having a staggering impact on teenage girls and young women growing up today. They are constantly plastered on the internet, on TV, and on our social media channels — it’s almost impossible to escape with a morsel of our self-esteem intact.
These women are worshipped, they have accumulated a fortune, and they seem to be living a dream life. This signals to impressionable girls looking up to them, that the only way to be attractive, worthy, and confident is if they too look like human barbie dolls, with watermelon sized breasts, plumped lips, and a fake ass.
Kim K recently posted an ad on her Instagram account, promoting lollipops from the Flat Tummy Co, which act as appetite suppressants. She has since taken it down, largely thanks to tweets like this one from incredible women like Jameela Jamil who are using their platform to help empower women and make them feel confident and comfortable in their bodies, regardless of the number in the back of their jeans.
Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that millions of women would have seen that post. I wonder how many of them would’ve glanced down at their stomachs and thought, “I’ll never be beautiful unless I can get a flat tummy.”
It breaks my heart seeing girls as young as 12 thinking they need to fix their bodies, so they can emulate the women they look up to, and be deemed more attractive by their peers and society.
When did we start believing that being 90% plastic is desirable? More desirable than the natural features and curves we were blessed with, which make us utterly unique in this world?
There is now an epidemic of low self-esteem among young girls and women, and we have been convinced that going under the knife is the answer to all of our problems. These unattainable images that are constantly thrust in our faces are riddling us with self-doubt and not-good-enough feelings.
The truth is, we are not addressing the real reasons why we’re unhappy with the way we look.
Aside from the toxic images and messages we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, most of our deep-rooted insecurities stem from something that happened in our past, that we still haven’t dealt with.
Maybe all the kids in school told you your nose was really big, maybe some guy called you flat chested, or maybe someone fat shamed you. If you find yourself feeling like your body doesn’t measure up and you want to “fix” it through surgery, chances are you’re still carrying around those past traumas with you, and they are the real cause of your unhappiness.
Ask yourself, why do you really want surgery?
Do you want to feel more attractive, or more confident? If the answer is yes, you need to take the time to do the inner work on yourself that’s ultimately going to help you master those qualities in the long run.
Surgery is NEVER going to make you happy.
You think it will, but then you get those new breasts, and temporarily you feel amazing — until you realize that all of your problems are still there. Every last one of them. Nothing you can buy is ever going to bring you true happiness.
There was a time when I wanted cosmetic surgery too — I thought my A-cup breasts were too small, I thought my Indian arched nose was too big and wonky, and I thought the bags under my eyes were ageing me before my time and stopping me from getting a boyfriend, and that no one would ever love me and I’d end up alone with 10 cats. Looking back now, I realize much of these feelings of worthlessness stemmed from being bullied as a teenager, the scars of which stayed with me for over a decade.
Eventually it dawned on me that the real reason I wanted cosmetic surgery was because I had zero self-confidence, I didn’t love myself, and I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. So, instead of opting for a quick fix, and throwing money at my problems, I took the time to do the hard work on myself, and rebuild my confidence and self-love.
It was a painful process, yes, but all the pain and struggle was worth it. Because my body is my own. It’s the one that I was gifted. And I didn’t allow myself to be manipulated into thinking I need a different one, a better one, or a more “beautiful” one. I realized I am good enough, and I will carry that with me forever.
Who told you you’re not good enough?
Who told you your body needed fixing? And why did you decide to believe them?
Hear me when I say this: you ARE so much more than good enough. You don’t need to bend, mold, or shape-shift yourself into someone or something else. You don’t need the approval or validation of others. Who you are is beautiful, and as long as you believe that, nothing else matters.
I want you to know it’s possible to get to the point where you love your body, and you look in the mirror and you adore the reflection staring back at you.
Wherever you are on your self-love journey right now, please remember this.
Carry it with you, and allow it to be a reminder for you anytime those insecurities or doubts flare up.
Take back control of your body today.