Plastic does not always make perfect

It is no secret that the youth is becoming more and more obsessed with self-image.

With an increase in reality television shows, like the new series Bridalplasty (where a soon-to-be bride endures countless surgeries in order to perfect herself for the walk down the aisle towards a fiancé who may or may not recognize her) or Extreme Makeover (where the contestant is put through hell, and a complete head-to-toe make over) it is hard not to consider the possibility of going under the knife to straighten out that crooked nose or inject a little Botox.

I mean it is pretty simple right? All the celebrity “role models” do it. The shows make it seem so easy and the people always appear to be elated by the results.

This is exactly where the problem originates.

Numerous young adults, both male and female, see the way that these flawlessly constructed people appear, and become uncomfortable with their own appearances and begin to pick out their individual imperfections. Many have watched TV glorify how plastic surgery can make anyone look the way that they have always wanted to. So, instead of accepting and embracing who they are, just the way they are, or realizing that they are going to look a whole lot different once they are done growing, they are beginning to take matters into their own hands, or more like into the hands of a plastic surgeon.

It is unsettling that these teenagers believe that in order to acquire the confidence and self acceptance that that they so desperately desire, they must be ‘fixed’ and ‘perfected’ by a procedure.

In high school I personally knew of only a couple girls who planned on getting some sort of plastic surgery done (some parents were all for giving their daughters breast implants as graduation gifts). But in places other than Mesa, Ariz., where people are not quite as conservative, plastic surgery has become very common among young adults. According to the website, www.surgery.org, there were 125,397 cosmetic, 1,798 Lipoplasty, and 4,153 breast augmentation procedures completed on teens eighteen and younger in 2010. While some of these statistics include reconstructive surgeries, or operations implicated for health reasons, most of them were carried out simply because someone was not happy with their reflection in the mirror.

Many participants underestimate how serious undergoing plastic surgery can be at a young age.

There have been countless incidents were girls have had breast implants before they were done growing, then suffered from extreme pain and complications resulting in yet another surgical treatment to remove them. Others who had nose jobs before growth was over ended up with a product that was worse than what they started with. Teens do not consider the possibility that the aftermath of surgeries may not be exactly what they had in mind. Or realize just how excruciating the healing process and can be.

Also, cosmetic operations can be highly addictive, especially to someone who has a history of low self esteem. Once one successful procedure is finished, it is not uncommon for someone to pick out other physical faults that they want corrected. For example, Cindy Jackson, the women who currently holds the record for the most plastic surgery treatments, has had a total of fifty-two procedures done. Her surgery spiral started when she was a preteen after being bullied in school.

Jackson gave this message to the world after she was confronted about her obsession with plastic surgery, “Nature messed with me, so I don’t have any problem messing with nature.”

Unfortunately, that mindset and compulsive approach on gaining visual perfection is the same that many teenagers now posses and are acting upon.

Teens and young adults need to explore all of their options before they decide on surgery. Instead trying to fix themselves they need to figure out how to work and rock what they already have.

Instead of liposuction or a tummy tuck, exercise.

Last time I checked that doesn’t leave a scar, and who said having laugh lines is such a bad thing? In most cases, if just given time, the conclusion of high school and of the need to fit in, people are able to look past their unflattering traits and accept their superior and quirkily unique ones.

There is no need to mess with nature, embrace it.

Reach the columnist at Cwbrown1@asu.edu


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