As a society are we becoming so self-obsessed with beauty and physical perfection that all concerns for mental and physical health are going out in bags of liposuctioned fat? Or is this just another trendy fad that will phase-out over time as the boredom over the plastic looking visages gained through massive amounts of costly—and often dangerous—surgeries which remove all the unique characteristics from the human face?
Plastic surgery has been on the rise with older generations for years. But now there has been a large increase in the surgeries with younger generations, where self-acceptance, self-esteem and self-worth are on the decline.
The process of “gilding the Lily” as early as 12 years old, with make-up and hair products, for young girls has largely been guided by the pretty pictures we have seen in magazines, movies, and television. Now it appears that internet sharing in social networking largely has an influence.
With the prevalence of the “selfie,” or quick images for social networking posts that are taken with cell phones and other hand-held devices, the influence of such seemingly innocent aspects of technological communication are prompting surgeries to improve on what is already a good thing, because the images are now “forever.”
The fact is that young, healthy skin needs no assistance from the pulling, tugging, plumping, and filling that is typically synonymous with getting older and wishing to look younger.
However, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that over 76,000 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13 to 19 in 2012 in order to “gain self-esteem and confidence” where “physical problems are corrected.”
In a recent Metro UK article, Marc Pacifico, from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said that younger people are feeling under “incessant pressure” to be perfect, comparing themselves to digitally enhanced photos of others “to conform to some sort of ideal image.”
Another factor is likely growing up with other cultural examples that might make looking in the mirror a reason to be critical.
In a American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) press release, the association’s President, Edward Farrior said, “Social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and the iPhone app Selfie.im, which are solely image based, force patients to hold a microscope up to their own image and often look at it with a more self-critical eye than ever before.”
The same press release credits bullying as largely a cause for self-esteem issues that prompt the self-hatred that fuels such surgeries.
“Bullying is also a factor,” according to the press release. And “most surgeons surveyed [reported that] children and teens are undergoing plastic surgery as a result of being bullied (69 percent) rather than to prevent being bullied (31 percent).”
Dr. Leah Totton, former winner of The Apprentice who opened a skin clinic earlier this year, has said in the Metro UK article that “due to increased social networking we now have unlimited access to the appearance of others, including celebrities. Patients will often present their selfie and compare it with celebs’ selfies, requesting a feature such as lips or cheeks like a particular celebrity.”
Aside from the influence of the physical perfections sought by television and movie celebrities, there is that from online celebrities who are simply “famous for being famous.”
YouTube celebrity Valeria Lukyanova, “the human “Barbie doll,” whose own surgeries—and she won’t say how many—have altered her face and body to literally look like a fake plastic doll, clearly hasn’t fixed the ugliness inside. Lukyanova recently told GQ that she credits the surge of surgeries recently as a result of “ethnicities…mixing now, so there’s degeneration.”
“Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this,” Lukyanova told the magazine.
And it is not just women and girls who are affected by this trend. Justin Jedlica, “the human “Ken doll,” has had 140 surgeries in order to achieve the facial and physical properties of said plastic toy.
And neither of these individuals have really acknowledged the physical issues that are likely plaguing them, with the exception that Lukyanova acknowledges that is it difficult now when “hugging or jogging.”
And neither appears to have ever heard of Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is often dubbed the “Cat Woman,” because her excessive facial surgeries were allegedly intended make her look like a cat in order to gain back the favor of her ex-husband.
Nor has either of them ever acknowledged Pete Burns, lead singer of the band Dead or Alive, whose numerous surgeries have caused a plethora of health issues stemming from the excessive use of Botox injections and undergoing the knife over many years.
So is there a chance that society may never learn from these surgery debacles and recognize the emotional and physical risks that such surgeries pose? Will we ever achieve the unified and individual strengths to reject the ugly words of others who seek to mar our self-esteem, prompting us to mar our own faces? Or is that pulled, plastic look going to win out over the normal, unique and individual beauty that we were each born with, as the twisted future ideal of “real” beauty?