Let me make a confession right up front. I believe in taking pride in appearance. I never leave the house without makeup; I color my hair and take pains to style it every day. I file my nails and moisturize my skin. I shave and tweeze and primp. I like to look my best.
For many women, though, this little ritual has spiraled completely out of control in a foolish attempt to live up the standards of beauty set by... uh... set by who?
And that 'who' – that unknown, all-powerful 'who' -- summarizes my problem with the whole thing.
From the fairly innocuous tanning booths and teeth whiteners, to Botox® injections, nose jobs, facelifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, and breast augmentation, perfect features and corrected, if imagined, imperfections are yours for the asking. After all, why let a little pain and a few thousand dollars stand behind you being all you can be?
Do you ever get the feeling that, somewhere, there is a giant cookie-cutter version of what woman should look like? That you better fit the mold, or else?
The enormous sum of money collectively spent by women on plastic surgery is mind-boggling. The risks of general anesthesia and surgery are well documented. Yet the drive to achieving physical perfection is strong as ever.
Thanks to... “who?”
What do women hope to achieve by kneeling before this alter of self-actualization? Perhaps self-esteem... attention... happiness... success? Dream away, gals, because the facts are that it's not going to happen. Time and gravity serve no master. They do what they do regardless of how much you're willing to pay to slow them down. In the end, it's all about you. YOU -- the human being who resides within that slightly-less-than-perfect body.
Surgery is a drastic measure. Absent a deformity, why would anyone risk permanent disfigurement for the sake of fitting some standard set by someone that we still can't name? Tales of surgery gone wrong abound, ranging from the ludicrous to the tragic.
Young and old alike shoulder each other for a place in line, credit cards in hand... the lure of the cookie-cutter machine and the doctors who promise miraculous results just too strong to resist.
Every morning I spend a few minutes looking at my reflection in the mirror. Sometimes I like what I see, other times perhaps not so much. At 48 years old, I think I am a rather attractive woman. In the same way one views a piece of art, I view myself from a distance, taking in the whole reflection. If I were to concentrate on nothing but the individual parts that make up the whole, I could make quite a list of the flaws. I don't have the right nose, my breasts are not big and my thighs just aren't what they used to be. Hollywood standards aside, I think I look pretty darned good... and, happily, my husband seems to share that opinion.
I do not believe that I am alone in my resistance of the cookie cutter machine. There are others – many others – who believe as I do. We ask ourselves why other women continue to subject themselves to this torture. Is it perhaps simply peer pressure? Or do the insecurities of adolescence remain with us forever? If you recognize some of yourself in these words, perhaps you simply need to come to terms with your inner beauty.
Do our sisters do this because they feel society dictates that they should? I can’t think of a worse reason.
Do they do it for men? If so, then they only need to talk to a few men and ask what they think of this trend. Many will tell you that they are a bit baffled by it all.
One 40-something man had this to say: “I’m here to tell you that “older” women don’t need cosmetic surgery, tummy tucks, or for that matter, even Botox®. In fact, even younger women should resist such things as breast augmentation. After all, we’re talking about fake stuff, right? As a guy, if I liked fake stuff, why not go the whole route and get an entirely fake woman, ads for which can be found in Hustler Magazine. The ad’s directions say, “simply inflate.”
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