Laverne Cox is defending herself against vicious nose job rumors on Facebook, writing: “For everyone who thinks I had a nose job, the surgeon is snapchat.”
Cox posted two photos of herself, explaining how she used Snapchat’s beauty filter on the second photo, which caused fans to mistakenly believe she’d had a nose job. But here’s the thing: I don’t care whether or not she’s had a nose job, and neither should you.
More: OITNB‘s Laverne Cox reveals one major misconception about trans people
There are countless media reports shaming celebs for going under the knife. A quick Google search of the keywords “celebrities and plastic surgery” yields post after post about “shocking” celebrity plastic surgery transformations and others pointing fingers at celebs “you didn’t know had plastic surgery.” While Cox says she hasn’t had plastic surgery and I believe her, the fact that she had to defend herself against these procedures in the first place reveals a bigger issue. In an age when plastic surgery is increasingly common — there were nearly 16 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in 2015, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons — why are we still so hung up on shaming celebrities for having plastic surgery?
There are plenty of reasons it’s not OK to shame someone for having plastic surgery. For one, people have a right to create and alter their identities however they see fit, and if for some that includes plastic surgery, who are we to judge? The decision to have plastic surgery is incredibly personal; we can’t possibly know another person’s reasons for going under the knife. Maybe they don’t feel like themselves in their own skin. Or maybe celebrities are simply reacting to an entertainment culture that values and employs them based on the way they look, that bizarrely tries to shame them the second they try to take control of their own bodies and make a change. Whatever the reason, nobody should have to defend themselves for decisions they make involving their own bodies.
Cox, as a trans woman, has had to deal with more than her fair share of objectification from the media. Remember when she went on Katie Couric’s talk show and the TV host just wanted to talk to Cox about her vagina? Cox gracefully explains why she isn’t eager to discuss her genitalia on air: “The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people,” says Cox. “And then we don’t get to really deal with the real, lived experiences.” Cox points out that when people focus on her and trans people’s bodies, it detracts from bigger and more important conversations, like the fact that trans people are more likely to be unemployed or victims of violence.
On Facebook, Cox speaks about the importance of loving herself regardless of what she looks like: “I try to love, embrace and accept myself everyday, filter or no filter, make up or no makeup, weave or no weave,” she writes. “Filters are fun but they are no substitute for me waking up, looking in the mirror and seeing the unfiltered me as beautiful and worthy of acceptance and love.” And let’s make something crystal clear — there’s no excuse for bullying someone or treating them like they’re not worthy of love, regardless of whether they’ve had plastic surgery.