With the costly intense procedure of plastic surgery, it is a wonder why there is a raising craze for the surgery. But to be sincere, if people were asked to choose between a woman with an oval wrinkle free face, well-defined nose and lips, an hourglass body with a thin waist, flat tummy and big boobs and a woman with a chubby wrinkled face, bonny nose, fat, overweight shapeless body, most would chose the hourglass woman as the best stature. Why? Because she looks perfect.
WHAT IS PLASTIC SURGERY
Plastic surgery, often referred to as “one of the world oldest healing arts” has nothing to do with plastic. The word originated from a Greek word “plastikos” which means to mold or shape. It is therefore a surgery dedicated to reconstruct facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns and diseases. This is why it is also referred to as reconstructive surgery.
The practice of altering body tissue to improve and restore the human body has been since ancient times, but this practice came into the lime light in the 20th century when the casualties of the war made reconstructive surgery a necessity for many soldiers. During World War I, military physicians were required to treat many facial and head injuries caused by modern weapons.
The main aim of plastic surgery is to restore the functions and appearance of tissue and skin to be close to normal as possible, such as, repairing abnormalities that have existed since birth e.g. cleft lips, webbed fingers. Repairing areas damaged by the removal of cancerous tissue, repairing extensive burns and other serious injuries. Over time, plastic surgery has been used mainly to enhance parts of the body regardless of them not being damaged or defective. This area of plastic surgery has being termed as cosmetic surgery which is the surgery performed by many to enhance their physical appearance such as bust enhancement, liposuction and facial contouring etc. The intent of cosmetic surgery is to improve a patient’s aesthetic appeal, symmetry and proportion. It has less to do with repairing abnormal or defective tissues.
While cosmetic surgery is done mostly by women, there is also a high percentage of men who undergo the surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 1.3 million males and 14.5 million females performed plastic surgery in the United Sates in 2017. According to the same report $16.7 billion was spent on cosmetic plastic surgery in 2018.
Although the risk of plastic surgery is now claimed to be rare, there are still risks involved in it such as bleeding, infection, nerve damage, organ damage, scarring, death etc. There is the possibility of a failed surgery leaving the patient looking worse than before, the risk of employing the services of a quack and the obsession with cosmetic surgery which pushes a person to find imperfection in their body till they look the perfect image of a child doll. The complete recovery time is mostly up to a year, this is not a short period.
Interestingly, the effects of plastic surgery can still wear off, nothing last forever and plastic surgery is no different. Plastic surgery does not stop aging and does not mean that a person cannot end up becoming as shapeless as they were before the surgery. Undergoing plastic surgery does not mean a woman would look beautiful or most necessarily feel better about herself. Despite all these, the question still remains why do women undergo the surgery?
WHY WOMEN UNDERGO PLASTIC SURGERY
According to a 2019 survey by RealSelf/Harris Poll, the top cited motivations among those who have had or are thinking about cosmetic surgery is “to improve self-esteem/confidence” and “to look as good as I feel”. The likelihood of women committing plastic surgery is linked to the body image they want to portray in public and the desire to love their body, they lack self-confidence and perceive they would live life better when they are satisfied with their appearance.
There is an increasing focus on the body as a vehicle for identity and social worth. Daily, society defines what a perfect figure should be and stereotypes women who do not fit into this category. These women are body-shamed and rather than aging being seen as a completely natural and predictable part of life, aging is now being represented as a pathological disease that modern science must cure.
Reports show that cosmetic surgery became more popular during the pandemic, the reason is not far-fetched as people had more time to make use of video technology, interact better on social media and watch television shows where they see television personalities, models with body shape and face termed as perfect. More screen time, cameras, selfies has further contributed to how women perceive themselves, these technologies come with filters that proportions the face and body to any desired particular look. Women therefore want a reality of what they see in posters and filtered selfies.
In the not-so-distant past cosmetic surgery was only performed by the uber-wealthy, but nowadays a not-so-rich working-class woman, preferably with a double income can undergo the surgery. The surgery is therefore more affordable. It is also safer because of technological advances, as such women are rest assured that the risk involved is not as hideous as it used to be and because people are talking more about the surgery, there is increased acceptance, portraying the topic less of a taboo and more of a fashion statement.
Modern technology has evolved to the extent that there are less invasive treatments women can use to have their desired body. These include, laser treatment where lasers are used to treat skin diseases, wrinkles, scars etc. coolsculpting, a fat freezing method that aims to get rid of stubborn fat in certain parts of the body, botox injections that relaxes facial muscles.
Although these treatment are less invasive, they still alter the body. For instance, botox temporarily paralyzes muscles, and lasers damage skin cells to stimulate the growth of new skin. These treatments do not last as long as plastic surgery so it is required that they are repeated which in the long run can adversely affect the body and be more expensive than plastic surgery. We therefore cannot describe these treatments as the best solution. So what then are the best solutions?
Women have to love themselves and not be influenced by hearsays and society definition of a beautiful woman. They have to accept that body genetics differ and that aging and childbirth causes changes in the body structure. Research has shown that women who undergo plastic surgery because of external factors do not get satisfaction from the surgery and may end up being obsessed with the procedure just to please the public.
The media is a significant force in convincing women that they are inadequate, unless they are “packaged” and can present themselves in socially acceptable modes of beauty. Hence, there is need for change in how the media and society portrays beauty and there should be a stop to body shamming.
A healthy lifestyle is a panacea to women’s needs to have a beautiful physical appearance. The fact remains that a healthy lifestyle is even needed to lengthen the result of plastic surgery. Daily exercising, good food, adequate sleep, dieting, meditating go a long way in improving a woman’s inner and outer self. Exercise helps with weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate that burns more calories. It helps with giving one good skin through regular, moderate and exhaustive physical activity that increases one’s body production of natural antioxidant which helps protect cells.
The saying “you are what you eat” is as true as it sound. Good food brings out the best beauty while bad food gives one poor result. Eating good food as well as dieting helps control the type of calorie one takes into their body and provides collagen for the skin. Overall, exercise and dieting are more surpassing treatments although they take more time, planning and patience than plastic surgery. They are not as costly, they do not result in scarring and they are good treatments for depression.
According to the self-efficacy theory, we become stronger through persistence and overcoming obstacles. Thus, for every exercising and dieting you accomplish you move a step closer to achieving a degree of mastery that boost your self-confidence which no plastic surgeon can give you. Apart from these methods, natural and organic treatments such as spot treatment with little lemon, lip scrub with coffee beans, moisturizer made of avocado and honey etc. can be used to help enhance facial beauty.
Technological advancement, human perception and obsession with youthful appearance has contributed to the raising craze of plastic surgery among women even though it has a number of complications. It is still important to remember that before conventional use of these treatment, there were other methods which are safer, less expensive and can be safely described as a panacea.
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About the Writer
Precious Aliu is an excellent researcher who has a keen eye for conspicuous opinions. She loves reading, and writing and believes these skills improve a person’s intellect, she is also creative and attracted to artworks and artistic point of view.