Plastic surgery epidemic reveals problems with society

Iman Hassan

Iman Hassan

Iman Hassan

Plastic surgery has allowed people to overcome their life-long self-esteem issues, but what are the drawbacks? It’s one thing to have surgery to save your life and another for aesthetics.

There is a plastic surgery epidemic that has drawbacks that are getting brushed aside that require attention and reveal problems with beauty standards in society.

Plastic surgery is the umbrella term which includes two broad categories: reconstructive and cosmetic.

Reconstructive plastic surgery has benefited people with body parts that have been adversely affected by trauma, injury, infection, tumors or disease.

Cosmetic plastic surgery has benefited people with life-long self-esteem issues.

Studies have shown that people who get cosmetic surgery have a boost in confidence and have better relationships with their partners.

However there are downsides to cosmetic surgery that we need to address.

Women accounted for 92% of all cosmetic procedures according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2014 plastic surgery statistics. This can be attributed to the fact that rewards and penalties for beauty and aging are applied to women more drastically than men.

We cannot discuss cosmetic plastic surgery without touching on what is seen as a beautiful women in today’s society.

Throughout American pop culture, we can see this on display as we go from blonde Barbie Marilyn Monroe to this amalgamation of ethnic features that the Kardashians have popularized. It’s no surprise that notable plastic surgeon Jason Diamond has remarked that many of his patients bring in a photo of Kim Kardashian or someone similar.

The standard set by this patriarchal society has directly caused the global epidemic of women and young girls alike seeing cosmetic surgery as the end all be all.

Whether it’s a developed country with women’s rights or a very restricted country, these beauty standards are still able to seep through every society.

Countries as different as South Korea and Iran are linked by high rates of plastic surgery among women.

South Korea has the highest number of cosmetic procedures per capita globally.

Iran, named the nose job capital of the world, has as many as 200,000 Iranians go to cosmetic surgeons each year for a nose job.

It is understandable though, the need to go under the knife.

People want to make their lives easier because of pretty privilege by altering their face.

On an individual level it is fine to get these procedures done, because it’s your body to do with what you please. Most of these procedures aren’t dangerous, with up to 85% being minimally invasive.

But instead of viewing these features as something to fix, shouldn’t we address the underlying issue which is being conditioned from a young age to strive for an unrealistic standard of beauty?

Also, It is detrimental to be dishonest about getting work done.

Many celebrities have done this which will continue to set unrealistic standards for their audiences.

Despite plastic surgery being safe for the most part, there are still some risks involved.

There has been a rise in Brazilian Butt Lifts which is the most dangerous procedure one could get.

This craze has come with many women going head first without proper research and ending up with health complications.

An interesting perspective is the fact that the Brazilian Butt Lift has only become popular in recent years which means that it will likely die out.

Just in the 2000s, it was all about the thin body in low waist jeans. In a decade or so, women will again have to alter another body part to fit a new requirement.

People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) need to be considered as well. Fewer than 10% of BDD patients will be satisfied with the results of their surgery, and their insecurities are often transferred to another aspect of their appearance.

There are even doctors that comment on patients’ features to get them to undergo more procedures.

There’s a lot to be wary about, and this doesn’t begin to cover the financial hurdle that is creating a class divide where the rich are beautiful and the poor ugly.

Just as society has had a lot to do with creating the problems, society has a role in overcoming them. Therefore, we should consider plastic surgery through a different lens to  understand other perspectives.