Too many children today are growing up surrounded by media portrayals of the perfect body. If we don’t show realistic images through the media the next generations will be full of self-doubt. In turn, this will lead to greater problems of insecurity, anxiety and depression. So why do people harbour a need to achieve the perfect body? People are losing the right to enjoy life as they are due to ridiculous expectations forced upon us as ‘the norm’ via the media. An eating disorders website claims that we try to succumb to:
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: “The media plays a big part. Surrounded by thin models and TV stars, teenage girls are taught to achieve an impossible goal. As a result, many teenage girls intensely dislike their bodies and can tell you down to the minutest detail what’s wrong with them. Most teens watch an average of 22 hours of TV a week and are deluged with images of fat-free bodies in the pages of health, fashion and teen magazines. The “standard” is impossible to achieve. A female should look like, and have the same dimensions as Barbie, and a male should look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Buff Baywatch lifeguards, the well-toned abs of any cast member of Melrose Place or Friends, and music-video queens don’t help.”
We cannot simply sit back and accept that cosmetic surgery is the only viable solution for dissatisfaction with self-image. Cosmetic surgery is drastic, potentially dangerous and should only ever be used as a last resort. We weren’t intended to augment our own bodies. It is unnatural and scary that so many people are willing to do so, as opposed to delving into why they feel like they do. If individuals were to open their eyes and take a look at the world around them then they would see that atrocities of resources are used to induce feelings of self-doubt and negativity. In reality, we should channel this energy into things that really matter. Uniqueness is important; we weren’t intended to look the same (except identical twins) or to manipulate our bodies beyond previous recognition.
In the case of medical issues i.e. reconstructive surgery, then cosmetic surgery is potentially life-saving and extremely valuable, but too many people are abusing it for other means. Cosmetic surgery is being force-fed by the media as the new glamour and the dangers are all too often ignored. At the end of the day looks are skin deep, shouldn’t it be who we are that matters? Cosmetic surgery is teaching a wrong message about self-image. It is teaching people to be materialistic and shallow and it should be what is on the inside that matters. Society today wants quick fixes for everything that people don’t want to accept. This is a crazy notion and individuals need to be re-educated about what is special about them, as we are all special and unique and this is too often taken away by people feeling they have no option but to conform to be happy.
Ironically the outcome is often that people then feel the need to let themselves be controlled further and will go to great lengths enduring hours of pain and surgery, never to be truly at peace with themselves. Cosmetic surgery gives the bad message that it is a quick fix to more deep-seated emotional problems. We should be taught to love ourselves and each other for who we are instead of spending a lifetime searching for who we want to be, and never really finding that person. Why I want you to look me in the face… Vicky Lucas has a rare genetic disorder called Cherubism, this causes growth of the lower face. Vicky sees and highlights the importance of the fact that her face is an integral part of who she is. Vicky is not against plastic surgery, but she decided that she didn’t want surgery as this wasn’t really a solution. Instead, Vicky wants to change social attitudes.
I am sure you will agree that social attitudes form taboos regarding issues such as cosmetic surgery and disfigurement, as most people do not want to discuss topics that go against the societal norm. Vicky is truly an inspiration and we need more people with her positive attitude and determination to begin to eliminate the self-image problems that so many people experience, through no direct fault of their own. Altering how you appear on the outside does not by any means guarantee that you will be a different person on the inside. Uniqueness is important, cosmetic surgery is not. We are too concerned with what is on the outside when in reality we are complex beings. These complexities are valuable, why strive to be a product of things that are unnatural and most importantly unrealistic?