Flicking through the pages of a few women’s magazines this week I have found myself insensed by the regularity of one particular interview question.
It doesn’t matter how young or old the female interviewee is, it seems that it is now the norm to ask them their views on plastic surgery or, more specifically, would you have any work done now or in the future?
There is something fundamentally wrong with this, especially when it is directed (as it often is) at a women under the age of 25. It is this notion that beauty is important above all other things; that it is something precious or fragile that you can lose; that at some point there will be something wrong with how you look that will need to be corrected. It is symptomatic of a society that is obsessed with what other people think.
As a mother of a girl I am worried that this is a terrible time to be growing up as a women. Young girls are riddled with insecurities about their looks and weight from a terrifyingly young age and even women who did not grow up in that world, like myself, have come to learn that being thin, wearing a size 10 dress or below, and slathering yourself in make-up are the key to female happiness. Should we be punishing ourselves for eating another biscuit or just enjoy everything in reasonable amounts? This is exacerbated by the notion that if you do get fat or wrinkly you can just have it chopped, pinned, sucked out, or frozen and everything will be all right again.
I am not against plastic surgery if that is your choice and every woman should have the right to control what is done with their body but it is wrong to expect all women should want it and should have something that they hate about how they look. At the end of the day, it is a medical procedure and we should not be so blase about committing to major surgery and value our looks above health and happiness.
The plastic surgery industry may be worth millions but is only just being properly regulated. Think about all those women with poisonous PIP implants that resulted from lax regulation. Astoundingly, guidance issued this week by the Royal College of Surgeons recommends that only medical professionals should administer Botox because, at the moment, anyone can inject paralysing drugs into your face. I can’t even talk about female genital surgery as it is a choice that seems so insane to me and yet there are worries about the number of girls aged under 18 who are asking for this procedure.
I know a few people who have had surgery and they have all had more than one procedure. It started with one small change such as a boob job and snowballed into noses ,and eye lifts, and Botox ,and more. For some people it is the start of something and once you have corrected that ‘little flaw’ you start to find more things ‘wrong’ with you and have more surgery. Perfection does not exist, especially when it is judged by the world’s harshest critic – ourselves.
I am not criticising people for choosing to change parts of their body if they wish and I am not blaming magazines solely for the idealistic view of society but there are lots of factors that contribute to this cultural change in how women view their bodies. Men are never asked about their surgical hopes and fears; they are just allowed to age gracefully so why can’t we?
It makes me so depressed to see young people talking about having work done to their bodies. Nobody is perfect but I can’t help but feel us girls should spend less time hating ourselves and more time enjoying life.