Oct 19 2010
Nowadays, plastic surgery has become not only for the rich and famous anymore. Even the average age of the patients continues to drop and plastic surgeries are found easily on the streets. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of people having cosmetic plastic surgery has tripled since 1992 (breast augmentation increasing 533 percent and liposuction increasing 313 percent). Moreover, young adults under age of 18 made up 4 percent of all cosmetic surgery patients in 2001 that is still an astonishing 303,103 people (Plastic surgery not for teens). Even though it is statistics f rom2001, it has increased continuously as more young people are having plastic surgery than ever.
So, why do people want to have a plastic surgery? And to what extent, does plastic surgery benefit its patients psychologically and economically?
In order to explore this issue, I will be investigating the economical and psychological aspects of consequences of plastic surgery. I could be biased on this issue since all the people around me who underwent plastic surgery were satisfied with their results and became confident and happier. Especially, my elder sister who was afraid of receiving attention from people due to her appearance became confident and outgoing after a plastic surgery. According to my parents, letting her undergo the surgery is one of their best use of money and she should have had it earlier. This bias towards plastic surgery would inhibit my research and argument.
According to a psychologist David Sarwer, “People have always altered their bodies, mainly through diet or exercise, so it’s no surprise that many view themselves as changeable and undergo plastic surgeries” (Plastic Surgery: An Ugly Trend).
I cannot generalize everyone’s opinion on this statement, but I find it logically right and valid; thus, I am not going to cover ethical area that a plastic surgery reduces dignity of individual like cloning. Furthermore, although many doctors can easily pick up the mantel of “plastic surgeon” without the proper credential and training and because of this, ethical issues can arise concerning the risks behind private clinics and false advertisement; I am not going to talk about ethics as I am focused on psychological and economical areas.
According to plasticsurgery.org, people who express a desire to have plastic surgery are often trying to improve physical characteristics that they feel are awkward or flawed, and may achieve gains in self-esteem and confidence when these problems are corrected (Surgeons rules out teenager’s breast op). For example from BBC news, Jenna, a 15-year-old British teenager Jenna, asked her parents to have her breasts enlarged from a size 34A to a size 34C or D for her 16th birthday and her parents agreed to pay for the surgery (Surgeons rules out teenager’s breast op). By having a surgery, Jenna could have gained self-esteem, confidence, and vitality. However, according to Ruth Coppard, a psychologist, “Psychologically and emotionally, she (Jenna) is at risk by making a decision now when she’s a child that will have long-term repercussions that she can’t consider yet; she hasn’t got the perspective” (Surgeons rules out teenager’s breast op). Jenna seems excessively susceptible to the trend. She is picking the easiest and fastest solution while actually avoiding the root of the problem. These phenomenons might lead her to make thoughtless and rash decisions even on other issues. Moreover, sometimes, the result of the plastic surgery might not turn according to their desire. In this case, plastic surgery becomes an obsession for them as it has the potential to become an addiction. Some people can be enamored with the aftermath and look forward to another surgery which might have extreme results such as severe facial burns and distorted facial structures.
Despite its psychological disadvantage, which leads to physical damage, it is true that a plastic surgery gives its patients higher self-esteem and economical benefits. According to plasticsurgery.com, some people undergo plastic surgery to look younger and more vigorous so that they can demolish age limits on a job and work longer (The Growing Trend of Men and Cosmetic Surgery). This argument is also supported by Camillo Fracassini, a direct accountant of the BIG partnership, Scotland’s leading public relations consultancy. He said that “A work culture which often equates youth with energy and ambition, and maturity with irrelevance and lack of innovation, has encouraged the use of cosmetic surgery by men and women to reduce signs of ageing and so improve their job prospects” (Fracassini).
Moreover, in a Mike Williams cartoon, two women scrutinizing Rembrandt’s self portrait say, “You’d think that if he’d been that successful he would have had his nose fixed” (Mike Williams). This is a perfect example of society’s belief that attractiveness is a necessary part of success. Rembrandt is a renowned artist, but the women in the cartoon are not discussing his artistic ability; they’re critiquing his appearance, which illustrates the point that our society blatantly values appearance over ability.
Therefore, although plastic surgery costs a fortune and the procedure themselves are usually as much as several thousand dollars and the majority of such operations are not covered by health insurance, these consumption can be compensated by working longer and productively, and being successful after having plastic surgeries (Plastic surgery not for teens)
In other words, better appearance from plastic surgery will bring not only psychological benefits but also economical profits to the people who underwent plastic surgery. (Since I have no personal connections about economical benefits of plastic surgery, all the information about economical benefits is only from the research; therefore, I admit that I have limited perspective (bias) on economical areas)
Too many plastic surgeries can cause serious side effects, but if people satisfy with their results and acquire self-esteem, happiness, and even economic benefits, plastic surgery is no longer something that should be considered psychologically and economically wrong.
However, some can still say that plastic surgeries are not really making us happier. Rather, they delay the process of some individuals seeking the necessary psychological and economical help. However, I still believe that plastic surgery benefit its patients psychologically and economically. (I have only used my personal experiences to support them.)
Fracassini, C.(2002), “Executives Go Under the Knife to Get Ahead,” Scotland on Sunday, 6-8
Frank, Laurel. “Plastic surgery not for teens.” The battalion. The
battalion online, 01 Mar 2010. Web. 19 Oct 2010. <http://www.thebatt.com/2.8482/plastic-surgery-not-for-teens-1.1210806>.
Mike Williams. “Rembrandt’s Nose.” Date of image. Online image. Mikewilliamscartoons. 10 Aug
2010. <http://www.mikewilliamscartoons.co.uk/pages/MWC0095%20Rembrandt’s%20Nose.htm >.
“PLASTIC SURGERY: Cosmetic surgery and ethical issues.” Computer
Engineering Server. Santa Clara University, n.d. Web. 10 Aug 2010. <http://cseserv.engr.scu.edu/StudentWebPages/KNguyen/researchpaper.htm>.
“Plastic Surgery: An Ugly Trend.” Teen Ink. N.p., 09 Aug 2010. Web. 19
Oct 2010. <http://www.teenink.com/opinion/all/article/65000/Plastic-Surgery-An-Ugly-Trend/>.
Pruitt, Elana. “The Growing Trend of Men and Cosmetic Surgery .” PlasticSurgery.com. N.p., 2005. Web. 19 Oct 2010.
“Surgeons rules out teenager’s breast op.” BBC NEWS. BBC, 04 Jan
2001. Web. 19 Oct 2010. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1101015.stm>.
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