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Shouldn’t cosmetic surgery be banned?

Cosmetic surgery has been a topic of controversy from the beginning. In its worst forms it panders to the insecurity of peoples’ appearance and self worth and seems vain and shallow. Am I attractive enough? What do others think about me? Should I alter the way I look so I feel more desirable? Even if I can’t afford it? So many people look great, sexy and hot. Why can’t I?

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The perfect faces?

 

It can be argued that undergoing a risky cosmetic surgery procedure in order to look better might just be one of the most irrational and dumbest decisions a healthy person might ever make? Surgery is arguably an invasive traumatic assault and even in the best circumstances makes a person worse before there is a chance to be better. There is usually pain, swelling, bruising and scar tissue that forms. With no guarantee of success, the result may actually lead to life-altering terrible consequences.

The media sometimes glamorizes ‘beautiful people’ and their own cosmetic surgery. Television shows such as “Extreme Makeover” and “The Swan” promote the message that new bodies and faces are linked to fame and adulation. Taking a look at “Hollywood” reveals so many unnatural and strange looking ‘stars’ who have fish lips, pulled faces, pointy noses and breasts the size of basketballs. What is attractive about these freaky looking folk?

 

Hollywood

Hollywood cosmetic faces?

Young girls today seem obsessed with photographing the perfect selfie, which then is ‘shared’ with their adoring fans. So much value is placed on looks but so little attention seems to be placed on one’s inner beauty. After-all, is flawless skin more important than a kind heart? Is the perfect nose better than being a dependable hardworking person? So maybe the ban on cosmetic surgery should begin with teenagers.

 

young woman looking into a mirror

mirror gazing

What if there were a prohibition against changing one’s appearance just for beauty?

Other prohibitions have not historically worked very well. Who would police or enforce this? Wouldn’t there be underground doctors and other people offering illicit procedures for money? Wouldn’t we be better off to help people appreciate their own inner beauty and not place so much emphasis on the external? Could we help dissuade vulnerable young people from so much emphasis on their looks and undergoing cosmetic surgery?  Shouldn’t the message be to them that their health and developing talents are more important than larger boobs and purple hair? Would this message even be possible? Would schools teach it? Or just parents, many of whom have their own struggles.

Is it realistic to expect we humans would learn to disregard how we appear? After-all, most of us comb our hair, bathe, brush our teeth, wear clothes that fit, and engage in other activities designed to help us look acceptable. Some even wear makeup! (once frowned upon by mainstream American society). When surgery is contemplated, what would qualify as ‘not too cosmetic’? What about birth defects (cleft lips) and surgery? Or a large scar from an accident? Or a mole growing on the tip of one’s nose? Are these examples of excess vanity?

So maybe prohibiting or discouraging cosmetic procedures is not a good idea. Telling others what do do rarely works it seems. Can we help instill the value of inner beauty as well as the desirability of external attractiveness? Sometimes when we help people look better on the outside, this can translate to them feeling better on the inside. When the funny looking ears are not sticking out for ridicule that kid now feels more ‘normal’. When the young woman with very big nose now has a pretty nose, she feels pretty for the first time. Is that so bad?

Cosmetic surgery. Beauty or beast? Hmmm…..this is getting very complicated.

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