What is beauty? How do we make standards for something that is literally based on a human being’s perception, and differs from everyone else’s? How do we judge “beautiful”? What makes certain features supposedly “not beautiful”? Why are some of our typical attributes viewed as flaws? And why on earth do we care so much about beauty?
Questions like this make us think more about what society and media have fed us as the truth. But what they forget to tell us is that there isn’t one single truth. There isn’t one single definition of beauty. Anything that insists otherwise is laying the groundwork for a world of self-esteem issues.
Statistics on Cosmetic Procedures
With the number of cosmetic procedures increasing, issues like lower levels of self-confidence have high rocketed. Based on the statistics from the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, there have been more than 23 million cosmetic procedures performed around the world in 2017; 20 million of them being on women. The young generation of people who haven’t even had their first wrinkle yet, make up 55.1% of the patients going through the procedures (19-34 yrs). And the numbers are rising every year.
Interestingly, America is almost always at top of the charts, boasting the highest rates of cosmetic procedures in the world.
The question is, why? Why are there so many people around the world who want to desperately change the way they are? And also, while we are asking questions, why not?
How Do We Define a Cosmetic Procedure?
A cosmetic procedure is a surgical, or non-surgical type of plastic surgery that solely focuses on the patient’s appearance.
Studies have shown that some of the main factors for patients having cosmetic procedures are self-esteem, media, culture, and education. The same studies suggest that patients should focus on their psychological well-being before proceeding with any type of cosmetic procedure.
Though not everyone who goes through a cosmetic procedure may experience this, a lot of the patients deal with body dysmorphic disorder and personality disorders.
There’s no denying that everyone is in control of their own body, and they have the right to do anything they want with it, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. However, the reason that I took an interest in this topic was because of the after effects of cosmetic procedures. Though not everyone who goes through a cosmetic procedure may experience this, a lot of the patients deal with body dysmorphic disorder and personality disorders. They lose the ability to recognize themselves, all because they were chasing a narrative from the ever-present media, insisting that if they don’t resemble a Kardashian, they don’t fit the right mold of beauty.
Also, the cosmetic procedure culture seems to be creating a chain that motivates more and more people to go through such procedures. Not even the hardships or damages before and after a cosmetic procedure have decreased the numbers.
Now, this isn’t to judge those who do seek cosmetic surgery. The idea is only to insist that the representation of beauty in the media should be representative of all types of people. Only then can we hope to tackle issues of self-esteem and self-worth which result in the seeking out of cosmetic changes.
The Facts Are Clear
It’s obvious that we, as people, are struggling to accept ourselves from the inside out, and the media isn’t helpful at all. It is necessary for societies to understand that teaching people from an early age about self-love, and healthy self-image is just as important as whether kids learn how to solve a math question or not.
Societies and cultures are using the fraud illusion of beauty as a tool to temper women from climbing the stairs of power. As actress Jameela Jamil keeps insisting, conditioning women to believe that they need to focus on their looks might mean they spend less time focusing on their businesses, or their entrepreneurial pursuits. Once again, this ins’t to argue that focusing on your looks is a no-no, just that impossible standards of beauty can be eschewed in favor of being accepting of what you’ve got, and working with it!
This is where the presence of media figures like Ashley Graham, Sonny Turner, Ariella Nyssa, Bella Golden, Vivian Geeyang Kim, Sophia Hadjipanteli, Leah Vernon, and Winnie Harlow become important. These beautiful, accomplished women are a picture of diversity as far as beauty is concerned, and we adore them for it!
Being real, showing “flaws”, and encouraging self-love is a step towards a future where no one feels like they need to change their fundamental selves in order to be pretty.
And just to be clear, it is okay to go through cosmetic procedures at any point. It’s your choice after all. But it would be better if you were confident in yourself, and loved yourself even before the procedure.
P.S. Shaming people for having a cosmetic procedure is not okay. Don’t make it your business to judge others. 🙂