Plastic Surgery from a Mental Health Perspective
We cannot discuss plastic surgery without understanding the euro-western / mainstream cultural state of things for women, wherein there exists much pressure for women to look eternally young.
The biological reality of aging is being rejected, denied and aggressively resisted through so-called "beauty" products and services from botox to plastic surgery.
In addition, the beauty standards within this female eternal youth imperative are quite narrow, rigid and not flattering for all women, which some people don't much think about or care about when deciding on the look they want with plastic surgery.
For example, requesting a small button nose, for some particular face structures, can produce a very unflattering result. Same goes for the latest trend of butt implants - they just look unflattering on some bodies. But since this part is subjective (as are beauty standards in general), let's return to the mental health issues involved.
The loud, clear and very harmful message in pop culture that aging for women = death, is closely tied to another Great Lie we are led to believe, that females are only valued for our looks. This is another loud and clear message in much mainstream media, i.e. commercials/tv shows/movies/etc.
All of this results in much pressure, time, energy and money sapping women's lives and general life force.
The escalation of radically tampering with our physical features via plastic surgery limits and distorts the diversity that exists among us. Human diversity is endless, and a natural, beautiful and exciting part of life that demands respect and celebration, not annihilation.
Pop culture has it wrong in that it has come to fear, judge and (try to) erase the diversity among us. Especially considering that our differences make us unique individuals of value and worth.
Anxiety, depression, low confidence, disordered eating and addictions of all kinds - including plastic surgery (aside from reconstructive procedures for medical reasons) - are all symptoms and side effects of these pop culture messages and pressures, which are further intensified if one is raised with these same values at home.
When females grow up seeing their mothers/aunts/grandmothers/etc. getting plastic surgery and other endless "beauty" products and services, it is that much more difficult to ignore or combat the pressure to conform and annihilate diversity.
These are some of the reasons why I am so passionate about my mental health work in supporting and empowering women.
There is no deeper honor or privilege than helping my female clients own their power, value and worth for who they are, AS they are. When this happens, women liberate themselves from the mental shackles of "beauty" and shine as the true beautiful women they are, inside and out. Rejecting plastic surgery is an excellent and powerful step towards this.
Because pop culture's disempowering values and messages for women are so loud and run so deep, it takes time and patience to undo them. It is work, It is worth the work, especially if you consider that your example will influence and inspire others, including your own kin.
I went through this personal work myself so I can say with certainty that the confidence and power I gained from accepting and loving myself "as is" was life changing and life saving.
Image: Sharon Needles, one of my favorite drag queens of all time, showcasing "plastic surgery realness" on Season 4 of the hit show RuPaul's Drag Race (and rightful first place winner). Website source for image here.