A mirror gives reflection, what one chooses to interpret from that image of self depends on their self-image which is an internalization of emotional response to, but almost never an accurate record of what is seen in the looking glass.
Why do generally healthy people ever consider plastic surgery? It is expensive and dangerous, ending often in infections or merely regret. The prevalence of pointless cosmetic surgery in many developed nations is a symptom of the inherent ills of consumerism, in the world of instant gratification true satisfaction is impossible when there’s always something better.
For many the impulse to go under the knife for the sake of appearances is a direct result of excessive viewing of media. The visual propaganda for an impossible status quo is overbearing, pervading most areas of urbanized life. Beautiful people look down from rooftops and billboards, television sets and magazine stands, their glistening teeth and supple lips gnashing and smacking repetitiously: “Buy or die, live a lie.”
Frankly the effects on personalities that have been defined amidst relentless exposure to that mantra are infuriating. In the case of plastic surgery, dissonance between self-image and the modern standard of beauty leads patients like sheep to their operation of choice. I feel no spite for the bamboozled patient, though I find it difficult to respect those who waste vast sums of money and accept entirely unnecessary risks for the sake of appearance. However, the doctors who engage in and encourage such practices are, in my mind, likely to become toads in their next life.
My issue isn’t with licensed medical professionals smoothing arthritic knuckles, mending broken sinuses or straightening someone’s bite. There are many operations that genuinely improve quality of life which fall under the purview of cosmetic surgeons, and certainly there are upstanding doctors in the practice as well as plenty of patients hoping to reinvigorate their body’s functionality or alter some mentally debilitating deformity. However, if a doctor knows there is precisely zero benefit to the patient beyond changing appearances to satisfy vanity, they are violating any kind of oath they may have taken when graduating medical school. Never trust a physician if they’re happy to sell neurotoxins for needless face injection so as to paralyze muscles and inhibit their patients’ ability to communicate through facial expressions.
Those considering an operation should simply type “plastic surgery” into their web browser, navigate past American Society of Plastic Surgery’s home page which features breast augmentation and tummy tucks, ignore Bellevue Plastic Surgeons’ softcore pornography – and all of their peers – until a suitably seedy link is found along the lines of “plastic surgery gone wrong.” Or, at any time switch to an image search to immediately see the frightening steps backwards some have taken straight off a cliff into the uncanny valley pursuing their delusions.
Surgery is not a magical cure-all. In extreme cases of physical deformity it can certainly help improve quality of life, but no amount of laceration and implantation can free someone from their own self judgement. There is no reason for someone to be subject to their own subjective view on the lump of matter their mind happened to form inside of.
In the realm of nature vs nurture the body is and sustains, plastic surgery can rebuild and reshape it, but outside of extreme circumstances it is best left to its own devices. There is no place within a healthy world view for a need or desire to alter the body through such extreme and dangerous measures.
Those who care about the long term mental and physical health of their friends and family should discourage them from seeking out the kind evil doctors willing to play god with human flesh for money and vanity alone.
Editors note: read a response to this article here