March 8, 2007

Cosmetic Surgery: Where's the Line?

Humor me. Go through this list and count up how many of these procedures you'd have done if nobody ever had to know:

Tummy tuck
Breast implants
Breast lift
Breast reduction
Butt implants
Calf implants
Eyelid surgery
Thigh lift
Upper arm lift
Forehead lift
Chin implant
Malar Augmentation (facial structure sculpting such as cheekbones, chin, etc.)
Ear shaping
Nose job
Sclerotherapy (gets rid of varicose and spider veins)
Hair transplants
Chemical Peel/Microdermabrasion
Botox
Fat injections for to smooth wrinkles
Collagen (plump and smooth skin and lips)
Use of radio frequencies to tighten skin

I counted five for me. I don't understand the stigma attached to cosmetic medical procedures. Like anything else, people can go overboard and come out looking like Jacko, but I don't think these types of procedures are categorically evil.

There's a website called Be Wise About Beauty (bewiseaboutbeauty.com) which goes into detail about cosmetic surgery. It debunks a few popular myths about procedures and has a fluffy quiz to judge if cosmetic surgery is right for you. Granted, the website was launched by a group of cosmetic surgeons and has a slant, but in general, I found a lot of interesting details about what a doctor can specifically do. It also has details about how to choose a doctor and questions you should have in mind regarding surgery. Spending a few minutes there won't minimize your crow's feet, but it might help clear up a few misconceptions.

People love to say we should accept our bodies as they are. But almost every woman I know is comfortable with makeup, braces, hair highlights, working out, mole removal, dieting, body shaping clothing (bras, girdles, control top pantyhose), and earrings. Many women are practically unrecognizable without makeup (Oprah, anyone?). Yet there is no stigma attached to these kinds of enhancements. Is it the freak medical cases we see on talk shows and sitcoms that have produced society's gag-reflex to cosmetic surgery? Is it the cost? The blood? I've seen heinous uses of mascara that are just as disturbing as an overly ambitious boob job.

There is only so much a tube of lipstick and bottle of concealer can do. Maybe that's the point. Unlike makeup, a botched face lift or tummy tuck can have disastrous long term consequences. Luckily for me, I live in L.A. so no matter what I decide to do, I'll be accepted by my peers. I certainly haven't ruled anything out. According to the website, the average age people have cosmetic surgery is 41. I'll post a picture of myself on the blog in 14 years and you guys can see if I took the plunge or not. But I can guarantee if cosmetic surgeons ever start doing the "third arm" operation for moms, I'll be the first in line. How sexy would that be?

25 comments:

Catherine said...

You've been in LA too long Sarah! Even if I did get into the makeup/hair/clothes thing it isn't a fair comparison.

Sarah said...

Why not? A lot of these procedures don't even require a knife. What's the problem? Seriously - I don't know anymore. Maybe it is just the L.A. on the brain thing though...

The Wiz said...

OK, it worked. I totally want a boob job. I want what God gave me. The kids took it away. Gimme.

That being said, I haven't heard of a lot of those procedures, so I don't know how many I would do. If I had spider or varicose veins, I would probably want them removed.

I think for most people the main difference between surgery and make-up and everything, is the long term (like you pointed out) and the cost. If you have 5 grand kicking around doing nothing, there are a lot of things you can do with it that would do more good than bigger boobs.

People tell me that when I say I want a boob job. They're like "give the money to cancer research" or "save it for your kids college" Wackos.

creative-type dad said...

I had no idea most of those even existed.

BTW- that picture is going to give me nightmares.

Janell said...

The wiz neglects to account for that putting 5 grand into bigger boobs may enable a woman to upgrade to a newer, much richer model of man. It's an investment ;)

(For the record I'm NOT that sort of girl, I'm just the sort who enjoys being difficult.)

AzĂșcar said...

I've said a few times that once I'm done having kids I'd like everything put back where it used to be--within reason. Not improvement, restoration. I'll keep my face the way it ages, just give me the tummy tuck.

But actually writing this out has made me feel shallow and objectified, so maybe I take it all back.

Toni said...

I counted 2- boob lift and tummy tuck- will I EVER have it done?? No way!

chronicler said...

I can tell your other commenters are young! I would take 4 to 5 of those thank you very much! Alas a social workers' salary does not put me in the economically viable range of acceptance. Sighhhhhh. When is it too much? When you begin to look like the lovely neg ryan looks now! Should've stopped one procedure ago meg!

Adrienne said...

Sarah, don't feel bad. If I could do it without any fear of complications and could afford it, I'd have everything between the top of my pelvis and the middle of my ribs liposuctioned. Maybe my inner thighs, too. Oh, the curse of being an apple-shaped woman...

Also, Chronicler: HOLY CRAP, seriously. Meg Ryan used to be cute. Now it's like the collagen wears HER...

Jiggles said...

I think a more important question is, "Would you do it if you had the money and could be sure there would be no complications or pain?" I wouldn't really care what anyone thought!

I would do a whole lot of liposuction and vein cleanup. And I would give myself a butt.

Lianne said...

Well, I have had breast reduction, and it was the best thing EVER. But I'd get lipo, tummy tuck, and some eye work done.

Well... on the other hand I'd rather spend my money on toys or travel.

But hey, if Rich Man is paying, sign me up!

Bubbles said...

You know it is sad when your sisters are jealous of your nursing boobs that are a Full A Cup - that is how it is in our family. As far as comparing make-up and highlights to cosmetic surgery - I agree, they are all on the vain side. I guess I am a hypocrit though, because I am o.k. with the make-up, etc., but cosmetic surgery - no way!! Sure I'd like to be able to fill out my A bra, or maybe even a B, but is it really worth going under the knife for that?? I don't think so!!

High Heels said...

2 :)

Sarah said...

Jiggles- trust me, butts are totally overrated. But if you insist you can have some of mine.

Melissa said...

Bubbles - I hear ya! I actually found a bra at Target... I think it was a Hanes that was size "Nearly A" Translation: just a little bigger than a training bra. It doesn't fit. :P I had 4 items on the list that I would do. But, I'll never have the money to do it, so I won't worry about it ;)

luckyzmom said...

I wanted to have my eyes done since I was 18 really. And really, really when a little boy in a store asked his Mom after passing by me, "Why is that lady so mad?" I was just consentrating, but do look angry when I do.

I would also have my chicken neck fixed.

It is just scary choosing a doctor I would think.

tracy m said...

Three- tummy tuck (thank you, 3 babies in 4 years) lift (same) and laser on the spider veins all over my legs (ditto)...

It's all my kids' fault.

Lisa M. said...

I'd just like a brain transplant.

Forget the way I look, I would just like to have my brain back.

I swear I lost it.

Bex said...

After watching cosmetic surgeries on TV, I'd have to go with: none of the above. I will never go into surgery willingly. Ick.

But if I just magically received bigger boobs and a better nose I definitely wouldn't complain.

Jody said...

I want a nose job and dont care who knows Im just scared to do it, dont like pain.

Anonymous said...

as of right now i'll take a nose job... i feel im perfect everywhere, im 5'6 115lbs don't gain weight can eat whatever i want (low sodium it works) c boobs flat 6 pack tummy but a nose Pinocchio would be happy for if his nose grew sideways but its not flat and its a little droopy... and fix everything after kids... my familys in the botox laser make you look perfect surgery life...

Anonymous said...

meaning they do all that for a living its the family business...

Paul said...

I realize my appearance is not perfect but by WHOSE standards? Some days I like the way I look, others I don't. No doctor who makes a profit by my pain is going to convince me to mutilate. For whose benefit is it? I MIGHT look good for a while AFTER the swelling, discoloring and scars fade but time marches on despite the work and then what? Do it again? How often? Until I look like Joyce Wildenstein and Michael Jackson love child? I'll keep my "flaws", thank you.

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