Beauty culture may seem harmless, but it is more than just skin deep. How we approach our aesthetics is part of our psychology, and it has a heavy impact on how we view ourselves and construct our identities. The value that we place on beauty as a society has an affect on the individuals within it. Obviously, some individuals are going to have more beauty than others, and a society that overly values beauty is sending a message to its less beautiful members that they are not as valuable. This is a tragedy as beauty should be seen as inconsequential.
The first part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that there are beauty standards. Merely the implication that these standards exist is already setting an unrealistic precedent. Who could possibly have the authority to set beauty standards? No two people look alike. We have incredible diversity in our appearances. This is the first problem of beauty culture: that its entire foundation is based on a fallacy.
The second part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that beauty standards are ever increasing. This is a stressful notion considering that a person can only change their appearance so much. But alas, one can examine changing beauty standards over time and realize that they are ever becoming more and more strict, reaffirming the notion that one can never feel satisfied and confident with their appearance.
And lastly, the third part of the message that beauty culture sends people is that ever increasing beauty standards must be met. The implication is that those who do not meet the culture’s standards of beauty will be left behind and devalued. This is such a harmful message to send people, especially to the more vulnerable members of society. Implying that someone is not worth while and has nothing to contribute to society because of the way they look is extremely detrimental to their sense of worth and self esteem.
Beauty culture is highly prevalent in modern times. We see its influences every day of our lives. We value beauty higher than we value health. The advantages that physical beauty will get us in life are impressed upon us from the time that we are small children. We are lead to understand that beautiful people are admired, rewarded and superior, while unattractive people are offensive, unappreciated and useless. We give our children role models of petite, angelic female figures and muscular, strong male figures and influence them to aspire to these ideals. This obsessive value we place on beauty is damaging to our psyches and deteriorating to our morality.
The reasons that people get carried away with plastic surgery are complex in nature, but one cannot discuss plastic surgery obsession and not make mention of the vanity that is so common to our culture. This is not to say that anyone who has taken plastic surgery and cosmetic alterations too far is vain. There are a number of reasons people use these procedures in excess, many of which are tied to legitimate mental health problems. However, our societal trends of obsessive beauty culture and focus on self image that informs our vanity is certainly contributing to the problem.
When it comes to cosmetic procedures like plastic surgery, beauty culture informs us that we would be better off if our noses were just that much smaller or lips that much fuller. It influences us to believe that plastic surgery can help us attain the level of perfection that we are seeking in our appearances. This prompts people to do things like spend their children’s college funds on plastic surgery for themselves, receive so many cosmetic alterations that their faces look more like masks than actual faces and spend their entire existences pursuing a level of physical perfection that does not exist. This side of beauty culture is toxic and harmful to people of all ages and should be eradicated.
Cosmetic alterations are all the rage within certain circles. Particularly in well-to-do society and celebrity culture, cosmetic alterations are a way of life. Most people you meet within these circles have had some cosmetic work done, even if only a minor procedure. There a variety of cosmetic alterations available to people who are looking to permanently alter their appearance. Some of the most common cosmetic alterations that people have performed are botox injections, laser treatments, electrolysis and plastic surgery.
Botox injections are the injection of collagen into a physical feature, such as lips or cheeks, to make them appear fuller and to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The collagen fills the skin that has become dull in its elasticity and makes it tighter. Excessive botox is known for making some people’s faces appear rigid and expressionless.
Laser treatments may be for hair or they may be for skin. Laser treatments can stop the growth of hair in unwanted places or they can smooth skin imperfections and give skin a tighter, smoother appearance. This treatment does not work on all hair and skin imperfections, but does work on many of them.
Electrolysis is used for similar purposes as laser treatment, but instead of using lasers, the procedure uses electrical currents to alter hair follicles and to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and sun damage. This is the most recent of the cosmetic alteration procedures.
Plastic surgery has been a mainstream beauty procedure since the 1980’s, but has come a long way since then. Plastic surgery involves performing a surgical operation to reshape part of the body into a more aesthetically pleasant form. Plastic surgeries are most commonly performed on faces, breasts, butts and on any area where skin is sagging. Plastic surgery has a reputation for being addictive because it is the most drastic form of body augmentation available for purchase.
When we think of plastic surgery, we think of something that should be done in moderation. The cautionary tales are all too many. Internet photos, news stories and word of mouth circulate about what happens when someone overuses plastic surgery. They begin to look unnatural and unsightly, thus contradicting the purpose of plastic surgery, which is to beautify a person. Despite these warnings, dependence on plastic surgery is still a legitimate phenomenon. People do not always know when to cut themselves off from plastic surgery, and it becomes an addiction of sorts. Plastic surgery only returns positive results when it is done in tasteful moderation, and those who cannot learn to limit themselves end up altering their appearance for the worse.
A dependence on plastic surgery is often mental, stemming from a distorted perception of one’s own appearance. If someone has a damaged perception of their self image, which is often caused by low self esteem or past traumas, they can effect the way the brain interprets one’s own reflection. With the innovation of plastic surgery came the opportunity for people to permanently alter their physical features for the first time. For those who had spent their lives staring into the mirror, wishing they could change their faces, the temptation proved overpowering.
The trouble with this distorted way of thinking is that it is a vicious thought pattern. It informs a person that if they just alter one part of their appearance, they will be happy. But these thoughts never leave when the individual carries out the task. They simply keep repeating. This type of mental unhealthiness informs the person that their appearance is never good enough, so they continue to alter their appearance. it. Plastic surgery is not meant to become a way of life. It is meant to be a one-time procedure, at most a handful of times. Anything beyond that is going to start to look unnatural. People who become dependent on plastic surgery are not aware of how they are morphing their face into something unnatural looking. They are only aware that their appearance must be changed. This is a type of disorder that warrants counseling, not repeated plastic surgery. People struggling with addiction to plastic surgery can find substance abuse counseling Beverly Hills, Miami and New York.
Plastic surgery is a popular aesthetic procedure for those who want to alter their appearance, but it is not without an element of controversy. There are also many critics of plastic surgery who feel that it is too unnatural a procedure to be made available to the public. There are also those who point out that it is addictive and can easily be overused. The health risks of plastic surgery are also arguably not worth a cosmetic alteration. There are many legitimate criticisms of plastic surgery, however, there are times when the use of plastic surgery is completely ethical.
For example, it is understandable and necessary that a victim of a disfiguring accident would require plastic surgery, or at least be given the option. People who go through the trauma of a horrible accident should not have to go through further trauma being self conscious of their changed appearance. They should be able to take advantage of the services of a quality plastic surgeon in order to restore their appearance to what it used to be, as much as is possible. It would be sadistic to accuse a person in this situation of being vain or obsessed with their looks.
It is also entirely ethical for a consenting adult, who moderates their use of plastic surgery and seeks only minor changes, to have access to good plastic surgeons. If someone is just lightly shaping or sculpting a part of their body with plastic surgery, it is really no more aesthetically altering than dieting or exercising. If it would give the person a boost of confidence or additional peace of mind, who can possibly stand in judgment?
Canadians who desire plastic surgery and are willing to go about it responsibly have many good quality plastic surgeons to choose from. In British Columbia, when it comes to cosmetic surgery Kelowna and Vancouver offer some of the best plastic surgeons in the nation. Alberta is also known for the cosmetic surgeons who practice in Edmonton and Calgary, and there are many talented surgeons on the east coast of Canada as well.
Some people feel that cosmetic alterations are unnatural while others see no harm in it. Regardless of your personal opinion of plastic surgery and cosmetic alterations, it is undeniable that it is a recent cultural fixation that will not slow down anytime soon. Cosmetic alteration is a huge industry that boasts a very loyal clientele, and in the present era of self-focus and personal image obsession, it is an industry that is destined to grow stronger.
Surgical body augmentation has been going on since the late 1800’s, but began as a service for people who had undergone trauma or had birth defects. In the 1960’s, however, the quality and availability of plastic surgery products greatly increased, and the demand for plastic surgery as a cosmetological procedure began. By the 1980’s, plastic surgery was considered a common procedure and resources for plastic surgery augmentation were plentiful.
So why the steady increase in demand over plastic surgery, when it comes with such risk? The answer is the value our culture places on physical beauty. Our culture dictates that anything unsightly about a person should be remedied, even if it is a structural part of their body. It can be argued that a cosmetic alteration can greatly improve a person’s self esteem, however, what about the people who overuse or misuse it because of the influence of beauty culture? Addiction to cosmetic alteration affects certain people, whose skewed perception of their physical self becomes apparent as they transform their appearance excessively to the point of looking unnatural.
For those who wish to break away from an obsession with cosmetic alterations and plastic surgeries, help is available. Addiction counselors and mental health professionals can help you work past the focus on self-image that is spurring on your cosmetic alteration addiction, and help you feel comfortable in your own skin.
And for those who are not addicted to plastic surgery who are looking to use it in ethical moderation, be sure to choose a surgeon with a good reputation for ethical procedures such as cosmetic surgeons in Kelowna or Vancouver.