Author Topic: Cosmetic Surgery  (Read 4036 times)


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Cosmetic Surgery
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:07:53 am »
So I was watching "Insight" on SBS here in Aussie land the other night on cosmetic surgery.  In particular it actually covered some Asians who had been adjusting their looks to be... Maybe not Caucasian but less Asian if that makes sense.  Lengthening the chin, opening the eyes and bringing the tip of the nose further out and down.  Of course, a big part of this had been that she felt like a bit of an outcast with her strong Asian looks, maybe a little victimised and certainly stereotyped.

A different take on cosmetic surgery that I hadn't thought of before.  Never-the-less I do wonder about cosmetic surgery in general that people take either to change their appearance, improve it, generalise an outstanding feature or attempt to reduce age.

The biggest argument against cosmetic surgery is that those who desire it have psychological issues that should be dealt with by counselling and therapy to encourage people to accept and be comfortable with their appearance rather than feel the need to alter it.  We've almost all seen or heard the obvious horror stories out there about those addicted to surgery and altering their appearance until it's barely recognised as human anymore.  Then there's the cases of those who do have a psychological issue and will never be satisfied with the appearance of their nose, chin, eyes, etc.

But from what I can tell, those horror cases are the vast minority among those who get cosmetic surgery.  The majority appear to get only a single change or a few, are very satisfied with the results and go on to live a happy life.

On the "Insight" story, some of the opposition stated that you change your group of friends and seek counseling or therapy rather than ever adjust your appearance.  While I can understand that people sometimes get in with a bad group of people and really need to reset their lives, its an extreme measure to take.

I've never thought very highly of cosmetic surgery, but now I imagine if I had something like a big nose, was teased about it and constantly mindful of it to the point that it stressed me significantly... I could make adjustments to the people I was exposed to in the hope of eventually finding people that wouldn't make a fuss about my nose, go to counselling and therapy for who knows how long to maybe learn to become more comfortable with my facial feature... Or I could pay about $4,500.00 (maybe not so much more than all the therapy) for some surgery to alter my nose, put up with a few weeks of bandages and swelling, then have a nose that gives me confidence and/or doesn't cause me stress and worry over my appearance.

Heck, lets take women removing the hair from their legs and armpits.  All those arguments about being comfortable with your natural body and being different, I'd bet almost none of the female opposers to cosmetic surgery allow the hair to grow on their legs.  Are they all psychologically damaged for wanting to fit in and alter their natural body by removing hair?

Imagine if there was a cream to open your eyes wider for a day if you wanted wider eyes.  Is that much worse than a woman shaving her legs daily?  Or if there was something your could inject into your eyelids every 3 weeks for the same effect.  Is that much more worse (or painful) than waxing or plucking hairy legs every 3 weeks?  We have some surgical procedures that can widen the eyes permanently (it can be reversed with more surgery) but thats a horrible thing to do compared to 4 lots of laser hair removal, over several months, that permanently stop the hair from growing back on a woman's legs.

I'm not sure if there's something equivalent a man could do, but maybe thats a good exercise for any woman who opposes simple cosmetic surgery on people who don't have a serious mental condition in regards to their body/body-part or an addiction to surgery.  Just stop all hair removal to the eyebrows, armpits and legs for a year and see how they feel self conscious much of the time and how they're treated by others.

What does everyone else think?

Debate and Discuss.


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Re: Cosmetic Surgery
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 12:49:00 pm »
Hmm...  I have to preface just about everything with my theory that everyone is insane.  And that I'm pretty much used to thinking that way, so things just don't seem as odd to me sometimes.  (But that's a WHOLE other conversation in itself.  So, I'll leave that for now.)

But let's look at it like this, everyone is pretty much self conscious, and of course it's a psychological issue.  For me, as an example.   I've always considered myself a not-so-handsome devil.  I'm not out right ugly, but I'm not exactly attractive either.  Pretty unnoticeable. I have no issues with that.  And I've gone weeks without looking into a mirror.  So I don't really care about what I look like.

BUT.  I have one friend who on a couple of occasions has insinuated that I have an overly large nose.  The first time he said it, it didn't bug me.  After two or three more times, it started sticking in my head.  Now, after awhile I managed to more or less forget about it again, but for a few months there, I was really starting to get self conscious about it.
Bugged the hell out of me.  Now, I'm not really one to jump up and volunteer for surgery, but I can see how that might rope some other people into it if they kept hearing it.  Or if, unlike me, they heard it once or twice, and even years later might not be able to get it out of their heads.  And would therapy really help?  Bringing it up more seems like a bad way to forget about it. 

I've seen the programs where people have "non-standard" cosmetic procedures.  Things like whiskers added, horns, ball bearings under the skin. etc. etc.    Frankly, yes, I do think it's odd.  I figure they're insane.  But that doesn't bother me much, because I feel everyone else is too.  So if someone tweaks their eyelids, or gets a chin tuck, I think that's nuts too.  But it's their life, they can alter it if they want to.  I generally don't think about it.

I do remember once upon a time doing research at a university, and having to go through boxes of microfiche cards of old newspapers.  (1890's -1930's)  and being surprised at all the hair straightening devices/ads for black women to reduce the curls in their hair. 

So was it to look more white in particular?  Like the Asian eye lid tuck, perhaps it's not to look specifically more Caucasian, but to look more racially ambiguous.  If you look up Asian actors, they've been doing this for years.  And you'll note that their careers took of afterwards as well.  I lump this in with the trend in video games (and no comic books) to start using racially ambiguous characters.  The point is simple.  People identify with groups by similarities.  No matter how intellectually un-biased you are, there are some physiological reasons for you to be suspicious of people who don't look like you. (read about the "uncanny valley" )

So people feel more comfortable around people who look more like them.  So, aiming for being unidentifiable in that manner makes sense.  If you draw characters without very clear racial indicators, most readers assume them to be the same race as they themselves are for example. 

(On a side note, I just accidentally unplugged my monitor with my foot and shocked the beejezus out of myself in the process.)

I know I'm kind of segueing from surgery to concept of beauty, but bear with me.  There's not a pay off at the end, but maybe it relates.  Anyway.  Ever see those studies/programs where they merge two dissimilar faces?  And the product is usually more attractive than the two faces it came from?

People are programmed to look for symmetry.   Average facial measurements tend to make people more attractive.  Not the people on the ends of the range of measurements, but the people slap in the middle.  In the end, people are looking for that.  So the impulse behind the cosmetic surgery, I would argue is hardwired in the head.  But it only comes out because of the modern humans ability to self analyze and objectify.  Would this be a problem if we did not recognize ourselves in, or had no access to reflective surfaces?

Obviously, primitive peoples perform body modifications such as ear deformation, neck stretching and lip piercings.  Do they do this because they see their reflection in the water?  Or is it merely social?

I know I ramble.  And tend to argue against my own points.  But I throw all this out there as fuel for the fire.