Move Over Butts and Boobs...It's Time For The Face To Take Over
February 26, 2013

Move Over Butts and Boobs… It’s Time For The Face To Take Over

2012 was a good year for plastic surgery, as CNN reported this month. Facial injections of botulinum toxin (most commonly known as Botox) were up eight percent from the previous year with a total of 6.1 million procedures performed. But that is not the only procedure that is up:

  • Facial wrinkle-fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm increased five percent to nearly 2 million.
  • Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments were up six percent to nearly 2.2 million.
  • Face-lifts were up six percent.
  • Eyelid lifts increased to four percent.
  • Cheek implants moved up to six percent.

However, the previously popular breast enhancements and buttocks augmentations were down. Breast enhancements dropped seven percent with 286,000 procedures while buttocks augmentations dropped a whopping 36 percent to just under 3,800 procedures.

Okay, so I have two reactions to plastic surgery. Let me get the negative one out of the way first because I like to end on a positive note. Plastic surgery makes me feel very uncomfortable. It brings to the forefront how vain and materialistic society can be. It also makes me feel like people want to be something they are not.

Moreover, I feel like plastic surgery continues to propagate the notion that beauty can only look one way: young. Furthermore, plastic surgery can be incredibly dangerous. Any surgery is dangerous.

Part of this negative reaction comes from the individuals I have known who received plastic surgery. In one case, the person underwent plastic surgery because of their own insecurities. In a second case, the person had the procedure to fit into someone else’s idea of “beauty.” And another did it because of aging.

I just feel like the title says it all: plastic. This surgery turns people into something they were not, makes them fit some mold they have created for themselves or someone else created for and imposed on them. This aspect of plastic surgery makes me very suspicious.

However, and this is a big however, I also feel positive toward plastic surgery. Let me explain. My first doctor, who became my parent’s best friend, stopped his family practice to become a full-time plastic surgeon. He now only does plastic surgery and the procedures corresponding with it.

When I asked him why, he told me that he grew tired of his patients not wanting to be healthy. He told patient after patient to stop smoking, eat healthy, and exercise more in his family practice and found few actually did these. However, his patients who come for plastic surgery and procedures actually want to be healthy and look good. They seek out ways to improve themselves. If he tells a woman who wants a breast enhancement that she must first lose weight, she will do that because she wants to look good and be healthy. I get this, and I like what he is saying.

If people seek plastic surgery for their own personal improvements, I can totally get behind that. I can also support people seeking these procedures after accidents, cancers, or other health issues that have changed how they look and feel about themselves.

I mean, how is plastic surgery any different from exercising to stay fit? Really? I still do not like the prospects that plastic surgery propagates only youthful skin that is wrinkle free is beautiful (and other such vain notions), but people who die their hair once it starts going gray are doing the same thing, are they not?

This is obviously a complicated issue for me personally. I believe that people should be healthy and do what is right for them, but I also believe that beauty and age go hand-in-hand. I guess the good news from this CNN article is that people are moving away from the plastic (i.e. fake boobs and butts) in plastic surgery and more toward the skin and more natural procedures.

I guess I want to end my fence riding here with the idea that we should love ourselves just the way we are. We should love watching our hairs turn gray and those wrinkles deepening. Those mean we have life experiences and wisdom. But if we do not love ourselves, we should find ways to do so whether those are through plastic surgery or procedures, massages, exercise, or whatever.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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