When many people think about the likely candidates for cosmetic surgery they sometimes think of young glamour women trying to boost their careers or women who were once overweight and can’t shift the last few folds of skin. These preconceptions may be apparent due to what is promoted by the media. The reality is that many different types of people are having surgery for many different reasons.
In this article I am going to explore some of the more and less visible reasons why individuals have cosmetic surgery.
We are always told what matters is not what’s on the outside but on the inside. Then on the other hand we are told to make the most of what we have because first impressions count. Conflicting messages causes us to battle with our appearance and what is and what is not important. This can lead to us validating ourselves with what we look like on the outside. This brings me to my first reason that people have surgery, self esteem.
Having self esteem is to have pride and self respect. Another way to describe self esteem is to feel good about yourself. There are many ways to improve your self esteem whether it is learning more, a better career, spirituality or cosmetic surgery. Many men and women would claim to having some form of cosmetic surgery in order to improve their self esteem. A common saying is when you look good, you feel good. Looks are often intertwined with how we feel.
We are often judged on first appearance, if we feel we look good our confidence increases and our first judgement can also be improved. Self esteem is quite a key reason that both men and women have cosmetic procedures.
One of the most popular reasons for having cosmetic surgery is aiming to turn back the years. In magazines, on television adverts and radio we are constantly bombarded with messages about ‘slowing down the signs of ageing’, ‘turning back the clock’, ‘renew’, ‘refresh’ and words and sentences associated with returning to a more youthful appearance. This is the same reason that many people choose to have cosmetic procedures. In modern society there is a fear of ageing and the signs such as wrinkles, sagging skin and unfit bodies and we are told to hide these signs. Procedures such as Botox, breast uplifts, arm lifts, face lifts are all geared towards returning to our youthful bodies. In search of growing old gracefully many people choose to have cosmetic surgery.
Another reason that people choose to have cosmetic surgery is that they feel that they are not in proportion with their body. Some women for example feel like their breasts are not in proportion with their bodies either too small or too big. Some men and women feel that their nose is too big, ears stick out too much, lips are too small and the list goes on. Feeling that one or more parts of your body is not quite right can be very uncomfortable and this is why many people have cosmetic surgery in order to feel right within themselves.
The media is often blamed for encouraging individuals in to a thought process and forcing images on to them that are not realistic. There have been programmes and magazine articles that discuss how unreal the images that we see in front of us everyday actually are. However although we are told that these images are not real we are still influenced by what we see. Many men and women have an image of their ideal body based on the people they see such as models, actresses and celebrities. Many individuals bring pictures to cosmetic surgeons asking for ‘Angelina Jolie’s lips’, ‘Jennifer Lopez’s bottom’ or ‘a chin like Brad Pitt’. These media ideals can shape how individuals look at themselves and influence their choice and reasoning behind having cosmetic surgery.
Quite a major reason for having cosmetic surgery is before and after changes in someone’s life. There has always been the idea that women cut their hair after a break up as if making a new start and as an end to their previous life. This same reasoning is why many people choose to have cosmetic surgery. For many people after a divorce, when they have had a life threatening experience, getting or aiming for a new job and so on are reasons why they want to have cosmetic surgery. It can be seen as a sign of marking the occasion and declaring that there is going to be a change in their lives. Cosmetic surgery can be a way of showing change in individual’s lives and having something to remember it by.
A reason that many people choose to have cosmetic surgery is that they want to make small and subtle changes to themselves. They don’t want it to be too obvious that they have had surgery but they want to make minor enhancements so that they look a bit better, just to refresh themselves. The procedures that would typically suit this are non surgical procedures such as Botox, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.
Overall there are many different reasons why someone might choose to have cosmetic surgery, whatever their reasoning cosmetic surgery has different meanings to different people. Some individuals may feel that the reasons behind having cosmetic surgery are solely aesthetic but this is not always the case, there are often deeper reasons that people choose to have cosmetic surgery and it has a different meaning for different individuals.