Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished that your jawline were a bit sharper, your eyes a little wider and your nose slightly smaller? Most people, myself included, aren’t completely satisfied with how they look. It is not a bad thing; our unending strive to reach ideals has been the driving force of human advancement, and wanting what you can’t have is a natural phenomenon that all of us encounter. Except that obtaining a different, slightly more improved face is and has been possible for quite a while now. Perhaps it is a bit late to talk about plastic surgery now that society is leaning towards accepting people’s decisions to undertake them, and it may even be a hackneyed topic. But that is precisely why the issue needs to be addressed, before it is too late.
First off, whether there is a difference between putting on make-up and getting cosmetic surgery is a common argument made by those who think that cosmetic surgery should be socially accepted. This is quite understandable; make-up exists to essentially improve the existing face, which is what plastic surgery also aims to do. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because the purpose is the same that there is no difference between the two. Getting plastic surgery is using surgical instruments (scissors, knives, hooks, clamps, forceps, needles and retractors to name a few) to permanently change the way you look. When you have make-up on, other people know you applied cosmetics; you’re admitting that you want to look your best while you have it on. But with plastic surgery you are fundamentally changing the shape of your face, deceiving people to think that this is the way you naturally look.
Why do we have such a strong desire to look more attractive that we’re willing to pay large sums of money to get a face-lift? Getting plastic surgery for aesthetic reasons, no matter what the supposed purpose may be, is fundamentally an effort to get treated differently by other people. It is hard to imagine someone living on a deserted island wanting to get plastic surgery. Even if this is hard to admit, it is true; everyone enjoys being appreciated for good looks. But getting plastic surgery means that you want to be judged more by your appearance than by your personality, character and sometimes your aptitude for your job. It is buying into the idea that things get easier if you are physically more attractive.
About seven or eight years ago, if a celebrity was revealed to have undergone plastic surgery, it created heated discussions and many people pointed their fingers at that celebrity, saying that her beauty is artificial. Men would say that although they accept the idea of plastic surgery, they personally would not like the woman they want to marry to have undergone plastic surgery. But a lot has changed since then. Some parents are eager to have their children get face-lifts after passing the college entrance exam, and many people say that they prefer a surgically beautified guy or girl to a less attractive, natural one. Practically every celebrity, and even many of the people around us, has changed at least one part of his or her face. We are surprised and usually skeptical if a celebrity claims that their beauty is 100% natural.
There are advertisements everywhere of cosmetic surgery hospitals with before-and-after photos to convince you to get one too. I even saw an ad in a subway which had a picture of a surgically beautified woman surrounded by guys and the words “Relish the attention” written on top. Plastic surgery has become a norm and it has come to the point where not accepting it makes you seem ignorant and closed-minded. However, there is a difference between tolerating new ideas and being so “open-minded” that your brain leaks and leaves you unable to make judgments on any issue.
It is ironic how despite human civilizations’ great advancements, we are using the high technology we developed to further satisfy and practice our basic instincts. Judging by appearance is evermore natural and understandable, but it is still a crude way of getting about things. We often say that the smarter and wiser we get, the more we should learn how to overcome our primitive desires, think logically and look beyond the physical reality laid out in front of us and deep into what kind of human being each person is, rather than how they look. Getting plastic surgery purely for aesthetic reasons won’t solve the real problem you think you have; chances are the problem is not how your face looks but an inability to accept the way things are. If you’re one of the many people who are considering plastic surgery, no matter how minor the procedure is, please take a moment to think over whether this is what you really want. Instead of judging yourself only by looking in the mirror, reflect upon who you are as a human being and learn to appreciate the person you really are.