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Is plastic surgery starting to go too far?

 Plastic surgery used to be something that was mainly associated with celebrities. However, in the last couple of decades, the population of the Western world has become increasingly obsessed with beauty, a slim figure and staying youthful looking. Surgical procedures are now common and even reasonably priced for ‘ordinary people.’ A nip here, a tuck there. Or if you have enough money, you can have the works done and completely transform yourself! But is it starting to go too far? I was inspired to write this after reading a recent newspaper article on the Internet. A young woman spent £30,000 on plastic surgery to make her look like a blow-up sex doll! Yes, you read that correctly. She had lip implants, Botox, rhinoplasty and three breast enlargements to increase her bust size to a 32G! She intends to have further breast enlargements and buttock implants too.

Unsurprisingly, there were numerous hilarious, derogatory and sexual comments made by the public. But there are some serious issues here. Why did this girl want to look like something that is often associated with creepy men? Shouldn’t there be a thorough psychological assessment before carrying out certain procedures? Many people thought that she might have suffered from body dysmorphia or another mental issue and that this should have been addressed instead.  I also found it hard to believe that the surgeon(s) agreed to perform these operations. Was it a case of money over morality? If so, then I find that a bit worrying. Who knows what kind of surgery some people going under the knife may ask for in the future and the negative consequences it may have?

As if in response to my wondering, soon afterwards I read about another young woman who had had a third breast created in order to get her own TV show! As you can imagine, the result looked quite unsettling. The story later turned out to be a fake but now that the idea has been thrown out there……..? There are no doubt plenty of attention hungry individuals out there who would do something similar to get their five minutes of fame! In any case, extreme plastic surgery could be said to have already started. Some people have had ‘horns’ transplanted into their foreheads. A J-Lo inspired huge booty and beach ball breasts are also a bit over the top. (No pun intended!)  There are also some extreme body modifications that would put a tribes person’s traditional body decorations to shame. These include forked tongues, bones through noses, multiple face piercings and even holes cut into cheeks so that you can see a person’s teeth and gums! Tattoos have become so popular that some people have them covering over 90% of their body. Others have vulgar or sinister looking ones. One man even had his face tattooed to look like a skull.

Being a bit of a creative person, I can understand why some people want to express themselves with body art and modifications, but some of these effectively mutilate the body and are just plain repulsive to look at. How do you prevent yourself from wrinkling your nose when you see people sticking their tongue through a hole in their chin or displaying tattoos that look like large open wounds? ‘Ear tunnels’ are another unattractive example. I can live with the tiny ones but a hole almost the size of a bangle is pretty gross. I have sometimes been served by people sporting substantial sized ones in Subway. The sight of them has almost put me off my sandwich! To be fair to body modifications, maybe I would think differently if I was a fan of them.

I have more mixed views about plastic surgery. I have to admit that some procedures such as rhinoplasty, liposuction or a little collagen to reduce wrinkles often does make a person look better. On the flip side, I see it as vanity and think that it is better to grow old gracefully rather than faking it by looking a lot younger! I also think that certain procedures make a person look worse. ‘Fish lips’ and looking too ‘plastic’ seem to be common negative results.  Some of the time, people didn’t really need to have any work done in the first place. Take Michael Jackson and Pete Burns for example. Both were good looking, young men who overdid it and ended up looking well, just plain freaky! I also thought that the sex doll woman was pretty enough on the ‘before’ pictures and many other people agreed.  Extreme modifications and surgery are also likely to close doors or create problems. Some people may find it difficult to find a job or a partner. Large breast enhancements can cause a bad back. Some people are likely to become an object of ridicule or attract the wrong sort of people.

Another reason why I think this industry could be going too far is the black market plastic surgery in the U.S. Some women have been disfigured or even died due to incompetent surgeons operating illegally. Going under the knife is not without its risks even when the surgeon is legitimate and qualified. We evidently have not yet reached the stage where every patient can be guaranteed good and safe results because there are still stories of botched jobs and complications.

The weird thing about plastic surgery is that while many people think that some results look strange or unnatural, the patients usually say that they are happy with the results and are living a better life. So is this proof that they previously had body dysmorphia or other self-esteem issues? These are said to be common and probably partly explain why the plastic surgery industry has grown so much. But I believe that it could easily also turn into a ‘shock value’ thing. I think that Internet images of extreme body enhancements may inspire and encourage some people to do something even more ‘out there’ (regardless of whether these images have been photoshopped or not.) After all, some people can be very competitive! So it could be the start of a snowball effect for more unorthodox plastic surgery. In 10 years time, we may walk among people who look like they have just come out of a Sci-Fi characters’ convention!

Let’s look at it from a different angle though. Are we too judgemental as a society? One of only a few comments supporting the sex doll woman’s decision suggests this. It says that this woman achieved her goal and didn’t hurt anyone. She is one of the people who are free thinkers and challenge normality. The rest of society are little more than sheep. We shame individuality and praise conformity. This made me reflect somewhat on social normality. But I was no closer to understanding why anyone would actively want to look like an inflatable bedroom toy. Maybe this woman did have psychological issues. But then, maybe she was breaking the mould and merely doing something that nobody has done before. If this is the case, then is plastic surgery really starting to go too far or is it us with the problem?


  • Amy Tocknell says:

    I used to have stretched ears.The holes were 2 inches wide and I wore large wooden discs in them and despite always having nice make up etc, I would notice people grimacing, sneering or talking about my ears. It was very unpleasant and made me wonder why on earth they had the right to be so judgemental and awful to someone they didn’t know. In my opinion, body modification is a purely personal choice and no different to getting your ears pierced. If it is symptomatic of a deeper psychological problem then the onus of diagnosis is on medical professionals, but regardless, people who are unhappy with their appearance will always find a way to express themselves and that should not be taken as an invitation for others to comment or judge. xx

  • A lot I’ve seen on the Internet definitely have shock value – I sometimes wonder where the ideas came from. I think the reason why society judges some things so harshly is because we are simply not used to seeing stuff like that. It never really existed in the last century or before we saw it on the Internet. When you say you used to have your ears pierced…… how did you get them back to the way they were before? I’m just curious! I thought once they were stretched to a larger size, they were permanent!

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