Germaine Greer begins her book, The Whole Woman, with this statement: “Every woman knows that, regardless of all her other achievements, she is a failure if she is not beautiful.” (P 23).
Plastic surgery is a booming business. And it takes advantage of woman’s insecurities. So why are woman so insecure? Why aren’t men flocking in the same way to the plastic surgeons carving scalpels and syringes?
In my opinion, as the percentage of women slicing and dicing their body’s steadily creeps up, the effects of feminism are sliding down deeper and deeper into the cavernous well of failure. The goal of feminism was supposed to free woman, to liberate them from a patriarchal society. To free them of the expectations of men and let them be their own person. Now more than ever are we subjugated to the wills and whims of men. When our bodies aren’t even ours to own and control, nothing is.
Women who get liposuction, a nose job or whatever it may be say that they get it for themselves, to boost their confidence. It’s nothing to do with a man. But what do they want to be more confident in? Attracting men? Plastic surgery is based on the existence of men. Without them, what rational woman would undergo a painful operation with bruising and scarring all for herself?
But it is a futile task to blame men for their very existence. Not to mention unfair. They are victims of the ever predatory mass media just as women are. When they see beautiful women on the television, men expect their women to look like that and women expect themselves to look like that. The mass media is a very potent drug leaving its victims feeling dissatisfied and insecure, whether consciously or subconsciously. Magazines, television shows, music all repeat the same message: that the sole aim of a woman should be to look beautiful in order to attract a guy. It doesn’t matter if the guy is ugly, penniless or a deranged psychopath. What matters is you are attractive enough to get one. And lucky if he stays. This type of thinking, encouraged by the media, is enough to drive any sane woman into the sterilized arms of the plastic surgeon.
At the end of the day, beauty is all a social construction. Natural beauty emphasizes health and the look many women are going for is decidedly very unhealthy. Women who have silicone implants, tend to have silicone elsewhere in their bloodstream, bacteria accumulates and festers in the implants, ruptures of implants occur. There’s nothing natural about that.
Also natural beauty fades. Before the booming business of plastic surgery, people would age with grace. Now that is the last thing they want to do! Age that is. According to the media, ageing is the arch enemy, every woman’s new found nemesis. An article by the Guardian discussed the “year-zero face.” This discusses how older women have the age 36 as their ideal. The surprising thing is, so do younger women! Youthful celebrities in their 20’s now want to look “done.” They want to have a fake shimmer about them, a touch of the unnatural. This botoxed look has become so normalised that even youngsters are clamouring for it. The point of botox, to un-crease a few wrinkles around the eyes, has been completely lost. Everyone wants it now. Lindsay Lohan, who is mentioned in the article, got surgery done at 23 and ended up with an ageless face. With her fillers, botox and collagen she actually looks older, approximately 36. There is also “preventative ageing”, something for teens to invest in. The end result will be we all look like clones of one another.
Misogynistic views of women are taking over and women themselves are diving head on into the trap. Feminism, which was supposed to be a haven of security for women, has actually been more favourable towards men. After all what pleasure can a woman get from kissing a man when her lips are botoxed to the extent that she has lost all sensory feeling? Tell me she did that for herself.
Podcast on plastic surgery in Lebanon and the U.S.:
Greer, G. (1999). The Whole Woman. UK: Black Swan.
LeWelsh. (2011). Plastic Surgery. Retrieved May 11, 2013, fromhttp://lewelsch.deviantart.com/art/Plastic-Surgery-255882443
Wiseman, E. (January 16, 2011). The year-zero face: is 36 the perfect age for a woman? The Guardian. Retrieved May 9, 2013, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/16/year-zero-face-plastic-surgery?INTCMP=SRCH
Are Lebanese women afraid of being natural? (2011, December 27). NOW. Retrieved from https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/reportsfeatures/are_lebanese_women_
Atiyeh, B. S., Rubeiz, M., T., & Hayek, S., N. (2008). Aesthetic/Cosmetic surgery and ethical challenges. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 32 (6), 829-839. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00266-008-9246-3?LI=true#
Berer, M. (2010). Cosmetic surgery, body image and sexuality. Reproductive Health Matters, 18 (35), 4-10. Retrieved from http://www.rhmjournal.org.uk/
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Emma Plunkett (2011, August 1). Christina Aguilera- Beautiful lyrics. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3jcvgdbvo8
Helm, B. (2008, May 7). Surprise! Doves “Campaign for Real Beauty” ads actually kind of fake. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2008/05/surprise_doves.html
Howard, T. (2005, July 7). Ad campaigns tell women to celebrate who they are. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/advertising
Markey, C., N., & Markey, P., M. (2012). Emerging adult’s response to a media presentation of idealized female beauty: An examination of cosmetic surgery in reality television. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1 (4), 209- 219. doi: 10.1037/a0027869
Slevec, J., & Tiggemann, M. (2010). Attitudes toward cosmetic surgery in middle-aged women: body image, aging anxiety, and the media. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34 (1), 65-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2009.01542.x
Vcoderzdotcom (2009, September 19). CNN: Lebanon borrows for beauty. Retrieved January 11, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=
VOAVideo (2010, July 6). Cosmetic surgery booming industry in Lebanon. Retrieved January 11, 2013, from http://lynn.libguides.com/content.php?pid=47000&sid