Hollywood is giving plastic surgery a bad rep. There is even an Anti-Plastic Surgery Alliance! (http://jezebel.com/5831756/kate-winslet-rachel-weisz-and-emma-thompson-form-anti+plastic-surgery-alliance)
I have had an intrepid foray behind enemy lines. Indeed I have aided and comforted the enemy. And I have come out the other side, on their side.
I will now duck for a moment for any flying objects thrown my way.
Are you done? Yes? No? Oh well, I will simply go on using the internet anonymity as a shield.
My reasons are theoretical as well as compassionate. There are other things we should be spending money on, such as starving children, etc. This is a super important objection. One that I cannot begin to deal with at an everyday level, let alone here. (Please read How to Save a Life by Peter Singer.) But I think it is significant that this is hardly ever the objection cited. Rather, it is women’s objectification that is at moot most often. So: my arguments should be taken as theoretical, in the sense that I do not find plastic surgery uniformly wrong, not that there are no greater need for our resources and efforts elsewhere. Put your armchair philosopher hat on.
Women are objectified. Men are objectified. People are objectified. Objects are objectified. (OMG, say it like Yoda with me: “objectified, are women; objectified, are men”, etc.)
This is bad. I agree. But mostly what I saw in hospitals was not some vacuous woman patient and snake-oil-selling doctor. It was mostly breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer, or cleft palate repair. And we would hardly be against this. It was heart breaking to see these woman and children. They were incredibly brave and surprisingly positive people, who were just dealt a bad hand by life and won. And the surgeons were the same ones who went to Africa or Fiji to do the same thing for cost.
After that, it is a matter of degrees, is it not? How can we judge what people have gone through because of their appearance? I think I am extra sympathetic because (I am butt ugly and) I look Asian. I never get to reveal that part of myself. People always assume that I am an immigrant. I have talked to Caucasian immigrants who do not have the same problem. It can be terrifyingly isolating (still looking for job, y’all). People assume that I am speaking a “funny” language when I am speaking perfectly good English. (Yes, English is a funny language. But more on that later.) When I look after a Caucasian child, people look at me sideways. (I did not kidnap him. I was simply trying to forestall tantrums with candy.)
I have also seen woman who received plastic surgery for beauty reasons. That is, not to fix a gross “deformity” per se, but to normalise a body part. Woman with disproportionately large bum (no, really, it was striking – she was very skinny, but had children). Another with sagging face, who was in her twenties. I think we should feel compassionate rather than judgemental.
Medicine is a science. Science, by definition, is always advancing new ideas and ways of doing. One thing builds up to others, and sometimes in surprising ways. All the plastic surgeries of the past have helped to refine procedures for people who really do need it.
So why the blanket hate? Love, people.
Again, with love,