Implants and Image

I woke up from my Percocet nap this afternoon to a facebook post that almost made me cry. A friend was wondering why women are supposed to lift each other up unless they’ve had plastic surgery and then we’re supposed to shame them. A few other girls commented that they would love to do surgery and one mentioned saving up for it.

I posted a truncated version of what I’m about to put here – including the statement that I am recovering currently from my own augmentation surgery.

First, let’s talk about image. As a woman who works outside my home in a professional setting, I am encouraged to not just have a neat and clean image, but to add polish by having my hair and make up done. Think about the advertisement, “maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s maybelline.” The whole idea behind make up and the female image is that we aren’t presentable without it. In this regard, society has no problem telling a woman she should alter her natural appearance.

Now, I like wearing make up. I like having shimmering eyelids and well defined eyebrows. Just like I like dying my hair and either curling or straightening it. I don’t feel like I have to do this every day, I have a husband who tells me I’m beautiful the way I am, so I feel pretty well adjusted and healthy in my relationship with makeup. But that doesn’t change the fact that women are told from a young age that they need this product to make them more attractive and, in some cases, presentable for work conditions.

Second, let’s talk diet and exercise. Here’s another socially acceptable way to tell men and women to alter their appearances. Slim down your waist, bulk up your shoulders, arms, and chest, and never skip legs day. Count calories, eat this and not that, here’s how to drop ten pounds in just two weeks. The litany is unending.

Now, it happens that I actually like to work out. The endorphin high for me is phenomenal and makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. I hate dieting though. I like fried foods some days. I like salads other days. What I really like is being able to eat what I want in moderation and not think in terms of what I can and can’t have. Food is more than fuel for me – it’s something to enjoy and delight in.

Why are these means of altering one’s appearance deemed ok to do and to encourage others to do? More, why are things like plastic surgery treated as such anathema? I can’t diet and exercise my way to larger breasts. I can’t highlight and contour my way to more cleavage. But I can go out and get implants.

I wish society would butt out. I don’t need to be told that I have to wear make up to be presentable. No one deserves to be told they need to lose weight or tone up to be considered attractive. And no one deserves to be shamed for having plastic surgery.

I don’t need an excuse for having it either. This wasn’t a reconstruction from having any cancer removed. This wasn’t me hating my body and having no self esteem. This was me wanting larger breasts. Nothing more, nothing less. Haha, definitely nothing less.

I wish we would all be kinder to each other. I wish we would look at women and mean it when we tell them that they don’t need make up to be beautiful, but to wear it if it makes them happy. I wish we would tell men and women alike that being healthy is a great goal, but that they don’t need to weigh a certain amount to be considered acceptable, attractive, or what have you. I wish we would tell people having plastic surgery to do what makes them happy. I wish we would tell everyone that. As it harms none, do as you will.

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About texancountess

I find myself in the calming roar of the sea, floating gently on the foam of the breaking waves. Blue. Green. Gray. The colors of the sea mark the boundaries of my soul. The tumbled glass finds its polish under the relentless pounding of the waves upon the shore. Thus am I. Rough transitioning to polish, refinement ever a process, finding my niche in the storms of life.
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4 Responses to Implants and Image

  1. Alison V. says:

    I very much agree that we should not shame each other because of our appearances.

    But my question to anyone who gets plastic surgery to make themselves happy, wears make up because they like it, or any other appearance changing process, is ‘if society didn’t have the standards of beauty that it does, would you still do it?’.

    Our society has created the image of the “perfect” woman…and it includes larger breasts. Without that social context to apply to our standard of beauty, I don’t think anyone would spontaneously think “I wish I had bigger boobs”. Or even, “I wish I had more defined eyebrows”.

    • Society has a lot of images and standards that it has created that people buy into.

      Marriage/home ownership/children is a common life progression – why? Because it’s a standard story set by society. Going against that flow whether by remaining single, renting, or not having children receives push back because it doesnt go with societal standards.

      To stick with the more superficial, what about shaving your legs or armpits? Those are both standards of society that are not hygenically necessary but are aesthetically expected. Would you ask a person if they wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a standard for doing it? Or do you accept this standard?

      What about wearing heels? It’s a beauty standard that can cause harm physically, but is done because of it’s aesthetic appeal. Would you question someone who chooses to wear heels?

      While this might be a good and important conversation to have, I think it’s more important to realize that society has standards for everything. Everything we do involves interacting with those expectations. My point is that people need to let others inteact with society and its standards on their own terms. As it harms none, do as you will. No shaming, no questions.

      • Alison V. says:

        I completely agree! I think my comment was taken the wrong way, it was not meant to be a judgement on anyone choosing to follow or not follow the beauty standards of our society. It is just a topic that I had been thinking about recently (in regards to all standards of beauty that I do myself; shaving, makeup, heels, etc.) and your wording of ‘I like wearing makeup’ for yourself, made me think of it. The idea that nothing we do is in a vacuum…nobody wakes up and thinks, hummm, I think it would be fun to glue some plastic hair to my eyelids lol.

        But your overall point of not shaming or judging others is very needed in our society!

    • amireallyme says:

      So long as humans have had societies, there have been standards of beauty. Those standards vary depending on the point in history and location in the world.

      I think your questions illustrate K’s point very well. There’s a backlash against doing what you want because people see it as trying to conform in an “unnatural” way, and that very backlash is what made her so nervous about doing it. She knew she wanted to do it. She wasn’t nervous about what she thought about it since she already knew that. She was worried about what others thought about it. Those “others” weren’t people who agree with society’s image of the perfect woman. They were those who see what she chose as being “wrong” or “conforming”.

      (Just as a note: this is coming from someone who doesn’t wear makeup, wears jeans and a t-shirt to wherever she can, and qualifies for and plans to do a medical reduction.)

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