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The Modern Barbie
Western eye surgery. Rhinoplasty. Augmentation. Liposuction. They are all correctional surgeries of the modern world, and open to the adults of the modern age. The law refers to “adults” as age 18 or older. In plastic surgery terms, adults should be considered anyone who is physically able, mature, and ready for risks of such reconstructive procedures. Only in specific circumstances should cosmetic surgery be done on those under 18. Plastic surgery should be done without age limit after the surgeon analyzes his or her patient, and the patient should be ready for the risks.
In our generation, outer appearance and self-worth is crucial to us, especially with “first impressions”. Sometimes, teens do not like one part of their body, which can lead them to not like their whole body entirely. Most teens have an ideal image of themselves in their head, and they want to have that image. Most of the time, they cannot change it by just fixing their hair. They have to get a permanent fix.
Self-image often comes from influences, and sometimes from attacks from friends or family. Ever heard that a child’s memory lasts forever? Survey shows that some young children know what pretty looks like. Similarly, Valerie McAllister, 39, tells her daughters that they shouldn’t be worried about their looks. Yet, she always whines about how her body could look better. She remembers that at 3, a relative called her “black, fat, and ugly”. She had thought she was beautiful, because her mom and her aunt were beautiful, and she looked like smaller versions of them (Smith 1). Along with family, celebrities can also change how people look at themselves and their bodies. Because they make so much money, we think that looking like them is good. In 1950, the beautiful Marilyn Monroe became the ideal woman’s body (Timeline 1). Then, in 1959, Barbie is released, “unrealistic body proportions” and all (Timeline 1). We also see celebrities, such as Ashlee Simpson and Ashley Tisdale, get plastic surgery. Soon after, the nose job count rose, almost triple, to 3,000 that year (Whitaker 1).
Plastic surgery is considered by teens as “a quick fix for old flaws, and with it you can change almost anything” (Whitaker 1). Oddly, sometimes, even males, such as Bhanu Singh got a ‘moob’ job’ (male breast correction), saving himself from ridicule in college (First Date 1). Cate Brecht also got a breast reduction to save herself from ridicule from boys and other friends (Isger 1).
While plastic surgery seems great, there are many risks. Plastic surgery is dangerous and can be very fatal to health and growth. In fact, Australia and Germany are considering banning “all but necessary” plastic surgeries for anyone under 18 (Ali, Lam 1). When teens think about getting plastic surgery, they do not always understand that it can possibly damage their growth. However, there are also deathly results in cosmetic surgery. Stephanie Kubela, 18, got surgery to correct inverted nipples and asymmetry, and died on the operating table (Brochu 1).
Cosmetic surgeries can sometimes be needed in order to make a patient look “normal”. “Sad Scott” quickly became “Glad Scott” after his parents got him plastic surgery to fix his abnormally large ears (Brochu 1). Another child, Ryan Cunningham, was born without his outer ear. Regardless, he had perfect hearing. His parents also got him otoplasty after a friend mentioned the ear-less characteristic. Cunningham has been thanking his parents ever since (Marcus 1). A sad story of a little girl rang through the ears of many as they contemplated whether to completely ban all juvenile breast reduction surgeries. Cate Brecht had to deal with comments about her big breasts for all of elementary, middle, and high school. In fifth grade, she maintained an E-cup. Everyone would make bra stuffing jokes. Her boobs would prevent her from comfortably doing physical activity, shopping in average stores, and having a normal conversation with a guy. She decided to shrink “the girls” when she was 20 (Isger 1).
Another man, Dallas C. Wiens of Texas, needs a different kind of plastic surgery. Wiens got his face burned off after an electrical accident. He lost his eyes, lips, ears, nose, teeth, and he is unable to use any of the senses in his face. He lies in a chair every day, waiting for hope that he may be able to see or smell or taste again. The only way for that to happen is for Dallas to get a face transplant. Dr. Jeffery Janis told Dallas about this option. Only 12 have ever been performed in the world. He has to be cleared by the Department of Defense, and then they will pay for the surgery. The risks are that Wiens’ body might reject the face, and that he still won’t have any feeling in his face for a while (Stengle 1).
Other than health reason, plastic surgery is widely used for esteem reasons, and is sometimes prescribed. Breast enhancements are usually terrible for the health of a girl under 18, because they haven’t finished growing. However, Dr. Claudio De Lorenzi did something quite rare- give a B cup to an A cup 15-yr old. Her psychiatrist said that her emotional problems stemmed from her appearance. She is now happy and not as emotional. She looked different after surgery, but the best part was her self-esteem sky-rocketed. Lorenzi doesn’t regret doing that specific surgery at all (Girls Under Knife 1).
Aside from esteem, patients normally get reconstructive operations to make them feel more confident about themself as a whole. Jessica Cruz, 19, bought a new nose because of her lack of bridge. This lacking prevented her from wearing sunglasses, preferably the Jessica Alba type. Once the summer after her rhinoplasty came, she couldn’t have been happier (Kelly 1). Kate, whose last name will go unmentioned, was always self-concious about her calves. She convinced her parents to get liposuction on her calves. Now, she doesn’t refuse to wear capris and shorts, because she’s not ashamed (Marcus 1).
Good plastic surgeons, such as Dr. David Shuter or Dr. John Canady, follow a process that can help them decide if this person is right for plastic surgery. Because teens change their mind from day-to-day, as to what they want to wear or want to look like, responsible doctors make sure that this decision is a safe and final one (Ulene 1). The process helps eliminate the feeling of requirement because of friends or family (Ulene 1). First, Cadeny tries to dissuade some patients from having the surgery, but not denying them completely (Ulene 1). On the other hand, Shuter has no problem rejecting a patient because he sees the health risks ahead of time (Brochu 1). Then, only after the patient is cleared of body dysmorphic disorder, the doctor will continue on to surgery (Ulene 1). Parents tend to not like to be questioned by the surgeon about their child’s health or whether anything has influenced this situation (Ulene 1). Although, But a lot of the time, parents don’t like the constant questions from the surgeon. Once all is completely, only then should a teen be admitted to surgery.
Plastic surgery can be a risk in a teenager’s life. At the same time, it can change one’s life. Taking it away would be crucial to some, and painfully devastating to others. The age limit of this procedure should not be a limit, just a guideline. The world revolves around new things coming and going, and plastic surgery is going to be one of them. Plastic surgery is a good thing and should be used as a self-esteem booster, and as long as they are ready, very beneficial.
Ali, Kaitlyn, and Tiffany Lam. "Teens Under the Knife." Current Events (Vol. 108, No. 1). 08 Sep 2008: 7. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Brochu, Nicole. "More Kids Undergoing Plastic Surgery." Sun-Sentinel. 14 Mar 2011: B.1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
"Girls Go Under Knife for Their First Date with DU." Mail Today. 30 Jun 2010: n.p. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Isger, Sonja. "Breast Reduction: The Other 'Boob' Job." Palm Beach Post. 31 Aug 2010: D.1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Jayson, Sharon. "Tweens Ponder Body Image." USA TODAY. 13 Oct 2009: B10. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Kelly, Deirdre. "The (Enhanced) Bloom of Youth." Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada). 19 Jun 2010: L.1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 01 May 2011.
Marcus, Mary Brophy. "What Children Will Do to Look 'Normal'." USA TODAY. 25 Jun 2009: A1+. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Miller Rubin, Bonnie. "Face Lift. Resume Boost?." Chicago Tribune. 26 Dec 2010: 1. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Smith, Tammie. "Body Image Can Be a Major Self-Esteem Concern." Richmond Times-Dispatch. 27 Jun 2010: n.p. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Stengle, Jamie. "Badly Burned Texas Man Waits for Face Transplant." Newsday. 19 Oct 2010: n.p. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 May 2011.
Ulene, Valerie. "Plastic Surgery for Teens: Too Soon?." Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA). 12 Jan 2009: F.4. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.
Whitaker, Barbara. "Cut to Fit." New York Times Upfront (Vol. 132, No. 12). 14 Feb 2000: 8-11. SIRS Researcher. Web. 25 Apr 2011.