Teen Cosmetic Surgery

By , Hartville, OH
What do you see when you flip through a magazine or watch television? The pretty faces of actors, actresses and models grace the cover of every magazine, and star in every movie, TV show and commercial. They surround us, whether we notice it or not. They unknowingly redefine the word “beautiful” to only describe outward appearances. This emphasis on looks causes teenage girls and boys to want to change their faces and bodies. A number of them turn to plastic surgery to achieve their “perfect”-selves. The media’s portrayal of “flawless” causes more teens to compare themselves and seek the means for cosmetic surgery, but they often fail to comprehend or stop to consider the risks, even though it is something they desperately need to do first.

Our world today is extremely reliant on the media; we use it all the time to communicate and learn. Stories and advertisements of quick-fixes for “imperfections”, such as crooked noses or oversized ears, fill websites and commercials. Along with the exaggeration of the importance of appearance, impressionable teens come to the conclusion that it is necessary to be good-looking in order to be happy. Teenagers view plastic surgery as an easy solution. Dr. Little, a practicing plastic surgeon, states that this notion originates from the “media-generated electronic bombardment of images of idealized proportions”. Our teenage years are when we start to discover ourselves, and pressure to fit in fuels us to strive to grow up faster and be better. It’s like a race where the ones who reach a higher self-esteem first win. Teenagers are under the impression that being more attractive means a more fulfilling life. Girls idolize models with twig-like bodies, long legs, blemish-free skin and beautiful faces, and they have no choice but to look in the mirror and compare themselves (Hunker). Ironically, these models also have insecurities and most of the pictures in magazines are perfected with computers. Further contributing to teenagers’ desires for change are television shows such as “Extreme Makeover”, “The Swan” and “I Want a Famous Face”, which chronicles peoples’ makeovers via plastic surgery. Shows like these glorify cosmetic surgery and compel teens to believe it is the answer to their self-confidence problems (Boodmar).

The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons have found that the amount of surgeries performed on minors doubled from approximately 13,000 in 1992 to 25,000 in 1998 (Hunker). This number includes the teens that ask for and receive liposuction, rhinoplasty or implants as birthday or graduation gifts (Wansbrough). Most of us look at this and think, “ How do parents even allow it?”. However, parents do play a large role in their teens choosing plastic surgery. Teenagers hear about and see it more because of parents who have gone under the knife for cosmetic purposes as well. Numerous doctors have reports of a mother bringing in her child after her own positive experience (Hunker). Dr. Allen Rosen, a plastic surgeon in Bloomsfield, NJ, tells a story of one of his patients, a petite woman who was unhappy with her tummy. She received liposuction and was satisfied with the results. Now, she has a 13 year old daughter with the same problem and wants to bring her in for the same procedure. Her daughter is only 13! What opinion are teens supposed to form about cosmetic surgery other than, “It is acceptable,” when the parents themselves advocate it? Teens are also finding more and more surgeons willing to operate on them despite their age. They are highly influenced by the incorrect belief that looks matter most and by the fact that society is viewing teen cosmetic surgery less and less of a taboo.

Like any other surgery, plastic surgery has risks. Physical dangers include terrible side effects, complications during procedure, scarring, and in rare cases, death (“So you want Famous Face?”). The risk in teens is higher than in adults because their bodies are still developing, and surgery might interfere with how they grow. A procedure on the face could even result in nerve damage and in turn, paralysis (“Cons of Plastic Surgery”). Different bodies of different individuals could lead to unexpected reactions, such as infections and other illnesses. Cosmetic surgery includes non-physical risks as well. How many times have you seen a picture of a fake looking celebrity with the caption “Plastic surgery gone wrong”? The pictures often show scars or barbie-looking features, for which the celebrity is ridiculed. If your cosmetic surgery went wrong, the result would not be more happiness, but rather more misery.

Consider this if you are a teenager thinking about receiving plastic surgery. It is a sign of weakness. It signifies that you are not confident enough to believe in the way you are naturally created. It also defeats the idea of individuality. Let’s say someone complimented you on how flat your tummy is, on which you had liposuction done. Wouldn’t you be more proud if you had done the exercise and hard work yourself? If someone complimented on your nose job, wouldn’t you feel embarrassed than you actually had to get one? Why be proud of a feature if it isn’t yours?

Teenagers’ perceptions of cosmetic surgery are skewed due to the media; however, America is seeing a rise in the number of impulsive teens itching to get a new look, mostly without thinking about the cons involved. My hope is that we will see the amount of teen cosmetic surgeries decrease. Parents should encourage kids to be appreciative and see themselves as beautiful the way they are. It is cliche, but the saying, “Beauty is from within” rings true. A lowering in the number of plastic surgeries performed on minors would prove a less materialistic society. “Gorgeous” should describe the people who live life as themselves, not who they want to be.





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Pumpkinscout said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm
I agree lastic surgery is a scary trend and peope who get it usually don't look real...
 
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