Evidence of some of the first cosmetic surgeries trace as far back to the ancient Egypt in 3000-2500 BC. By 800 BC, India had a common practice of reconstructive surgery and the techniques were spread across Arabia to most of Europe for generations to come. With new medical discoveries, the procedures evolved to be less painful, safer and with a significantly higher success rate. Knowing that this is a very old surgical practice, why is it that plastic surgery today still remains a taboo in most cultures?
Use but don’t abuse!
Perhaps the answer lies in modern day exposure to the media: a lot of celebrities have become the spokespeople for certain cosmetic procedures – whether as a positive or negative role model. It has become a widely accepted guessing game of ‘real or fake’ where we’re constantly bombarded with revealing and often raw images of surgeries-gone-wrong, some of which even resulted in death. With such exaggeration at hand, we cannot help but ask ourselves: when does it stop? Where do you draw the line between enhancing one’s natural features and creating Frankenstein?
Numbers don’t lie, so why would you?
According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s (ISAPS) statistical survey, more than 20 million cosmetic procedures have been done in the year 2014. Out of this total, about 52.34% were non-surgical procedures, while the rest were more invasive. This could basically mean that at least one person close to you has had some sort of treatment. So, why are people still reluctant to talk openly about it?
The answer may lie in the situation described above where plastic surgery is presented to us as a luxurious caprice of the wealthiest individuals. However, plastic surgery is viewed differently in Colombia and Brazil (ranked second) as compared to the United States (ranked first by the number of procedures done) and it is more widely available to people of all social and economic classes. In the Latin America, there is no stigma to having ‘had a little help’, rather there is more of criticism associated to not having surgery, or not taking advantage of the opportunity to ‘fix flaws’.
In Colombia, there is even a university program to provide free plastic surgery to the poorest residents of the city. Plastic surgery residents get practice and the low income residents get some of the most sought after procedures, such as: face lift surgery, liposuction, breast augmentations and buttock enhancement.
Cutting in deep – reasons for going under the knife
Beauty trends vary and we are witnesses of it progressively shifting from one ideal to the other in a short period of time. Some 20 years ago, hour-glass curves were still considered as a sex symbol trait, whereas today stick figure models dominate the runways and magazine covers. With such varying role model figures, it is not surprising that people tend to forget about the most important of all ideals – confidence.
So, if that hyaluronic injection makes your skin radiant, if that hair removal helps you feel at ease, if the breast reduction relieves your back pain, if the liposuction finally got you rid of the excess fat you couldn’t exercise off – if that helps you maintain a more positive and grateful image of yourself – I see no wrong in undergoing a cosmetic procedure. After all, they say that true beauty lies within us – it just has to shine through.