Cosmetic Surgery for the Sake of Approval

Cosmetic Surgery for the Sake of Approval

Women, especially models and actresses, are known to be willing patrons of cosmetic surgery. Hollywood is cruel toward the aging process, and the cameras do not lie. There are just so many tricks photography, lighting and makeup can do until one must go under the knife. Actresses over the age of forty are the biggest patrons of plastic surgery, dermabrasion, eye lifts, butt lifts, and total reconstructive facial surgery. Age, as Hollywood defines it, is based upon how well a woman appears. If an actress can afford to have a lot of good cosmetic surgery, then her position in Hollywood is kept open. 

Such motivation is not reserved for actresses or models alone. Today, the value of looking youthful, perfect and beautiful has transcended from Hollywood and the fashion runway deep into the Western psyche. A woman’s appearance is so connected to her sense of self-worth that many are obsessed with their looks. Literally millions of Western women have had silicone breast implants in order to enhance their self-esteem and attention from men. However, they are now paying a high price, as often times the implants leak cancer-causing silicone into the body. The possibility of the implants rupturing from over stimulation interferes with the sexuality of some women. Often times an implant recipient will undergo second and third surgeries to correct swelling problems, infections and other difficulties. “Virtually all silicone implants, including those with their shells intact, ‘bleed’ silicone into the body,” the Food and Drug Administration tells us thirty years too late, after the first implants were made.[1] More alarmingly, the FDA’s updates state that 10% of women who had silicone implants received a kind that has a coating of polyurethane foam. This coating commonly breaks down and releases a by product element called TDA. TDA has been proven to cause cancer in test animals, and more importantly, has been detected in the breast milk of these implant patients. The health threat to the infants who drink the milk is currently unknown.[2]

Western culture is saturated with media messages that promote the value of women in terms of their body image, shape, beauty and age. Youthfulness rates high in such a culture. What is interesting is that these same values hardly exist for men. It does not matter how old a man becomes; he is still appreciated and valued for who he is. It is his personality, accomplishments, and moral stance that is looked at and admired. Women, however, are constantly bombarded by media messages that tell them they must fight the aging process. They frequent the cosmetic departments looking at all the anti-aging, anti-wrinkling gimmicks in hopes of finding a cure. What they end up with is a small, one ounce jar that is outrageously expensive, the price of which they gladly pay. While medical sciences do not emphasize enough the danger of sun exposure and the importance of a good diet, the cosmetic industry makes a killing off the Western woman’s low self-esteem. Beauty, even if fake, temporary, expensive, or a health risk, is the ultimate aim.

This imaging has affected women more deeply than most realize. It has not only lowered the average woman’s self-esteem, it has also affected the way women perceive motherhood. When women are valued according to their outer appearance, then pregnancy itself places a great burden on a woman’s mental state. She is going to gain weight, and her youthful breasts and hip sizes are going to change too, sometimes leaving her with stretch marks in both areas. Motherhood is definitely not portrayed by the media as a glamorous position either. Numerous television shows, commercials and movie themes impress upon the woman’s mind that women who stay home with children become fat and sloppy. It warns women of the time-consuming demands of motherhood and makes women feel they are going to be giving up too much in return for a family. In this way the system tells young women that being a working woman is much more gratifying, so many women are marrying at much older ages and having their first child after thirty.

[Women’s Ideal Liberation: Islamic Versus Western Understanding by Rukaiyah Hill Abdulsalam, p. 113-115]


[1] Women Pay More (and How to Put a Stop to It), p. 40.

[2] Ibid., p. 41.

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