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The Changing ‘face’ of Fashion: Surgery for Need or Vanity?

As a female student myself, I am aware that image and the way you look plays a crucial role within society and fitting in. But a distorted body image is one of the main precursors to mental health disorders in young adolescents and females are particularly vulnerable. Living away from home can be a lonely experience for some young people attending university and implicit messages are sent that portray a ‘perfect’ body. Makeup and clothes bought out of student loans can compromise an individual’s budget leaving them short for essentials like food. Added pressures on top of this are presented primarily through the fashion industry via media and various advertisements, leading to unreal standards of beauty to be attained at any cost. Young celebrities such as Kylie Jenner are adding to the growing demand for drastic cosmetic procedures. Her #LipKitByKylie even sold out in 30 seconds, reflecting her mass following. The impact of fashion magazines and Kylie’s lip surgery has influenced body shape and look dissatisfaction.

Image From: Kylie Jenner’s Instagram 

Society values beauty and teenagers see fashion icons as role models. One has to look a certain way to fit in, but has the desire from these influences gone too far? It seems that any surgical procedure can be requested and there are no limits or bars held on the size or enhancement ‘add on’! With the right amount of money being paid for these operations, how are they being paid for? Young students could be in danger in this vain society of entering into inappropriate transactions, jobs or even crime to raise the funds for surgery. Young women continue to feel insecure with media expectation to get the ‘flawless body’, crossing the limits and wanting to have bigger lips, enhanced boobs and bums. I question why? And how much is too much or necessary? Should certain procedures be state funded and operations be allocated ‘Willy-nilly’ unless a person has for example obvious facial or bodily deformities for which surgery would greatly improve self-esteem.

I have Hypodontia, a condition where an individual is born with a number of second teeth missing usually up to six, affecting less that one per cent of the UK population. I had eight missing in total, and this entitled me to have necessary treatment on the NHS involving painful hip grafting. Also afflicted with Scoliosis, curvature of the spine, I have been offered corrective surgery. This is a continuing quandary for me as I do suffer pain, however to date I choose to live with my condition, embracing who I am. Happiness can be achieved, but not always through surgery. We are all valuable human beings who should respect one another for what we have on the inside and leave the celebs to spend all their money on stretching their faces, blowing up their lips and pumping up their bums for us to have a crafty laugh over. We should spend our loans wisely and become the future professionals with scalpels to boot offering the poor souls a change of look for the next season! On a serious note, we need to celebrate our differences instead of trying to erase them. I believe unless it is absolutely necessary, young people should be discouraged from surgery and instead look to figureheads, like Katie Piper to help them to re-assess their self-worth. Ideals should not be constantly placed in the faces of impressionable young people. The fashion industry needs to take responsibility for the distorted messages they are continually portraying to vulnerable, impressionable young people and be reassured that the rest of us will continue to resist the persuasion to look like unrecognizable plastic dolls!

Photo taken by Katie Jayne: Lizzie feels confident in her own skin.

Lizzie Bailey is a Cornish-born student who enjoys working within a team. She has previous experience working on the Fashion Desk at Heat Magazine. She particularly likes breaking the latest local news and working on social media. She is a passion-fuelled writer and an advocate for writing about things she loves and is interested in. She is also a huge fan of Krispy Kreme donuts and will always be found eating something within the newsroom. Follow Lizzie for more content: @lizziebailey_
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