Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But even like art, beauty is subjective. If you ask anyone in the world to change anything about their appearance, there would always be one thing they want.
In a society where dating apps are used to look for eye candy and where looks can sometimes be more important than personality, I am someone who always feels conscious about the way I look and present myself to others.
There are standards I never realized how desperately I try to attain, not for myself but other people’s validation.
Nowadays “beauty” is conforming to unattainable standards. Standards that make you want to visually revamp yourself from head to toe.
Growing up in this kind of society, I was always hyperaware of what I looked like. The first time I felt ugly was seeing a video of myself from a bad angle in the eighth grade for an in-class project. That’s when my internalized hate for myself began.
When I was little, many women in my family had stories about going under the knife for procedures to––and I quote––“fix” their appearances. Like generational trauma, this was something passed down by every woman in my family.
As a child, I could never imagine what needed fixing or why someone would want to do that to themselves, but as those influences around me grew, so did my hatred for the way my nose drooped.
Honestly, there was nothing physically wrong with me. I’m lucky, however, that wasn’t enough. Growing up, the societal pressures of plastic surgery impacted me so strongly that I felt I could never fit the Eurocentric beauty standards. For a long time, having South Asian features hurt my soul to the point that I would move the earth itself to have it fixed. It might have also been the influence that ex-boyfriends had when they told me I wasn’t the type of girl they pursued as I’m too ethnic for their standards.
On March 15, Vogue Magazine released a cover and feature about supermodel Bella Hadid. Many revelations inside the magazine aside, the one that shocked me to my core was the paragraph of Hadid mentioning she thought she was the ugly sister and how she regretted her plastic surgery procedure. The line read:
“When Bella was 14, she had a nose job. It’s a decision she regrets.”Bella Hadid for Vogue Magazine
I love watching YouTube videos about which celebrities have had plastic surgery and which have not. I wasn’t surprised Bella Hadid had some work done, but at 14? That’s such a young and influential age.
The farthest I’ve ever gotten to almost getting a nose job was contacting an assistant to a famous doctor in Turkey for prices and dates. Doing that made me feel so stupid; I was changing the part of my face that made me different just to look like everyone else.
As much as I joke inside about changing my nose shape or asking a friend to punch me in the face so I can be covered by insurance, the women in the past, with aquiline and bulbous noses, cry. Sometimes I can feel them stare back at me on days when I feel like my nose shape is ugly. In the article, Hadid said,
“I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors, I think I would have grown into it.”Bella Hadid for Vogue Magazine
Following the release of Hadid’s article, I realized that I don’t want a nose job, no matter how much my desire runs deep. Unfollowing many famous plastic surgery comparison pages and famous doctors, I felt a sense of stress and hate lifted from my shoulders. The fact that a supermodel can regret her nose job and that one day, I could be in the same boat, makes me sick to the core. I choose to not put my body through something like surgery not only for myself but for my daughter who I will raise to appreciate the history of her humped nose.
I don’t care if you’ve had a nose job in the past or if it is something you are considering; plastic surgery is a personal decision. But this story is about how I will not do that to myself and how I will embrace my ancestors and pridefully acknowledge the features that make me unique. This is my nose and my story of how I changed the way I look at myself.