In this day and age, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know who the Kardashians are. While people’s perceptions of them may vary, it goes without saying that their massive influence on pop culture and fashion has determined their place as one of the most powerful families in the country, even regaled by some to be equivalent to America’s modern day royal family. But beyond their designer clothes and 24-karat accessories, their most prominent influence has long lain elsewhere: in their surgical enhancements.
For decades, there has been a huge stigma surrounding plastic surgery, and it was no different when the Kardashians began to receive their own procedures. Hateful speech was constantly slung their way, calling them “plastic,” “fake,” and so on. Each time a member of the family stepped out in public, before-and-after photos showed up on social media, picking apart areas of their faces or bodies that had looked slightly different the day before. They were placed under a microscope, the world closely scrutinizing and ridiculing them for doing things they wanted to do to their own bodies, looking the other way when it was hinted that their procedures were the result of society’s ceaseless mocking at the parts that weren’t deemed perfect.
But people banded together in defense of plastic surgery and the Kardashians, declaring “Who the hell cares?” And it’s true. What someone wants to do with their own body is nobody else’s business, and I wholeheartedly agree. Thus, in just a couple of years, the Kardashians single-handedly changed the face of plastic surgery, resulting in a new era where people no longer felt ashamed for deciding to go under the knife.
Any type of movement that calls for people to not judge others in any way is one that I can fully get behind. However, with the rise of mental illnesses as a consequence of social media and young girls constantly comparing themselves to celebrities, there has been a huge ramification of the pro-plastic surgery objective that we have failed to spot. Now, rather than learning to love and accept the features you were born with, it is becoming easier to simply save up for a procedure that will change your physical features to your liking.
These days, numbers are showing a higher demand for plastic surgery in increasingly younger demographics. Teenagers across the world are being gifted surgical procedures for special occasions; a common birthday present in South Korea is receiving double-eyelid surgery. With the frequency in which certain procedures are being done, many seem to have forgotten that while plastic surgery may be less invasive than other types of surgeries, it is still surgery, and it still has potentially fatal consequences.
Just to be clear, this article is not an attempt to take a stance against plastic surgery. Far from it, in fact. I don’t consider myself to be pro-plastic surgery, but that does not mean that I am anti-plastic surgery whatsoever. I am all for people doing whatever they want to their own bodies, as long as it’s healthy and safe and makes them happy. But while plastic surgery is not inherently bad, it is crucial, especially in a time where everything is accessible for younger, impressionable adolescents, that we understand and accept that in most cases, deciding to go under the knife comes from an unconscious desire to conform to society’s acceptable standards of beauty.
Am I saying that getting plastic surgery means you don’t love yourself? Absolutely not. Am I saying that I will never get plastic surgery done on myself? Maybe. Maybe not. The only reason I emphasize this distinction that comes with being “pro”- plastic surgery is because while we should definitely get rid of the stigma surrounding it, plastic surgery is also not something that we should be advocating as the answer to solve all our self-esteem problems. With this objective, people are unconsciously pushing the dangerous sentiment to adolescents scrolling through social media that the only way they will ever be able to accept themselves, flaws and all, is by getting procedures done to “fix” them.
Filler and other procedures can, without a doubt, be considered a form of self-love. But in the lobbying to remove the stigma around these procedures, we have all forgotten the most important thing: plastic surgery is by no means the only answer.