Plastic Fantastic?

I just watched ‘Heidi’s Face’ on MTV.  I have a real issue with the rising trend of plastic surgery in younger women, and as such focused one aspect of my university final project on this issue.  Copied and pasted below, but I think there’s still a lot more to say on this issue.  More to follow

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be? Bigger boobs? Plumper lips? A smaller stomach? We all have body hang-ups, but how far would you go to get to a ‘perfect’ you?
Now, it’s easier than ever to have surgery to achieve ‘perfection,’ and what was once seen as a cure to ageing has become a pre- ventative, with more younger women chasing away the looks of life before they have even had a chance to occur.
In 2010, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), who represent one in three plastic surgeons, reported that over 35,000 procedures were performed by their members in the UK. This was almost a 7% increase on that of 2008, and 32,000 of the procedures were on women. None of these include surgeries that were done by members of other professional associations.
Breast augmentation, or enlargement surgeries have always proved to be the most popular, and last year was no different, with over 8,000 surgeries taking place. And if BAAPS only represents one in three plastic surgeons, this figure could increase as much as three- fold to get the full figure for the UK.
The attitude ‘why wait when you can fix the problem early’ has become increasingly common, but as with all surgeries, there are a number of risks involved, and all surgeries can prove to be life threatening.
Hills star Heidi Pratt hit the headlines recently as the 23-year-old confessed to having 10 plastic surgeries in a one day ‘surgery-a-thon.’ The naturally beautiful blonde bombshell admitted that the surgeries included a mini-brow lift, liposuction and surgery to pin her ears back, along with revisions to previous surgery on her breasts.
The faux reality star said that the surgery she had made her feel as if she had had an upgrade and she described her new look as ‘the best me.’
The starlet also admitted that she is ‘beyond obsessed’ with plastic surgery.  Montag’s co-stars on MTV’s ‘The Hills’ met her decision to have ten surgeries in one day with scepticism. Audrina Patridge, who has also had a breast augmentation operation was reported to comment that 10 surgeries in one day was ‘a little too much,’ whilst Lo Bosworth said:
“I hope that girls don’t look at the decisions that Heidi made, and think that’s normal.”
But Heidi isn’t the only young woman choosing plastic surgery to enhance their god-given looks. I spoke to two young women, both of whom had surgery on their breasts, for entirely different reasons. Laura*, 24, a hairdresser from Yorkshire explained that she chose to have breast augmentation surgery after she lost three stone in weight: “I’d never really been happy with my boobs, and losing weight just made them worse. I felt like they were just empty. I used to hate the feeling of not wearing a bra and would even keep it on while I was sleeping or during sex.” “Before I had my surgery, I was a 36C, and though I know it wasn’t small, to me they looked like I had had a couple of kids, and I hated them. Now, I love them. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t look at them and smile.”
Laura explained that she felt under pressure to look a certain way, but said this wasn’t a reason for her choosing to have surgery:
“It’s so hard in our society. Everywhere you look there are perfect people, but when you look at real women, we are all the same, but all dierent shapes and sizes, but I had my opera- tion for me, and me alone.  I do think that the media play a big part in younger women hav- ing surgery. And I think that the fact it is so widely available now plays a big part too.”
Sarah*, a 20-year-old student from Darlington had her surgery in 2009 when she was 19, but Sarah had her surgery for very dierent reasons from Laura.
She explains: “At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with Poland Syndrome. This meant that the right side of my breast tissue did not develop equal to my left. When I was 18 I had my first surgery, where the surgeon moved a muscle from my back to the right side of my chest. A year later I had breast enlargement surgery on both sides to even them out.”
“I am very pleased with my operation. I had it done through the NHS so it did not cost me anything. I do not regret having the op- eration as it was something personal to me that I feel I had to do. Before, my social life seemed to be affected as I felt very self- conscious about my breasts.”
Sarah commented that though she feels young women are under pressure to look a certain way, much like Laura this wasn’t the reason for her surgery.
“I do feel some young women are pressured into looking a certain way and I’m sure this is why some girls decide to have a breast enlargement. If I did not have my diagnosis of Poland Syndrome I probably wouldn’t have had this operation. But as it is, it has been the best thing I have done as I finally feel confident with my body.”
Laura and Sarah also agreed on another thing. The increase of plastic surgery in young women is probably down to the media,
and coverage of celebrities having surgery:
“I think the increase of women having plastic surgery is really down to media coverage. They see stars everyday in the papers and on the TV having surgery and they think this is what ev- eryone does. It comes across as the normal thing to do, and it is so easy for young woman to make it possible. Surgery can now even be paid for in installments, it is far too easy for young girls to go ahead with it before even having time to think about it.”
These young women clearly present two very different cases for plastic surgery, and go some of the way to explain why some younger women are choosing to have plastic surgery. But the clear message from both girls, and several of the men we spoke to, is that they perceive that the media is to blame for the impression of perfection which they are projecting to the public and the rising trend of the celebrity is also to blame for the rise in plastic surgery.
So, ask yourself again. If you could change anything about yourself, would you? Why would you change it? And if you think the media are to blame, how can you challenge the image of perfec- tion they are providing? And then ask your friends and family, and you can guarantee that most will tell you that natural is beautiful, and plastic is not fantastic.

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