Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plastic Surgery and The Latter Day Puritans

After I have a baby, I'm getting liposuction. Phillip has agreed that this can be my reward for going through the trauma of pregnancy. I can already hear the judgement of certain people, as they tilt their heads and narrow their eyes and say "But isn't the BABY the reward for the trauma of pregnancy?" No. Liposuction is the reward.

Anyway, I've been surprised by the reactions I've received when I tell people this. Mostly, people have negative reactions. They all say things like "Well, you should really just do it with diet and exercise" or the much more vague "I would NEVER have liposuction". And this is in Southern California, where you would think people would be more open minded about going under the knife! After all, we are a very image-conscious society here.

Well, I've spent some time thinking about it, trying to understand their points of view. Here are my conclusions -

1) Some women are naturally pretty and just don't get it.

Some of the women who have criticized my decision are gorgeous. They have the kind of effortless, unthinking beauty that makes the rest of us hate ourselves and want to crawl in a hole an die, because we know we can never, ever compete with them. These are the women who could steal our men with a curl of their fingers, if they chose to do so.

And they say things like "Beauty is on the inside" and "I think you look fine". Emphasis on the "I". They mean to be kind. But the fact of the matter is, because of their beauty, they have no idea what it's like to be anything other than beautiful. They don't see that the less beautiful are often treated badly, simply because of how they look. It's just not in the realm of their experience.

Dear pretty girls - please don't tell other, less pretty girls not to get liposuction. No one will take your advice seriously, because you just don't get it.

2) Some people have bizarre puritan beliefs about punishment and sacrifice.

It seems like a lot of people oppose plastic surgery simply because it's "the easy way out" or because it's "cheating". They say things like "Nothing good comes without a lot of hard work" and "You have to fight for it!". These are the people who encourage me to do "exercise and diet" rather than liposuction.

Here is my response: Why? If there is an easy solution to the problem, then why shouldn't I employ that solution? Diet and exercise is great, especially for those who can't afford liposuction, but it's terribly inefficient. Do you have any idea how much time and effort it takes to lose weight that way? It consumes your every waking moment, and every thought in your head. You don't have time to devote to your hobbies, your friends, or anything other than exercising and not eating. You can't go to a restaurant with your husband and just enjoy yourself. You can't watch a movie, because that's two hours that should be spent exercising. It utterly consumes you, and strikes me as a pretty unhealthy way to live.

The Latter Day Puritans seem to think that wanting to be pretty, and being willing to have surgery in order to be pretty, is a sin. They don't call it a "sin", they call it "being lazy" or "being shallow". But it's the same thing. They think that you need to SUFFER for your sins. They think you need to PUNISH yourself with exercise and starvation so you DESERVE your beauty.

I call shenanigans. Everyone wants to look her best, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. And I don't feel that I should be punished for the fact that the 'roids have made me fat. I didn't gain my weight by being lazy, or through any moral failing on my part - so why should I have to work hard to lose the weight? Why should I be punished?

Everyone deserves to like how she looks. Even if she doesn't like to exercise or starve herself.

3) Some people have unrealistic ideas about plastic surgery.

This category includes my husband, who thinks having liposuction will lead to me booking multiple surgeries that will surely bankrupt us and make me look like a bag of hardened chemicals, or like a taxidermy project gone terribly wrong.

I think a lot of people look at images of Donatella Versace, Jennifer Garner, and that crazy cat lady and think that's what happens when you get plastic surgery. No. You have to have some pretty deep psychological problems to get so much surgery that you start to look creepy.

The fact of the matter is, most surgeries are done safely and well, with no problems. Can you go overboard with it? Sure. But most people don't. It's like saying you shouldn't have a glass of wine, because some people are alcoholics. It's like saying you shouldn't go to Las Vegas because of that one guy you know who has a gambling problem. I flatter myself that I have enough self control to stop after I get the lipo, just like I have enough self control to have a glass of wine and then stop.

Basically, I think people need to be less judgmental of those who choose to have liposuction or other cosmetic procedures. Like me. It might not be the right choice for you, and that's fine. But try to keep an open mind when someone tells you that she's considering it for herself. It's not necessarily because she's "lazy" or because she's "shallow". She's just a regular woman who wants to change her appearance, and doesn't feel that she should have to suffer because of it.


  1. “I think people need to be less judgmental of those who choose to have liposuction or other cosmetic procedures.” I agree with you wholeheartedly with regards to this statement. A lot of people only see it for vanity's sake, but there are also several health reasons where cosmetic surgery can come into play. And as you said, it's your body and you deserve to like it. As long as you know what you want to achieve with any sort of procedure, then no one else's view should stop you. Thanks for sharing, Dana!