Addicted to Cosmetic Surgery?
On Thursday’s show about “Repeat Offenders” — people who make big mistakes over and over — one of my guests is a woman who’s already had seven cosmetic surgeries, which she says were to improve her looks, and she openly admits that she wants more. Of course, what’s she done to herself is nothing compared to the young reality TV star Heidi Montag. As you probably know, she recently told interviewers she underwent 10 cosmetic procedures in one day! She went on and on about how much more beautiful she looked after having had an eyebrow lift, a nose job revision, fat injections in her cheeks, a lips and chin reduction, neck liposuction, her ears pinned back, a breast augmentation, and liposuction on her waist, hips and thighs.
And this is after she had a nose job and breast implants just two years ago. Oh, and by the way, Heidi is only 23 years old.
Maybe, as some cynics say, what Heidi did was nothing more than publicity stunt — a PR move to get her on the cover of magazines and to help ignite her singing career. But I do wonder what all of Heidi’s talk about the joys of plastic surgery is doing to younger girls who look up to celebrities like Heidi.
In fact, I’m more concerned than ever that the new generation of young women, who grow up bombarded by media images of the “ideal” female body, are becoming more and more obsessed at fixing their supposed flaws — even if those flaws are invisible. They believe, just for the sake of “beauty,” that they should have themselves surgically altered.
There are right and wrong reasons to seek plastic surgery. If you don’t expect it to “fix” your life, but instead do it to enhance your body image in a reasonable way, it can make sense. Sometimes a woman wants a “mommy makeover,” like a tummy tuck or a breast lift, to reduce sagging after breast-feeding. That can make perfect sense.
But when I read about teenage girls asking for nose jobs or breast implants as high school graduation presents, I just shake my head. And you want to read something that will really boggle your mind? The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that more than 333,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients 18 years of age or younger in the United States in 2005, compared to approximately 14,000 in 1996.
Get this. A few days ago, the Undersecretary of Health for the Italian government, Francesca Martini, had a bill sent to the Italian Parliament which would prevent minors from receiving breast implants. The bill, the first of its kind in Europe, would require a medical basis for any breast surgery for young patients. (Italian law currently allows girls under the age of 18 to undergo cosmetic breast surgeries if the minors have parental consent.)
It’s an intriguing piece of legislation, and I’m interested to hear what you think. Should we do the same thing here in the United States? Do you think at some point, we’ve got to put the brakes on this very disturbing trend? I look forward to reading your comments.