Body Positivity and Plastic Surgery: Can They Coexist?
By: Carlie Zervan
You may believe that body positivity and plastic surgery are mutually exclusive, and with unrealistic beauty expectations from both the media and societal pressure, we don’t blame you. However, here at the Centre for Plastic Surgery, we do believe that body positivity and plastic surgery can coexist. Let us explain.
We can all agree that the perfection and beauty standards that affect men and women today can be harmful.
Though men are also body-shamed, women are disproportionately affected. Girls and women typically internalize an observer’s perspective as a primary view of how they view themselves. This perspective on self can lead to habitual body monitoring, which, in turn, can increase women’s opportunities for shame and anxiety, reduce opportunities for peak motivational states, and diminish awareness of internal bodily states (Fredrickson & Roberts, 2005). These experiences may also lead to mental health risks, such as unipolar depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders.
It is imperative to acknowledge that everyone’s journey to self-love is different.
We need to work to diversify narrow ideals of beauty without condemning people who find happiness in plastic surgery. Studies show that cosmetic surgery can contribute to emotional well-being, as long as there is a healthy attitude towards it (Smith, 2019). If a mother of three wants to do something special for herself in terms of her appearance, why should her peers judge that? If another woman makes a minimal change to herself to feel comfortable in her skin, why is that everyone else’s business? She shouldn’t be forced to experience yet another level of undue social pressure for making the choice to seek cosmetic procedures.
At the Centre for Plastic Surgery, we are not here to pressure or shame women about their bodies.
In fact, our surgical team takes excellent care regarding surgical approval. It is not uncommon for our physicians to deny surgery because of patient safety and other factors. We evaluate our patients carefully because unhealthy motives behind surgery- such as relationship pressures or body dysmorphic disorder- cannot result in a positive outcome.
Unfortunately, the constant pressure that women feel to fit into a specific mold of beauty isn’t going anywhere.
From commercials to social media posts, the influence to look “perfect” is ever present. We are here to support small changes that are impactful for the individual. What we hope for our patients is that we can provide a service to encourage them to feel good about their bodies and how beautiful they really are- both outside and in.
Fredrickson, B. L., & Roberts, T.-A. (2005). Objectification Theory: Toward Understanding Womens Lived Experiences and Mental Health Risks.
Smith, J. (2019). Does Plastic Surgery Improve Emotional Well-Being? .