I was intrigued by the idea that cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery overlap in more ways than we typically think- both surgeries make people feel more beautiful and change their social status, and contribute to one’s overall “health.” No matter the type of surgery, the physical transformation that comes after has both social and emotional effects on the person. It makes me think of the whole “new body, new me” mentality that weight-loss companies tend to promote. This achievement of physically being “new and improved” supposedly releases the beautiful human trapped inside the ugly human. Pretty horrible message there.
I have never been one to like reality shows, especially not the ones documenting plastic surgery. I find them to be not only sad but also disturbing. The way the women are presented before the surgeries is terrible. I was disgusted by the television show Swan, and by the fact that the participants in the show were repeatedly referred to as being ordinary, ugly, and “flukes of nature.” They were told that they would be attractive people after.
I was also fascinated by how women growing old is becoming less and less of an “acceptable” process- women color their hair, get botox to get rid of wrinkles, etc. because society is telling them that they need to stay young looking, and that their bodies are becoming unattractive. It’s sad that women try delay their aging in order to feel attractive, trying to go against nature’s plan for them.
I was especially captivated by how the “makeover culture” affects so many people who have access to social media pages. We have so many resources today to virtually make ourselves look and feel better. There is this unspoken pressure to edit photographs before putting them on Faceboook or instragram so that people think you look perfect. When I edit my pictures before putting them on Facebook, I usually try to resort to the most basic edits- a little bit of contrast, some saturation, some definition, etc. It’s unsettling to feel like I only look my best when I’ve mechanically changed my appearance with the click of a button. I have to try to make the picture look as “natural” as possible. What has become “as natural as possible” is in fact what’s not natural at all. I’ve been told that I “don’t edit my pictures enough” by the people in the pictures I’ve posted. That statement makes me mad because editing pictures detracts from the person’s natural beauty. Why do we need to “enhance” our photographs? People who we know and interact with us know what we look like in person. I am definitely guilty of editing pictures to make myself look better- I would be lying if I said that I didn’t. I wish it wasn’t that way though. I must say that I really do appreciate when celebrities post pictures of themselves on instagram with “naked faces,” aka no makeup and no filters. And I might add that I have great respect for the celebrities that have come forward after having their photos be heavily edited before making it on to the cover. For example, Kelly Clarkson bravely voiced her concerns over her overly photoshopped cover of Self Magazine. Kate Winslet, Britney Spears, and Gabby Sidibe were some of the other celebrities who publically criticized magazines for changing their appearances.