Feminism

Plastic Surgery – I’m Not Having It

Disclaimer: This post is about me and my choices.  It is up to each person to make his/her own choices.  If you have had or want to have plastic surgery, that’s your choice.  That is not what this post is about.

I have always questioned society’s expectations of what I do with my body.  For example, when I was 19-20, I did not shave my legs or armpits.  I am a hairy person.  I have thick dark hair on my legs if I do not shave.  It was very noticeable.  I didn’t care.  My thought was this: “I naturally grow hair on my body, why is it wrong?  Why do I have to change myself?  What’s wrong with the natural body hair I was born with?”

I also shaved my head around this time.  Why does a woman need to have long hair?  Am I less of a woman if I buzz my hair off?  I was challenging expectations. And I liked it.  I would shave my head again if it was socially acceptable in my corporate career environment.  I felt super bad-ass!  And if I do say so myself, I have a very attractive head.  It’s also the easiest to deal with hair style.

Some people were very dull about this and would accuse me of being a lesbian (as if that were some sort of crime.)  Last I checked, my sexual preference has nothing to do with the length of my hair or whether or not I shave my legs.

Is having hairy legs, as a woman, inherently gross or disgusting?  If so, why isn’t it gross for men to have hairy legs?  I used to say “I will shave my legs when men shave their backs.”  And now apparently many of them do, so at least I wasn’t lying.

Eventually, the time came when I stopped being a teenager and I wanted to be judged on my merits instead of my appearance.  So I took up the “normal” look and started shaving my legs and grew in my hair.  I cover my tattoos when I go to work.  I know how it is.  I will play the game.  I don’t gain anything by bucking these social constructs of what I should look like, at least not when it comes to my career.  People, like it or not, are extremely judgmental about appearances, especially for women.

I shave my legs exactly to the point where anyone will see them.  In the winter that’s above the knee and in the summer that’s up to where my swimsuit ends.  I don’t do anything to the parts nobody will see other than my boyfriend.  I think I’m fine exactly the way I am, even if I do have natural hair cover so many people are disgusted by.  That’s their problem, not mine.  I will never get a Brazilian wax because it sounds painful!  Eff that, I’m fine the way I am.  And if you’re going to comment on how much “cleaner” it is to wax your vajayjay and butt crack, please know that you are inferring that I am “dirty” because I choose not to.  I’m not, and I won’t be shamed into doing something I don’t want to do.

My boyfriend is all about the “natural look”, by the way.  I wouldn’t be compatible with someone who isn’t.

What does any of this have to do with plastic surgery?  To me, it’s all part of the same spectrum of expectation we put on women’s appearances.  I do not buy the idea that there’s only one way a person should look and that we have to torture ourselves to get that look.

Plastic surgery is far, far, far beyond shaving to me.  Shaving is annoying and maybe you’ll nick yourself occasionally.  Plastic surgery has the very real possibility of ending in death.  If not death, then follow up corrective surgeries, painful recovery periods, risk of infection, etc.  There are some pretty serious consequences to any surgery and to undertake one simply to change the way I look is something I very strongly disagree with.  What is wrong with the way I look?  Why is there only one acceptable way to be?

I have some parts of my body that many people would deem in “need” of plastic surgery.  I have heard so many women say something to the effect of “I needed a breast enhancement because my breasts were droopy.”  My breasts are droopy too.  Going from a 42 DDD to a 36 C does something to you.  My breasts look exactly the way you’d expect them to look after my weight loss and at my age.  And I do not NEED breast enhancement.  There is nothing wrong with me.  The assumption that “imperfect” breasts need surgery to “correct” them, quite frankly angers me.

I am not broken and I do not need to be “corrected.”  I am a person and there’s a lot more to me than what I look like.

I could also “need” a tummy tuck if my goal in life was to have visible abs.  I have minor loose skin compared to what I’ve seen in photos of some who have lost weight.  But it’s enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a bikini.  That’s not a problem to me, my life seems to be going on just fine, bikini-free.

I suppose while I’m at it, I would also “need” a thigh lift, because I have some loose skin and cellulite there.

And I guess I “need” to  have an upper arm lift also since even though I have visible biceps, triceps, and delts, my arms keep waving when I stop.

May as well “need” a chin lift too, now that I have a little wrinkle there where my other chin used to be.

And once I had all that work done, then what?  Would I be “okay” yet?

I call bullshit on this.  I am okay right now.  As a matter of fact, I am fabulous!  No, I don’t look like a cover girl, I look like ME and I don’t want to look like anyone but me.  Part of ME is the history of me.  And part of that is that I used to be obese.  I am not ashamed.  I embrace my former self as well as my present self, scars, flaws and all.

I believe that self-esteem is something that comes from the inside, not out.  Rather than changing myself through expensive, painful, life-threatening surgical procedures, I prefer to work on my mind which is, after all, the most important part of me.  Yes, I feel a little bit uncomfortable showing my thighs in public.  There’s a lot behind that from the way my mother talked about her own thighs to the way women’s thighs are shown in the media.  This isn’t a physical problem, it’s a mental one.  I will work on feeling comfortable with myself as I am.  From the inside out.  It’s free and it’s freeing.  I only need to live up to one person’s expectations: my own.

It seems like we are forbidden from questioning plastic surgery for risk of offending someone who has had it or wants to have it.  Yes, it’s everyone’s choice to do what they want, but I think there are some very valid questions that need to be discussed and shouldn’t just be swept under the rug of personal choice.  Like, why is it that we expect to look perfect?  Why do we treat our bodies as ever changeable pieces of clay?  Why is the size and shape of a woman’s breasts so very important that we are willing to undergo these painful, expensive, and often fallible surgeries?  Why do we feel like our physical appearance is so much of our self-esteem?

I believe a lot of the answers lie in the glorification of youth and the objectification of women.  As women, we are expected never to age.  Once we’re over 35, and look it, we disappear from the public eye.  There are no actresses who don’t look young.  Even our powerful female leaders like Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi are all too often criticized for their appearances.  Yet we have many old, wrinkled, greying, balding, overweight men in these positions who get by on their thoughts and opinions and nobody even seems to notice what they look like.  This is straight up sexism to me, and if you know me, you know I am a Feminist with a capital F.  I don’t need to change; society needs to change.  Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State.  I don’t recall anyone worrying about what Colin Powell looked like or wore when he held that position.

A lot of it comes from the messages we receive as women that we ARE our appearances.  No matter what you do, if you aren’t beautiful too, society considers it failure.  This, to me, is simply another way to keep women powerless.  If we’re busy feeling bad about our bodies and the way we look, we are easy to keep subjugated.  To me, there’s nothing powerful about being restricted to bed rest because you just had a full body lift.  And I want to be a Powerful Woman, from the inside out.

My message is all about self-acceptance.  Being thin and beautiful isn’t what makes people happy- it’s what you feel on the inside.  Some of the thinnest most beautiful people hate themselves and think they are ugly.  That alone proves to me that the path to self-acceptance has to be separated from our outer appearance.  There’s no amount of outer change that will make a person feel good enough, it must be an internal change.

To spread this message, I will start with myself.  I will stand up for myself, and for any other women who would like to stand with me, and I will declare:

“I am good enough exactly the way I am.”

12 thoughts on “Plastic Surgery – I’m Not Having It

  1. thank you for your honesty and for your post! I am not a naturalist as it were. I couldn’t wait to shave my legs and have done so since. However, I have never been “in style” I had short hair when everyone else went long, Long when everyone else went short. I got laughed out of prom because everyone else was in skimpy dresses and I wore the southern bell dress with the hoop slip.
    Plastic surgery has always been on a way different wave length for me. Absolutely in the No category. My opinion has been and will forever remain that taking a knife to my body for asthetics is just something I will never do! I dont know what is in my future, yes right now I am fighting to get my body back in shape and working toward a healthier lifestyle but when I am 60, 70, or older am I going to have a weight gain again? I dont know, and after a tummy or thigh tuck that skin will never properly stretch and you run the risk of tearing with a weight gain. I think in the mindset of everyone right now would say “I never plan on getting big again” however we dont plan to blow our backs out, or have debilitating arthritis, or get alzheimers and fixate on sugary foods.
    I am not for or against anyone making that decision for themselves. I am pro-choice but for me the answer is No way no how, I will not destroy my body to make it look better!

  2. LOL, “my arms keep waving when I stop”, mine do too!!! this just tickled me. Love the post and totally agree!

  3. OMG Kate. You put into words what I “felt” after losing weight 15 years ago. Then, I got a LOT of male attention AFTER the weight loss. The problem; I was the SAME person just in a different wrapper. I was funny and witty and a really great person but few noticed. All they could see was my image. I admit back then it made me effing angry.

    Thank you and oh.. my arms keep waving too. I don’t care. I’ve earned every battle scar I have. ♥Ruby

  4. Wow, we both “need” the same work done… LOL I remember after I lost my 175 lbs, my OB was saying how I could get the extra skin removed from my breasts. I told her, that skin fits in the bra just fine. She said, well, you’d likely be a smaller cup, as part of you is just skin. I told her, I alreayd had 25-30 bras in my new size, so, no need to waste money. Plus, I’m not getting anything done in any area that isn’t medically required. No laser surgery for my eyes, as glasses are fine, no tucks here and there as you mentioned and no lifts. I look good, I feel great and that’s what matters. Thanks for putting it out there for the rest of the world to understand!

  5. My best friend, who I find extremely beautiful, just got a boob job. She had perfect B cup boobs, (which I totally envied! They were perfect!) and now she went to a C/D. It’s hard for me to accept, and I think it’s because it’s like trying to put a fig leaf on the statue of David or something. Anyhow, I like your posts and the questions you pose. I’ve asked these things myself, too! I’m trying these days to accept my shape and play it up, learn how to dress like me and not like someone I can’t be.

  6. hey i love getting up evry day and reading whats new on your blog. this morning i had a giggle when iread it was about plastic surgery. i have had a boob job about 4yrs ago at the age of 26. No one would know it as i went to an extremly good surgon that wont do over the top surgeries, i dont hide the fact that they are fake but i also dont shoe them off. I was already married to my beautiful husband who couldnt care less if i had boobs or not! he loves me whatever size i am and i’ve been many, when we met i weighed 115 and i now weigh 185. i grew up with my mum not really wearing make up and wore clothes for comfort and had never coloured her hair – until i did it a few yrs back:) so there was never that “expected look” whilst growing up. when i told my mum i was getting a boob job she wasnt suprised as she said i had been wanting them for as long as she could remember! i got them for ME. i do agree about working on yourself from the inside out and have even started to see a phsiologist for all different reasons and no i dont regret it! I also have tattoos, another form of body modifcation. most of my back is covered and i have a half sleeve on my arm and vaires others. i did those for me too. i do hide them some people look me up and down and real people dont even notice them.I also know people how have had breast reduction and reconstruction for different reasons. i definatley agree that many people are going to far with the quest for perfection and unfortunatly i cant see things changing any time soon. anyway have loved reading other peoples opinions i love that we can all have one 🙂 the only person that matters is the one looking back at you in the mirror.

  7. This blog post, “Plastic Surgery – Im Not Having It This is Not a Diet” shows that you truly know exactly what
    u r speaking about! I actually totally agree with your
    post. Thanks a lot -Juliane

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