Monday, January 25, 2021

Cosmetic Surgery: Quick Fix Or Deadly Obsession?

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Body Image, Media Literacy

Lauren James was a 26 year old, gorgeous, young woman, with a loving fiancee and family. And a future. She was beautiful – a pretty blonde with a slim figure. For reasons difficult for anyone looking at her to comprehend, she decided she needed liposuction. She died as a result of her surgery. She left behind loving parents and a fiancee devastated and at a loss.

Her mom, Katherine said: I think everyone has some sort of insecurity, you know? I guess, for Lauren, it was her bum and her thighs. So I, think it was, you know, for whatever reason, she felt like she needed to look better, but I thought she was perfect.”

Lauren’s story is truly tragic. A young life, lost. For what, a desire to have a slimmer bum and thighs? She did not see herself as her parents and fiancee did… perfect. Not perfect because she was pretty…perfect because she was Lauren.

For Lauren, her self improvement cost her $8,000 and so much more. Post surgery she suffered intensely. The surgery didn’t even bother to return her frantic calls. Lauren died 2 days later. Had the clinic done the right thing for her just one hour earlier, she would be here today.

At a time when a quick nip and tuck is treated like popping in for a blow-wave, it is too easy to forget that it is an “operation” that comes with risks….as Lauren, sadly and tragically, discovered.

Cosmetic surgery is being pushed as a solution to looking better and feeling better. You see billboards all over the place advertising gastric band surgery as a way to lose weight? It’s presented as if it were a diet. “Hey, come in get a band inserted into your tummy so you can only eat mouthfuls of food, and you can have the body of your dreams!!! “ So easy, right? No. Surgery is not simple or easy or risk-free. Are there any disclaimers to that effect on cosmetic surgery advertising. Hell, we have side effects listed on pain relievers. So why, why, why is there not a warning that you can die from these procedures?

Lauren’s story, which aired on 60 minutes, recently, absolutely hit me. A 20 -something girl feeling the need to undergo cosmetic surgery? My first thought…why? Why would a young girl, whose body is going to undergo many transformations during the course of her womanhood, feel the need to have an operation to “fix” her perceived flaws?

The Beauty Trap from Mtr on Vimeo.

Why would a 20-something girl feel so bad about her body that she would consider cutting herself open to change her appearance? Why didn’t her surgeon send her away with the clear message that your body is young…it will undergo many changes…let it run its natural course, you don’t need to get an operation. But, then her surgeon would have lost an $8,000 sale. And, if the industry did the right thing by these girls, the booming plastic surgery industry would not be booming now, would it?

In the same story, they also spoke to the very brave, Kerry Mullins, who wanted a quick fix post-kids and was sold a “mum makeover” – breast lift, tummy tuck and lipo in one 8 hour surgery session. She woke up to a major infection. 22 operations later she was left with a hole where her breast used to be. She bravely showed the world the results of her surgery as a dire warning to women of what can happen. She herself feels like a freak now. But, still considers herself fortunate as she is here to tell her story. Unlike Lauren.

What is it that is driving women of all ages to the surgeon? It seems to me that we are being fed this message that “you need fixing”. “We can fix you”. “You can be fixed in just a day, with minimal risks.” And, yes girls are getting the message and taking action. Take Heidi Montag from the Hills. A perfectly pretty, slim girl when she started out. At just 23, she has undergone 10 cosmetic procedures that have left her looking….well, not surprisingly, completely un-natural. She now acknowledges she went too far, feels trapped in her own body, and…”just wants to go back to normal”.

Why do Lauren and Heidi, and countless other girls and women, think that surgery will make them feel better about themselves? Because we are fed a constant diet of this crap! This is a devastatingly unhealthy diet! It is a far more dangerous and far reaching unhealthy diet than fast food. It’s an epidemic bigger than obesity.

It’s a low self esteem epidemic! Low self esteem that has girls and women going under the knife to feel better about themselves. Low self esteem that sees girls self harming themselves in an attempt to feel better about themselves. “I feel that when I cut myself the blood that is coming out is the ugliness in me coming out”! That’s a quote from a 15 year old self cutter! Low self esteem that makes girls look in the mirror and hate what they see. Low self esteem that makes girls starve themselves to try and feel better. Low self esteem has a direct effect on healthy mental state and even on your life…as Lauren found out.

The surgeons; the marketers that push the one dimensional view of beauty; the film and TV producers who tell perfectly proportioned girls they need to be thinner or have bigger boobs to get ahead…they are at the core of this epidemic.

Change the diet. Let’s see a diet of healthy looking women, of all shapes and sizes in the media; let’s see cosmetic surgery advertising banned, or at the very least have very clear warnings about risks; let’s see magazines label images that have been photo-shopped; let’s see a major Government initiative that addresses self esteem – offering incentives to marketers to get the positive messages out to girls and women; school programs that encourage girls to love themselves and see themselves as those around them see them ….perfect, just as they are! Let’s start working on getting girls to think that being perfect is just about being YOU and being grateful, accepting and embracing of everything about YOU.



11 Responses to “Cosmetic Surgery: Quick Fix Or Deadly Obsession?”
  1. NewMe says:

    My neighbour died after having liposuction. She was a beautiful mother of a small child. FYI, she was far from fat. Apparently, she just wanted to get rid of the little paunch motherhood had given her. Her doctor was not a plastic surgeon, but ran a plastic surgery clinic. She (the doctor) has lost her right to practice. Krista lost her life.

  2. Yum Yucky says:

    I know someone who did lipo – took out a loan on their 401K to do it. Then they gained all the weight back. This, of course is not death, just another senseless lipo example. sheesh.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Surgery seems to be seen as a magical cure to all our wobbly bits! Apparently in a recent survery of women 57% said they would have cosmetic surgery whilst they were still in hospital after having the baby! Truly dreadful and completely unnecessary. The dawn of the ‘frankenmummy’ is here! Perhaps they should work on their self esteem rather than going under the knife – it can give such awful results.

  4. Claudia says:

    This is so sad!!!!

  5. cosmetic surgeries these are very very popular because most people are very conscious about their appearance :~`

  6. Hi,

    Can you send again your response to my last email? I think it was caught by our spam filter.

    Thank you.


    Suzzane deLeon

  7. Naomi Martin says:

    The saddest thing in all of this is the endless greed of some plastic surgeons, who, trained or otherwise, put their wallet before a woman’s body. Yes, of course, training is an absolute must, and cosmetic doctors should not be permitted to perform the structural work of a fully trained plastic/reconstructive surgeon. However, women should also be wary of the “fully trained”. It would appear that when they make mistakes, the effects can be even more deadly and life long. Lauren James died at the hands of a fully trained plastic/reconstructive surgeon. At least this one expressed a remorse to the family and vowed to never perform liposucation again. As for Morris Ritz, plastic surgeon from The Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery and the Stonnington Day Surgery- after disfiguring Kerry Mullins for life, and leaving her MINUS breasts- he just went on and made sure he was one of the FIRST to introduce Macrolane- the lunch time boob jab- into Australia- availing himself for a seriously tacky segment on A Current Affair, where he minimised the pain of these boob jabs- I’ve had them in Europe and they are not a walk in and out lunch time procedure. I cannot imagine how Mrs. Mullins would have felt after seeing that segment. Some people have no shame, no conscious and beyond – well- basic, decent human beings. If I had wrecked a woman’s body in my line of work. Morris Ritz’s litte SELF PROMOTION on A Current Affair is tantamount to Lauren’s surgeon touting for self promotion on a lunch time lipo injection- but it seems he has some regrets at least- No doubt Mr. Ritz regrets the taint on his reputation, but as for his humanity – it is clearly over ridden by his blatent ambition, or perhaps his addiction for being in the spotlight. A lot of plastic surgeons are merely frustrated celebrities- That’s the sickest part about it. They’re not true medicos, (some are of course) but why do some many want to be on TV, in the lime – light- even the tackiest version of it- especially when they clearly don’t NEED the money. The major problem,I think, is that some of these surgeons have serious narcissistic personality disorders, and can justify anything to themselves, viewing themselves as “artists” who deserve media attention. Well, guys, if you want to be Michelangelo- then go and sculpt STONE- if you want to be a sculptor in Australia today, then leave women alone, and cop the inevitable decline in your income! We are SICK OF IT, and YOU WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH IT. TOO MANY WOMEN ARE WAKING UP.

  8. DAVE says:

    I’ve just been promoted to Level 162 in #MobsterWorld. Beat me in the game!

  9. ivana says:

    It’s true that marketing for Cosmetic Surgery needs to start being alot more responsible and outline the risks instead of advertising it misleadingly and flippantly.
    That said,the notion of trying to get women to see “they are beautiful just as they are” and accept themselves etc is unrealistic and a lie.
    There’s nothing beautiful about a sagging face or breasts for example and that body has become “diseased” from it’s natural state.
    People who say “everyone is beautiful as they are” are often hypocrites,like this website,you refer to the girl who’s photo is at the top that she was beautiful,attractive etc.
    Websites like yours (yes really) actually drive the Cosmetic Surgery market because it reinforces the notion that for a woman to be noticed or “worthy” she should be pretty,beautiful etc..
    Notice this website didn’t use terms such as skin,blonde,beautiful,pretty etc to describe the mother who received the disfigured boob job?
    So lets be realistic.We are not all beautiful and as long as beautiful women are “idolised” cosmetic surgery will continue as a profession.
    That said it should only be done responsibly and reserved for “unattractive” people and not for pretty women who don’t appreciate what they already have.

  10. Simone Godding says:

    What I don’t understand is why doctors like Dr. Morris Ritz who is responsible for Mrs. Mullins shocking tragedy are 1. Still registered with the Royal College of Surgeons 2. Still registered with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, and 3. still registered with The Australian Medical Board? Okay, yes, doctors make mistakes, and sometimes negligence amounts to over work, misjudgement etc… but THIS- when expert witnesses testify that each of Mrs. Mullins procedures should have been done separately and not all together in one LONG operation- that is not the kind of thing that one should “pardon” under the system. It’s just WRONG WRONG – MORALLY WRONG and in EVERY WAY WRONG. I have no reason whatsoever to trust any of our medical “authorities!”


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