Cosmetic Surgery: Quick Fix Or Deadly Obsession?
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.