Craving perfection



In today’s world, many teens want to change the way they look with plastic surgery. Whereas a common graduation present from parents used to be a car or money, now however, it has evolved into changing a graduate’s body.
In today’s world, many teens want to change the way they look with plastic surgery. Whereas a common graduation present from parents used to be a car or money, now however, it has evolved into changing a graduate’s body.

“I used to think there was just fat and skinny. Apparently there are a lot of things that could be wrong on your body,” Lindsay Lohan’s character Cady Heron in Mean Girls, inquired as her friends criticized their bodies. Teenagers all around the world believe there is a “perfect” image for how they are supposed to look. The compulsive desire to look like someone else can put pressure on teens to achieve this look, even if it involves undergoing major procedures.

Teens who constantly find themselves admiring the “perfect” look will subconsciously succumb to peer pressure and want it. “It is an unhealthy part of society that promotes the fantasy to look like girls on a magazine,” William Woessner, school psychologist, said. “It’s all in people’s minds on how they want themselves to look.”

With girls, some feel that they cannot grow up without having their body follow the look on magazines. “I didn’t feel like a woman,” 18 year-old Kristen from River Edge N.J. said when realizing her breasts did not follow the development of her curvy body. Kristen went under breast implants as a high school graduation gift from her parents.

“To impress a girl your ‘sty’ has to be on point and you and to be confident, funny and care about other girls. Oh, and you gotta have luscious flow” Joey Hobbs, junior, said.

“Dress nice, bathe and work out. Brush your teeth. Don’t be that guy that doesn’t brush his teeth. Wear deodorant because personal hygiene is very important” Tyler Ng, senior, said.

Hidden pressure even exists behind boys to fit the image of a perfect body. Abs or jaw lines are the crave for young male adults in today’s society. Though it is mostly overlooked and girls are mostly looked at for not liking their body, boys feel it, too. Boys also look to impress girls with their looks every day.

Plastic surgery is a quick fix for nagging insecurities; however, some experts question if going under the knife actually solves the underlying self esteem problems rooted in the minds of young people. Daniel Bober, psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor at Yale University said, “Teens obsessed with body image concerns may suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, a type of mental illness. They obsess about differences between their actual and their ideal selves.”

When the “perfect” look seems too out of reach, teenagers may begin to believe that plastic surgery is the answer. “To enhance their confidence and make them more confident in their bodies or if they have a big insecurity,” Lizzy Tucker, junior, said.

The problem with this is that whatever the individual was insecure about originally is fixed, it’s not long before they find something new to dislike about themselves to obsess over. Mary Pritchard, a psychology professor at Boise State University said that research shows when people get plastic surgery solely for appearance, an improved self-esteem lasts no longer than a year. “Then they’re back to where they were at the beginning, or worse,” Dr. Pritchard said.

In today’s society especially, there is a heightened pressure to achieve the “perfect” model look. Many adolescents often forget that this look is not natural; they forget that what we see models and celebrities as is their photoshopped, made-up selves for magazine shoots or walking the red carpet. Jessimae Peluso, from MTV’s show Girl Code, said, “You will never look like the girl in the magazine. The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine.”

Plastic surgery has become very common among popular celebrities, making it seem like less of a major action to the public. Many have denied their unnaturally induced changes or simply left rumors about them unspoken about. Others though have been open about their procedures.

Joan Rivers, who has recently passed away, very openly talked and joked about her many procedures. “I took all the extra skin (from facelifts) and made another little person; it walks beside me now,” Rivers said. She said that she would continue going through plastic surgery, and also joked about having numerous procedures at her age, saying that if she was going to die in surgery she would prefer it to be surgery that will at least make her look good.

Amanda Bynes, actress, has informed her three million Twitter followers of her love for plastic surgery in more than one account. Bynes has complained through Tweets about magazines using old pictures of her, prior to her procedures.

On June 27, 2013, Bynes tweeted, “I plan on having surgery on my whole face straight up,” and on Oct. 10, 2014, “I just need a tremendous amount of facial surgery.” Bynes has claimed that nothing is better for her confidence than plastic surgery, however she keeps finding things to “fix” through procedural measures.

The Kardashians are a family that has been in the spotlight since the OJ Simpson case in 1995. Kourtney has openly admitted to having breast implants in college, stating that it is no secret or anything she tries to hide. After joining the family, Bruce Jenner went through several plastic surgery procedures, including a botched one.

In 2009, B. Jenner went through more procedures to correct the first one. Currently, after splitting with wife Kris Kardashian, it is rumored that he has began going under the knife again.

Addressing the many changes in his appearance over the years, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, Toby Mayer, said, “When people have an unusual preoccupation with the way the look, they will never be satisfied. They will always find some flaw on their face that they think (fixing) will restore perfection.” This is often why once an individual has one or two procedures, they begin gradually having more.

Although the Kardashian family may be looked at as being “fake” and several have admitted to going under the knife, Kim, 34, understands the importance of staying who you are. It is rumored that she had work done on her nose, however disputed the claim.

“What’s funny about my nose, it’s my biggest insecurity. I always want to get my nose done. … I went to a doctor; I had them take the pictures. He showed me what it would look like and it just didn’t – I wouldn’t look the same,” Kim Kardashian said. For this reason she decided to stay away from a nose job, and decided to keep the way she looks.

One of the most notable plastic surgery client in Hollywood was Michael Jackson. The King of Pop claimed to only have ever had two plastic surgeries – nose jobs to make him breathe and sing better. He blamed his complete change in skin tone on the condition vitiligo, which results in loss of pigment in skin, resulting in irregular white patches.

After his death though, Wallace Goodstein, surgeon who worked with Jackson’s surgeon in the 1990s, said, “He (Jackson) came in approximately every two months. It was about 10 to 12 surgeries in two years, while I was there.” Jackson had a very excessive amount of procedures, including one to have his nose completely rebuilt with filler material.

Despite Jackson’s success, he was involved in a lifestyle centered around plastic surgery that he attempted to hide from his fans. Although very few celebrities go to the extremes that Jackson did, the same applies, when it comes to plastic surgery, to many popular figures that are presently looked up to.

The focus should be not on changing physically, but mentally. It is important and sometimes overlooked for today’s youth to become comfortable in their own skin. “You have to fix the inside, and there’s no plastic surgery for the soul,” Peluso said.

Plastic surgery has become a way for those who do not like the human that they are to feel like a new one, or appear to be perfect. After major procedures, an individual will ideally look different. This may be the problem though – they will look different, but they will not look like themselves; they will not look like the person they were born as.

At Homestead, 100 students were randomly surveyed with the question: “If you were offered free plastic surgery would you take it? Yes or no? If yes, what would you have done?” Out of the students who completed the survey, 27 percent answered yes and 73 percent answered no.

For females who answered yes, the surveys consisted of answers like breast enhancements, nose jobs, liposuction, butt implants and tummy tucks. Males who responded yes on the survey answered with penis enlargement surgery. But for the 73 percent of Homestead who answered no, there were comments like: “keep it natural,” or “hell no!”

Whether it’s eyes, nose, mouth or body, everyone notices something about someone specific when they meet new people. When walking on the street, some choose to people watch. What is it that brings people in to look at first in a person? For Cole Simpson, senior, it is someone’s face. But for Matty Schaut, senior, it is someone’s eyes.

Simpson is against the idea of plastic surgery. “You should own your own personal characteristics,” he said. Having role models around school just like Simpson will hopefully show other students they are perfect just the way they are.

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