Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise
In a recent women’s magazine article, liposuction is presented as a procedure that we as women should respect as a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her body. The author is a staunch advocate in favor of liposuction. I believe strongly in personal autonomy and not judging others. But I think it is taking it too far to suggest that women “poohing-poohing the idea of not embracing the idea of paying to have their fat sucked out of a tube should stop combing their hair and washing their face.”
Here I’ve been stockpiling makeup from Sephora, dieting and working out. Little did I know all I needed to do was have an elective cosmetic procedure where they knocked me out and vacuumed out those pesky fat cells. Damn that daily beauty regime. I could have just slept in.
A cosmetic surgery article was published by the magazine in February 2009. The article talked about how women are feeling increasingly pressured to look like their younger counterparts to compete in the bad economy and tightening workplace. And these women aren’t senior citizens. Instead, women who want to look younger and fresher are in their 30′s and 40′s are seeking anti-injectibles and the suctioning of neck fat (to make a more angular chin) to avoid looking run down when “walk[ing] into a room full of fetuses.”
As a whole, women are feeling like we need to look thinner, younger, more perfect. Where do we draw the line?
How Lipo Works
Liposuction is meant for people with healthy lifestyles who have fat deposits on their bodies that are resistant to dieting and exercise. The lipo “shocker” referred to in the June 2011 article is that liposuction does not mean you won’t gain weight. Your doctor is sucking out resistant deposits of fat from body areas where diet and exercise haven’t yielded results. Fat elsewhere in your body remains. Lipo is meant to contour particular body parts, rather than be used as a weight loss device at large.
A Lipo Veteran
The author of the June 2011 article has had lipo twice. The first time she had her fat sucked out of of her hips and thighs she gained it back in her stomach “badly and unevenly with minor nerve damage that lasted for years.”
Fortunately, the author didn’t wasn’t one of the few undergoing surgery who in her words becomes “the moron who winds up dead because [she] wanted to wear skinny jeans.”
Next, the author had a tummy tuck and and lipo post-pregnancy. Though she gained weight, to her relief her weight was more evenly distributed.
Eventually though, the author bemoaned the return of fat in non-lipo’ed areas of her body. This time, she resigned herself to “the tedious process of diet and exercise (ultimately more expensive than lipo, since [she] seem[s] incapable of physical exertion without some buff dude standing over [her], barking orders).”
You know, the tedious process so many of us struggle with. Unfortunately mostly minus the yummy buff dude, which could be fun if you’re into that sort of thing (apologies to my wonderful husband Ted). And committing to the not-always-fun healthy diet that surgeons recommend post-surgery in order to maintain optimal results before using liposuction as a last resort. You need to keep up that diet before and liposuction. You need to keep up that diet whether or not you have surgery. There’s no quick and easy escape.
Contouring and Symmetry
Advocates of lipo extol the body contouring and symmetry they believe it provides. The theory is that if a post-lipo patient gains weight, at least now her weight is spread out evenly, providing a more “attractive” appearance.
The author of the article notes “ I’ll always have to be vigilant if I want to stay a size 8 to 10, as my body, appetite, and drinking habits are
forever conspiring to make me a size 16.”
Thus, the author says she takes solace in the fact that if her body’s conspiracy wins out amd “chubs up” despite her efforts, she won’t have to look like a “weeble” like the non-lipo’d, non-contoured size 12 and up set.
The “Vanity Continuum”
The author notes at the beginning of the 2011 article that “vanity exists on a continuum.” Such a “continuum” is precisely that which can be so harmful to girls and women with body image insecurities and issues.
The unfortunate implications of both the 2009 and 2011 articles is if the reader is above a certain clothing size, or lacks certain body dimensions or facial attributes, she is less than attractive because she deviates from a pre-determined norm. Likewise, women are led to believe that if they don’t look thin and young enough their jobs are in jeopardy.
Exacting, unattainable and undesirable “standards” and pictures defining beautyare being foisted on female readers. The irresponsible mindsets perpetuated as unavoidable in these articles set a poor example in a widely-read public forum read by girls and women who very well may be struggling with their own body images. They also perpetuate the myth that beauty comes only in a narrow, preconceived perfectly-measured package.
I resent the fears and triggers that these articles evoke. That readers are at risk of pudging up. Or chubbing up. Or morphing into straight-up weebles.
Stomach not perfectly flat? A bit of curve to the hips? A few laugh lines? Embrace your individuality. We come in all shapes and sizes, and don’t need to be carved into an army of lifeless stone statues.
In my opinion, going in for multiple surgeries, putting your health at risk, and wasting money that could be better spent on more worthy, self-empowering endeavors slants deeply on the extreme and negative end. There are so many more things that women could be doing with their lives than seeking some arbitrary standard of perfection.