Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Price of Beauty
WHAT IS THE OBSESSION?! I just don't get it... why are people so obsessed with being perfect that they turn themselves into freakish robot women in this city? I'm sure the root of this relates back to my last post regarding the negative thoughts we learn to believe about ourselves. We have running narratives in our heads about who we are... what our story is. For many people these stories are an endless tape of negativity about all the things they believe are wrong with them. Can't we give ourselves a break before we all end up like Heidi and Micheal Jackson?
Plastic surgery is becoming the latest to join the ranks of the addiction epidemic. Like gambling, drug, alcohol, and sex addictions, plastic surgery is another way for people in pain to "fix" their feelings in maladaptive ways. In plastic surgery addiction, like other addictions, no amount of surgery proves to be satisfying and the obsession remains after procedures are done. Furthermore, the risks of the behavior do not deter from the impulse to "use." Besides the obvious dangers of turning into a freakish looking creature, there are also many tangible threats that this type of excessive behavior presents. The health risks to any surgery are quite frightening despite how common elective surgeries have become. Surgery in America is generally safe, but there are risks and it is surprising that so many people are willing to take the chance and endure the physical pain in order to change the way they look.
This is not a phenomenon that is unique to the US. All over the world women (and men) are paying the price of beauty. Jessica Simpson's show, The Price of Beauty, depicts what women around the world sacrifice for what their culture considers beautiful. In an episode in Thailand, one woman (pictured here) used a cream to make her skin lighter. Instead, her skin was bleached unevenly and permanently. The woman's spirit was broken and her self-esteem shattered. Is all this really worth it?
An imperative change that our community needs to make is to recognize this as an addiction and, therefore, it is essential to have more stringent regulations for doctors, especially plastic surgeons. It is unethical practice to provide such excessive elective plastic surgery that it becomes detrimental to their patients' physical and mental health. It is comparable to doctors who over prescribe drugs for patients who are clearly addicts (i.e. Anna Nicole Smith, Micheal Jackson) Where are the laws to regulate these doctors? What happened to that good old Hippocratic oath?
Almost all types of addiction can be related back to trauma in childhood. Consequently, ethical plastic surgeons will require that patients have a psychological screening before any major plastic surgeries. It's too bad more doctor's don't simply refer their patients for mental health services instead of handing out breast augmentations like candy. If people were able to feel good about themselves on the inside they would not be so critical of their appearance. People trust doctors to make their health a priority and it seems to me that in LA some doctors care more about making a buck than an ethical practice.
The Canyon in Malibu is just one of many substance abuse rehabilitation centers that are beginning to treat this rapidly growing epidemic in LA.