Man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much naked ass in my life. I scroll through my Instagram timeline, I explore my explore feed and all I see is naked, pouting, bending, and all other types of ‘ing’ women. I understand that ‘if you’ve got it flaunt it’, and ‘it’s my body and my choice’, but I can’t help but wonder what the motive behind it is. I know many women reading are ready to stone me because this is the era of doing what makes you happy and living your best life but I cant help but wonder how this makes people happy. Is it the weird DMs you get from promiscuous men and women or the emoji-filled comments that flood every provocative image *and video you post that bring happiness? Or is it a was of trying to fix low self esteem ?  Genuine question by the way. Perhaps from another point of view, it’s an expression of freedom. Help me understand? 

Anyhow, I started with this observation because I have also been marveling at the number of enhanced bodies I’m seeing and how normal it’s becoming. I remember when plastic surgery was a taboo and was only something that the rich and famous did, but nowadays it’s become a lot more mainstream. I know that everyone is living their best life and not going back and forth with us ninjas, however, are all of these people going under the knife truly happy or just looking for a quick fix for low self esteem?  You may have clicked on this because you’re either struggling with low self esteem or thinking about going under the knife to fix something that maybe isn’t even broken. Before we get into why you’re getting surgery and why it likely wont fix low self-esteem, let’s look at some research on both surgery and self-image amongst women. 

What is Research Saying About Plastic Surgery and Self Image

Being the curious Joanne that I am, I decided to see what research says about both plastic surgery and self-image. As I grow I’ve realized that everyone has an opinion, however, to have one that is well-informed you should see what opinions are already out there as well as what research there is. So, I found some interesting statistics about plastic surgery to begin with. 

Plastic Surgery Statistics

I came across some statistics on plastic surgery, which stated that in 2016, Americans spent a recordbreaking 16 billion on elective plastic surgery which is absolutely mind-blowing if you ask me. This also means that I need to have a plastic surgeon as a bestie. If you look at the below chart, you’ll see which types of surgery have been most popular. 

plastic surgery low self esteem chart

What’s even crazier is the spike in plastic surgery procedures that has taken place over the last couple of years. it makes you wonder what has caused this sudden trend of people going under the knife and where the pressure to be picture perfect is coming record-breaking. 

Cosmetic surgery America low self esteem

Research has also found that some reasons people pursue plastic surgeryinclude; 

  • body dissatisfaction 
  • teasing about body parts 
  • media influence
  • not being happy with physical appearance 

It’s also interesting to know that women are more likely to have surgery than men are. 

Self- Image Research

report commissioned by Dovethat did research into self-esteem, body image, and body confidence found that women all over the world hate their bodies and struggle with self-image. I’m sure you likely saw imaged and videos from the campaign floating around with women of all shapes and sizes talking about self-image and what not. Below you’ll see some of the statistics that the report found. 

Dove low self esteem statistics

In conclusion, the report found that beauty-related pressure increases whilst body confidence decreases as girls and women grow older – stopping young girls from seeing their real beauty. Having said that, it seems the pressure from the media, individuals and those around them triggers low self esteem for girls and women.

Questions You Should Ask Before Getting Surgery 

Before getting surgery, however, I think you should ask yourself a few of these three questions and answer honestly.

1.) What Is Wrong With My Body and Why

For someone to make the decision to go out and get plastic surgery, it often means that they feel that something is wrong with their body. If you happen to share these sentiments, ask yourself what you feel is wrong with your body and why. For many years, I looked in the mirror and thought my nose was way too big and it made me ugly. I also felt like my skin was too dark and my butt was too flat. These became things that I was ashamed of because I thought they made me unattractive, not good enough, and unaccepted. I imagined myself with a smaller nose and light skin every time I looked at myself. I even used to stuff clothes inside of my jeans to make my butt look bigger. I cried, I fought with myself, I looked for validation in men, I fed off of the praise of others, but still, at the end of the day, I was broken by the disapproval of many.

 It took ten years or more for me to realize that everyone is made differently, and this is never something to be ashamed of. I realized that nothing was wrong with my nose and nothing was wrong with my body and it was okay if I wasn’t represented in the media as beautiful. It is my job to define and accept my unique beauty, not my job to meet the standards of the world’s definition of beauty. What I’m saying is, if you think something is wrong with the way you look because it isn’t societies idea of beauty, then you may need to adopt a positive self -image, not get surgery as that won’t fix your low self esteem.  

2.) Is the Problem With My body or my Perception? 

As mentioned above, another question you should ask is whether the problem is with your body or your perception. Whether we like it or not, our perception and self-image is greatly influenced by what other people think. I thought that I wasn’t attractive and wasn’t beautiful because other people told me so. They said I needed to be a few shades lighter and that my nose was too big and because their approval mattered, I believed them and struggled with low self esteem.

So, in light of this, ask yourself whether you don’t like your image because other people don’t like it, or because it doesn’t look like the people that you admire. Are you only getting surgery so that you can feel better about yourself and be liked by others, and if so, why not change those negative perceptions about yourself inwardly before you attempt to do so outwardly? 

3.) How Will This Positively Impact My Life? 

If you do feel you need surgery, think about how it will affect your life. Do you think it will make you feel more accepted, less vulnerable or more liked? Or will it only make you more discontent, encourage low-self esteem and elucidate other imperfections?

Think about what your purpose is in life and how altering your image will help you achieve it. For me, I found the less I focused on how I looked and the more I focused on who I was, the more beautiful and attractive I felt. This quote by Henry Miller resonates with how I feel; 

   “Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music — the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” 

The issue I have with it is the message that it sends to our predecessors? It says that if you don’t like the way you look physically change it. But what happened to dialogue? What happened to reasoning with yourself before making impulsive and life-changing decisions?

The issue I have with it is that it tells younger women that the way they are isn’t okay because it isn’t societies standard of beautiful, and sexy, and attractive. I also feel that it further objectifies women and reiterates the underlining message that a woman being beautiful and attractive is of more value than her being smart and successful; however success is defined. 

For the sake of a balanced discussion, let me put out there that I am not anti-surgery because I would be a hypocrite to say I am. What I am saying in essence, however, is that before you go changing everything about yourself that you don’t physically like, ask yourself hard questions first. Think about what you’d tell your daughter, niece, or younger self if they said that they felt they were too skinny, their butt wasn’t big enough or their tits were too small. Would you tell them to go and get surgery to fix it or to focus less on what the world says they should look like and more on who they are? 

I feel like if women focused more on snatching the mind and spirit instead of the waist, they’d be a lot less inclined to get surgery. As Jada Pinkett-Smith rightly said the other day, self-love is a Process and it isn’t something that happens overnight. You can’t escape the ugliness of it, the hard work, the painful realities, and the transformation that has to take place in your mind so that you learn to love yourself. Plastic surgery is a temporary fix to the permanent problem of low self esteem.