Why would I ever admit that both my mom and I were apparently shallow enough to consider a nose job at 18 years of age the best graduation gift? Why not? Why would I be ashamed to talk – and even blog! – about a surgical procedure that I have never, ever regretted?
See, it’s being debated by many here on Babble – prompted by Ali Wentworth’s confession – why it’s so difficult for women to talk about cosmetic surgery and even to admit a desire to have something done. I love Catherine Connor’s hypothetical conversation among women where it takes some wine for them to open up about the desire to have this and that fixed. I laughed and recognized the situation, but at the same time realized that the scenario wouldn’t necessarily apply to a room full of Latinas.
It’s been reported that out of the 9.1 million cosmetic procedures (both surgical and non) performed in 2011, 8% of those were on Latinas. This leads me to believe that as a group we’re more likely to both engage in conversations about changing our physical appearance and actually going through with it because there’s not a huge cultural stigma attached to it. In fact, according to the New York Times, we Latinas love to fit our own stereotypical mold of having nice boobs and an uplifted butt (JLO, anyone?). Many also hail from two of the top 7 countries with most cosmetic surgeries: Brazil (#4) and Colombia (#5).
Of course, I’m generalizing and drawing my own conclusions. I’m sure I’ll get welcomed comments from amigas who are more feminist in nature, or who completely disagree with any type of alteration to our bodies because we must love ourselves as we are. Yeah, I agree. Yet, if I loved myself as I came from the package I would still be a spoiled brat and many other things I’ll leave for another confession piece.
I am also not scared to generalize because I have seen the trend amongst my own Latina friends and am living proof myself. Going back to my teen nose job, I had it done because I had the choice, not because I hated myself for having a bump on my nose. I probably would still be a happy person with my bump and all, but I honestly have never looked back or thought that focusing on my appearance first made me in any way shallow. Nor have I ever been ashamed to share my nose job story with anyone. In fact, I laugh when people tell me I have a perfect nose and how much it looks like my mom’s (it weirdly does!), and then I tell them it used to have a bump! I just can’t sit there and not share it because that would make me feel fake and shallow.
We can demonize our feelings, insecurities and lack of self esteem as much as we want, but the reality is that it’s a shattered mirror we as women have always lived with. We can blame society for it. We can blame men for it. We can live in a perpetual state of depression because we hate something about us that won’t allow us to integrate as much as we should. Some people have a better self esteem and coping mechanisms, some don’t. So let’s not perpetuate the cycle by also judging those who want and can fix what can be fixed in the exterior. The exterior and the interior are one, after all.
My own confession is that if I could afford it and not be terrified of the procedure, I would get a butt lift and liposuction to suck out my post-pregnancy muffin top in a heartbeat. Seems like I fit the mold, since liposuction is the #1 procedure in this country and butt lifts are one of the two top choices amongst Latinas.
How about you? Are you open about your desire for cosmetic surgery? Have you ever had one? Let´s talk and not be ashamed of our wants!
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Check out the forthcoming book I co-authored, Bilingual is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America.
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