Would you get surgery to change the way you look?
On the surface, it seems like a simple yes or no answer, but nothing about how we look — how women look, especially — is ever so easily addressed. The choice to have plastic surgery, like it or not, goes beyond our self-perception. It extends to our families, our children, our friends, and the narrative of society at large. If a mother is erasing laugh lines or opting for Botox, what does that say about her, and about the influence of beauty standards today? And if it does say anything, is that inherently good or bad?
Our Babble Voices bloggers weighed in on their experiences going under the knife, saying no to surgery, and what they would tell their kids if they asked. Read their thoughts — and tell us what you think — below:
Catherine Connors (Bad Mother Confidential)
Cosmetic surgery! Would you ever do it? Our own dear Ali Wentworth has decided to do it, to address an issue that’s bothered her for forever, and she wants to talk about it, because she couldn’t find anyone who WOULD talk about it when she was trying to figure things out and decide. So. Why don’t we talk about this? Should we change how we (don’t) talk about this?
Ana Flores (Besos)
I have NO problem talking about cosmetic surgery — it’s one topic Latinas are usually open about. In fact, wanna know what my mom gave me as my high school graduation present? A NOSE JOB! Yes, I was 18 and I have never, ever looked back or regretted it.
Rene Syler (Good Enough is Perfect)
I had my eyes done when I was turning 40. I’m a believer in it … IN SMALL DOSES.
Ciaran Blumenfeld (Casa de Chaos)
I had my turkey wattle zapped, Ana’s had a nose job, Rene had her eyes done. Dude, we’re the plastics! I am having hard time with my 15 year-old’s request for a nose job [though], even though I had work done …
Joanne Bamberger (Pundit Mom’s Spin Cycle)
I’m afraid to even do Botox!
Jeanette Kaplun (Mamifesto)
I started doing Botox a few years ago for my frown lines between my eyes. Have not regretted it at all, but when it comes to anything more invasive, I chicken out.
Asha Dornfest (The Accidental Expert)
Both my mom and MIL have strongly encouraged [plastic surgery] over the years from the perspective that “I deserve it.” I would rather spend that money elsewhere, and, after two C-sections, I’m not eager for more abdominal surgery. But I appreciate that the reason behind their encouragement is self-care.
Roxanna Sarmiento (The Frog & Snail Society Page)
My mom’s wondering when I’m going to get my tummy tuck. She thinks I’ve earned it.
Although I have been toying with [the idea of getting] Juvederm for frown lines, but my dermatologist says not until PunditGirl [my daughter] gets married!
Magda Pecseyne (Moxieville)
I am actively losing weight and saving money with the goal of corrective abdominal surgery (a.k.a. tummy tuck).
Katherine Stone (Something Fierce)
I’ve never done anything, but I’m ALL for it. I’m 43 and now have a permanent frown line on my forehead that makes me look perpetually angry. I hate it.
Both my mom and sister have had tummy tucks. Severe stretch marks run in the family, I guess. I’d totally do it, but I don’t know where they’d find un-stretch-marked skin. The thought of the surgery is terrifying, but I really miss having a belly button.
I’m actually in need of a nose job (the inner part) and too scared to do it. Actual surgery terrifies me. I’d rather live with my baby belly than face the knife and anesthesia. Not to mention the expense.
Jane Roper (Baby Squared)
I secretly want a chin tuck (or whatever you call it) in a few years, but feel like that would make me a Bad Feminist. I hate that our culture [values] youth/beauty in women above intellect and accomplishment. At the same time, I get caught up in it.
I also said I would never have any “work” done, but I increasingly find myself in front of the mirror pulling back certain parts of my skin to see what I used to look like without the wrinkles. I think part of my issue now is I don’t feel like I’m the age I am … I don’t feel like I remember my mother being/acting at the age I am now … Should I be able to look the age I feel?
Roxanna Sarmiento (The Frog & Snail Society Page)
Surgery is something I’d consider (or not) for my own reasons. Because the way I look and present myself to the world belongs to me alone.
Alice Bradley (Write Anyway)
Personally, I can’t imagine any kind of elective surgery, because I’m a huge fraidy-cat and I have a latex allergy so I’m pretty sure just walking into a hospital will kill me dead. Botox and assorted in-office procedures just sound terrible to me and also I will probably end up being allergic to those and get Lumpy Face Syndrome, a name they will coin after I end up with it. That said, I think anyone can do whatever the f&*k they want with their bodies.
Eden Kennedy (The Popcorn Whisperer)
About five years ago I went through a phase of really dealing deeply with how I wasn’t young and cute anymore, but how now I’m really strong and so much healthier than I ever was in my youth, so f%^k it. Also, I live in Southern California and see the wreckage that’s become of a lot of women who have work done, because once you start, you have to maintain it, or you get lopsided — you have young eyes but saggy cheeks, and then you have to make your chin match your forehead, and OH GOD, NOT THE LIPS.
Alli Worthington (This is Alli)
I can’t say that as procedures become safer and affordable, that I wouldn’t have work done as I age. In short, I wish our culture was not so image obsessed, but I won’t judge because I know I may have a wrinkle or two taken care of down the road.
Tanis Miller (Hogwash From a Hoser, Redneck Mommy Style)
I had a son who suffered from complete facial paralysis. No smiles, frowns, expression. No blinking, no squinting, no blowing kisses. Just nothing. The idea of willfully injecting toxins into my face to paralyze it, or fill in wrinkles or anything else is completely absurd to me after seeing what he went through and what people with his condition continue to go through. As for surgical procedures to look better, no thanks.
Tsh Oxenreider (The Dsh with Tsh)
Life is so short, we all age and change and morph and are pawns to gravity, and there are so many other things I’d rather spend my hard-earned money on. I’m going to have to play this card and say I just think of all the millions and millions of people around the world who don’t have electricity or running water or parents, and they would be on my mind too heavily if I ever considered elective surgery.
Cassandra Barry (More Stories About Some Kid)
Plastic surgery may be a financial indulgence but so are a lot of other things Americans spend their money on. We all have our frivolous things that we spend money on to make ourselves feel better. It may be something as small as dessert or cable TV or as big as a BMW SUV or a vacation.
I’d also like to take a minute to defend southern California. We have a reputation for harboring the duck- lipped, big-boobed Real Housewife type. But you’ll rarely find those types outside of Beverly Hills/Bel Air. Silverlake people look a lot like Brooklynites.
Charlie Capen (Night of the Living Dads)
I love the idea that we should live our lives as artwork, seeking out an aesthetic existence. I wish I were better at that, but I can also see the inherent trap in that kind of thinking. Our creativity and sense of beauty has been turned against us to a large part degree and our addiction to it has definitely coincided with manipulated imagery and the technical ease of “fixing” yourself. I’ve wondered if men and women looked at statues during the Renaissance and compared themselves as critically as we do now.
Dan Pearce (Danoah Unleashed)
I think the acceptability of plastic surgery is completely different for every person.
Take for example my lats and upper torso. I used to weigh 120 lbs. more than I do right now. I have worked for seven years now to shape my body through intense workout and excellent diet. But, literally no matter what I do, I will always have these big flabby lats that are left over as well as some extra pockets of pudge. And one day (when I have some extra cashola) I’m going to get them fixed as a reward for all my hard work.
I have another friend, a best friend, who also works out hard every single day to keep the pounds off. She literally had no breasts. And for ten years I’ve seen it eat away at her confidence, her self-esteem, and her ability to feel feminine. She finally went and got a reasonable augmentation and I saw her confidence level go through the roof. She’ll suddenly do things and go places she never would before. And I love it. She’s a whole different person.
Ellen Seidman (1,000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood)
I used to be six feet tall, blond and Protestant but now I am 5’2, brunette and Jewish. A plastic surgery cautionary tale.
I had some Botox done on my eyes in a Bride-zilla fit of primping. I didn’t even NEED it back when I married. In my wedding photos, my eyes really aren’t smiling. Only I notice, but it’s bugged me. I’ve never had anything done since, and I’m lucky because age has been slow to catch up with me. Also, I’m only 23. (Spread, rumors, spread!!!)
I know that there are a lot of good injectables out there these days and that science will keep getting better, so if and when wrinkles or sag ever get to me I’ll be able to get a natural-looking fix if I want it. It’s good to have options.
Do the opinions of your partner or your kids matter when it comes to plastic surgery? What would your partner say if you said you wanted a procedure done? Check out what our Babble Voices bloggers have to say on Monday!