Why Cosmetic Surgery is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

I stumbled upon a blog post this week called “Cosmetic Surgery Doesn’t Have to Be Shameful"—a manifesto of sorts by Kate Fridkis, an Australian woman who has had plastic surgery and is tired of hearing people talk about it as if it’s some sort of “messy secret.” I love this woman’s perspective on the hypocrisy—and the silliness—of some people’s determination to portray cosmetic surgery as shameful and overly superficial. Here are a few of the points she makes in her piece that I think are particularly worthy of mention: Most people won’t realize you’ve had cosmetic surgery unless you tell them. When people hear the term cosmetic surgery, says Fridkis, all too often they picture “a woman with pushed up, too-round breasts and a stretched, unnatural face.” And that’s the stereotypical image that’s been impressed into the public mind—but it’s a misleading one. If you meet someone who looks like that, it’s because their plastic surgeon isn’t very good, not because they’ve gotten something cosmetic done. You’ve probably met more people than you can count on both hands who have had some sort of plastic surgery procedure performed on them, and it was so subtle that you never even noticed.

Cosmetic surgery shouldn’t be shameful. People can say that appearances don’t matter all they want, but the truth is, in our culture—a culture that, as Fridkis writes, “gossips endlessly about the way women look, and rags ceaselessly on the public women who don't look ‘good enough’”—they do. But honestly, even if we all lived in a world completely devoid of air-brushing and Kate Moss-thin models, what you choose to do with your own body would still be entirely your choice. At the end of the day, if increasing your bust size by a cup or two or getting rid of the bags under your eyes makes you feel good, that’s what counts, and no one should judge you for that. Which brings us to my (and Fridkis’s) last point...

Cosmetic surgery can be empowering. After she underwent rhinoplasty, Fridkis says, she felt like she had taken charge, and it felt good. “I was done worrying about my nose. I had done what I could. I had gone all the way. And I was ready to let it go.” Many patients feel like this after their surgeries—more comfortable, more self-confident, more at peace with their appearance. Even after what would seem to an outsider like a very minor procedure. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The bottom line, says Fridkis, is that “cosmetic surgery shouldn't have to feel like a secret women need to keep.” I couldn’t agree more.