Discussion: To Nip-and-tuck, or not to Nip-and-tuck…

By Jamie Romas

“I just know no matter how good I feel about myself, if I see Christy Turlington, I just want to give up!” – Charlotte York, Sex and the City

When I was younger, I spent hours flipping through the pages of VOGUE, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Fashion magazines were an escape from reality for me and countless other little girls. Probably some little boys, as well.

The supermodels in these magazines dated rock stars, swigged champagne, and notoriously didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. By contrast, I was a bespectacled bookworm with a mouthful of braces and an unfortunate mushroom cut. Don’t blame me; I went to the salon with a photo of Linda Evangelista and left looking like Dorothy Hamill.


As I got older, the glasses were replaced by contacts, the braces came off, and I became acquainted with a very capable hairstylist. I came to terms with the fact that I was never going to look like a supermodel – at least not without a serious diet and some plastic surgery. I’m kidding, of course; but for many, surgery is a quick – if expensive – way to get the look they want.

In 2009, more than 12.5 million Americans had some type of cosmetic surgery, with breast augmentation being the most popular procedure, followed by liposuction, eye lifts, nose jobs, and tummy tucks (Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons). Plastic surgery was once the exclusive domain of Hollywood starlets and trophy wives. Now everyone from housewives to teenagers goes under the knife – and it’s not always pretty.

For every tastefully done nose job, there’s a Heidi Montag lurking in the wings. Montag, who was a cute, blonde eighteen-year-old when we met her on The Hills, had ten cosmetic procedures in one day, earning her the nickname “Franken-Heidi.” Among other things, she got size F implants, which prevent her from jogging or hugging people, and she also had her back carved. What does that even mean???

Obviously, Montag is an extreme example. Not everyone who gets cosmetic surgery is insecure, superficial, or destined to look like Joan Rivers. I know plenty of women who have had work done and look great. Although plastic surgery seems out of the question at this point in my life, who knows how I’ll feel about the topic when I’m fifty, and gravity begins to take its toll? We can’t all age like Sophia Loren, you know.

But I’m a little concerned about a society in which going under the knife is the norm, as opposed to the exception. In the distant future, will we all look like Franken-Heidis? Will imperfect noses and small breasts become a thing of the past? Take Barbra Streisand, for example. I can imagine that if she were starting her career today, some music executive in a suit would tell her to “fix” her nose – which, in my opinion, is her best feature (excluding her voice, of course).

There’s just something really cool about someone who accepts his or her imperfections. Look at Spanish actress Rossy DePalma. With her exaggerated features, DePalma doesn’t exactly fit mainstream definitions of beauty. And yet, her ”Picasso-like” face was precisely the reason director Pedro Almodovar noticed here in a café. If she were just another pretty girl, he would have walked right past her.

And even if I could have waved a magic wand (or scalpel) and transformed my thirteen-year old self into a supermodel, I still wouldn’t have gotten what I really wanted, which was to feel beautiful. As I learned years later, that has nothing to do with the way you look to others, and everything to do with the way you look at yourself.

EDITOR’s NOTE: So what do you think? Is plastic surgery (for pure aesthetic reasons) ok or shallow? C’est la vie or just plain sad? Where do we draw the line? How do we teach our daughters to do the opposite of what Heidi Montag did? Leave a comment below or email us at girlsonthegrid AT gmail DOT com.

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4 Comments

  1. shelly says

    I think minor adjustments overall are sad and shallow. They dont put any effort into finding themselves; they just let society tell them who they are and/or should be. Then, they go to the doctor with a pic, and say, “here, make me like this because that’s what society wants and I have no idea what i want.”

    I think that the exceptions are totally worth it: people that have lost a significant amount of weight, reductions for back problems, or implants for cancer survivors, or reconstruction after a bad accident. These make people feel whole AGAIN, not just hollow and “whole.”

  2. Caroline Silveira says

    I’m not a plastic surgery fan only because people usually end up looking weird and not like themselves. It’s usually so obvious, and doesn’t make them look better. My goal is to be happy and healthy and see how far that gets me in avoiding that feeling of needing or wanting plastic surgery to make you look or feel younger or more beautiful.

  3. Kitty Tate says

    I think that women should focus on supporting each others freedom to make these decisions instead of calling another women shallow because she would prefer to have DD breasts. I support all women in doing whatever they want to their own bodies! Let’s stop being so judgemental of each other.

  4. Plastic Surgery says

    The plastic surgery has some obvious procedure which is everyone has to follow in order to give the patient their desired face without causing much lower pain.
    Your post is fueld up with quite good stuff and i would like to read it again and again. Please continue to post like such an amazing post.

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