In Defense of Body Modification

tumblr_inline_nmixdmwxZH1ql3ax6_500A furious debate churns constantly in tabloids and Instagram comments: is Nicki Minaj’s magnificent rear end actually real? Are Kylie Jenner’s pillowy lips the result of dermal fillers?

For whatever reason-jealousy? boredom?-people feel entitled to judge other people’s cosmetic decisions, often denouncing them as “shallow” and “fake”.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 15.6 million cosmetic procedures were performed last year, and yes, some of them could have been influenced by society’s crushingly high beauty standards-definitely a negative reason.

But for the average person, going under the knife is a big deal and a very personal decision. Most people don’t change their appearance to please other people, they do it to please themselves, and in these cases, cosmetic surgery is entirely positive.

People modify their body for two main reasons: to change something they’re unhappy with or to decorate themselves. Doing this in small doses, such as wearing false lashes or push-up bras, is widely accepted.

Step over the unspoken boundary, however, and you get criticism. Getting breast implants makes you “shallow” and “insecure”. Getting giant gauges or surgically attached horns makes you a deformity and a freak. People react to surgical modification with anything from mild disapproval to outspoken disgust.

“…promoting insecurity in the form of plastic surgery is infinitely more harmful than an artistic expression related to body modification.” -Lady Gaga

A popular stereotype is that people get plastic surgery because they feel ugly or have low self-esteem. We are often told that we should love the skin we’re born in, which is a pretty unfair suggestion, considering we have very little say in what we look like.

Who we are and how we look are two separate things. We can love who we are but still be unhappy with certain aspects of our appearance. Since our genes give us limited and random physical traits, many people make cosmetic adjustments in an attempt to match their appearance with who they are.

DNA may give us the option of four different hair colors but chemicals can give us any color we wish. You may have inherited a large nose but a good surgeon can reshape it any way you like.

Cosmetic procedures are not always the result of insecurity; they can make people more comfortable with their body or allow self expression. When people choose surgery, the value of their character or their new body should not be up for debate-it is their business alone.

Whether you are “natural” or “fake” should not matter. All beauty should be celebrated, whether it comes from a scalpel or a strand of DNA.

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