The Dark Side of Beauty

Defining beauty isn’t as simple as looking it up in the dictionary. Everyone has their own view of what it means and what it should look like. We’re living in times where there is so much more acceptance of what beautiful can look like. If so, why does beauty keep getting put in one box of possibilities? The more time passes us by, the more ways are created to change the appearance of the human body. Today, it’s unlikely to come across a person who is 100% happy with themselves and never think about making any changes to their body. Women especially. More than ever they’re taking matters into their own hands, or the hands of a surgeon, and making sure those changes take place.

Plastic surgery is performed daily and it’s done all over the world. The age range in girls and women going under the knife are decreasing, while the number of surgeries are going up. Back in 2005 BBC News reported that 40% of teens wanted plastic surgery. This was out of a group of 2,000 girls who averaged about 14 years old. The main cause of them opting for plastic surgery was to resemble the celebrities they saw in the media. With the increasing coverage of the, seemingly perfected bodies, of the women in the media, it’s no wonder plastic surgery is at the tip of many women’s mouths.

The plastic surgery craze doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Heidi Montag, the 23 year old reality star of the MTV hit show the Hills, had 10 procedures done in one day. Some of the things Heidi had performed were, fat injections to her cheeks and lips, chin reduction, and ears pinned back among other things. This was an experience that almost left Heidi dead, yet she says she’d still get more work done.

Naomy DeJesus, 19 year old sophomore said, “I think young girls are getting work done so early because they want the perfect body. It’s a way to feel better about their body.”

Whatever happened to working out and eating better? We’re living in times waiting for things to change is overrated and instant gratification is more popular.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is one of the attributes of the rise in plastic surgery. Mayoclinic.com defines BDD as, ” …A type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance- a flaw either that is minor or that you imagine.” People who suffer from BDD are extremely self conscious and often believe they have a defect in their appearance. Medication and therapy is offered for this disorder, but the easier choice in the minds of people is to get plastic surgery.

Women sometimes strive for the impossible image of what they’ve been programmed to think is “beautiful”. What young girls and women don’t always get to see is the behind the scenes work it takes to for women on TV and magazines to look “beautiful”. Dove has taken a step towards changing the views of what beauty is and raising self confidence in young girls and women. Dove’s campaign consists of programs designed to raise the self esteem of girls, positive advertisements, and a fund to continue their programs running for future young women. With more programs like the one Dove is running, we can change the idea of what beauty is.

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