Summary: In many cases, we hear stories about plastic surgery patients who are aggressively trying to turn back the hands of time. These stories reinforce a certain view of plastic surgery—and of the type of people who get plastic surgery. But the truth is that plastic surgery to reclaim youth isn’t the only reason that people get plastic surgery. In fact, people are getting plastic surgery these days for a wide variety of reasons, and not just to reclaim the glory days of their youth (though, there is that too).
The Story About Using Plastic Surgery to Reclaim Youth
There’s this story going around the internet about a couple of women who are spending tens of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery in order to be ready for the Coachella music festival held every year in California. In most cases, the story is being sold as a kind of “hot moms spending tons to look young again” kind of thing. And the interviews with the women certainly play that up, spending a lot of time discussing how the older women compete for attention with all the younger women at Coachella (what kind of attention, and its overall value isn’t really discussed).
This seems worth talking about if only because it seems to be perpetuating a notion that this is the kind of thing plastic surgery is typically used to accomplish. I thought that was a notion worth discussing, particularly in the way that—at least in these articles—plastic surgery has been narratively positioned as a kind of mechanism for reclaiming lost youth. Is that what most people use plastic surgery for? Do most people go under the knife in order to relive the glory days of their youth? I’m not so sure, but it’s worth discussing either way. Certainly, there are many reasons people decide to have plastic surgery: let’s look at a few.
Using Plastic Surgery to Bring Body and Mind into Alignment
We’re probably all familiar with the concept of “body image.” If you’re not, body image is, at its simplest, how you look in your mind’s eye. As we all know, our body image and the way we actually look don’t always align. Your body changes in ways you don’t expect, anticipate, or (sometimes) like. For people that have a particularly wide gulf between their body image and the way their bodies actually look, plastic surgery is a way to bridge that divide, to bring body image and the body back into alignment.
For many patients, this creates a significant boost in confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes this is accomplished with a procedure such as a breast augmentation—which increases the size of the bust. And sometimes this is accomplished with a procedure designed to rejuvenate and create a more youthful appearance, such as a tummy tuck. In either case, sometimes it means “turning back the clock,” but other times it means making more fundamental changes—changes that cannot be accomplished with diet or exercise.
Using Plastic Surgery to Rejuvenate the Body
Sometimes, plastic surgery is designed simply to rejuvenate—simply to turn back the clock. Procedures like a tummy tuck or a facelift, for example, are designed to produce a more youthful looking appearance. However, not everyone seeks out that youthful experience to relive the glory days of youth past. In fact, there are many reasons why one would want to look a little bit younger:
- Looking younger can help secure a new job or a promotion
- A more youthful appearance can change the way people treat you
- Seeing a younger reflection in the mirror can give you more confidence and self esteem
- Sometimes, when you look younger it can help you feel younger
- Some people age more quickly than others, and rejuvenating your look can help you look as young as you feel
Of course, there are many other reasons why one might want to remove a wrinkle here or there—or undergo a significant transformation. This is not to take anything away from the women featured in these articles or any of the “hot moms” who are wanting to recapture some of the magic of their youth. It’s just a way of saying that those are not the only stories that plastic surgery has to tell.
What’s Your Plastic Surgery Motivation?
Whether you’re investigating plastic surgery because you want to align your body image and your body (to find your real self, as it were) or whether you want to take a few years off your face (or, you know, both), it’s important to make sure that you’re pursuing your procedures for your own reasons. In other words, it’s important to make sure you’re doing what will make you happy and that you’ve put some thought into what exactly that is.
Frankly, plastic surgery is marketed as many things—and in a way, that’s because it is. Just because one group of “hot moms” is looking to relive the glory days of a Guns ‘n’ Roses concert doesn’t mean that’s on the agenda of every plastic surgery patient. Get your plastic surgery for your own reasons.