The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Increasing number of makeovers draws media attention

With the Hollywood’s flawless female figures and theassortment reality makeover television shows, plastic surgery hasbecome an epidemic among young people, especially women.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, anon-profit organization that supports members committed toproviding the highest quality patient care through advocacy,education, and research, the number of breast augmentation haveincreased by 24 percent for people of ages 18 and under between2002 and 2003.

Between 1997 and 2003, there has been a 293 percent increase inthe total number of cosmetic surgeries, according to the ASAPS.

Young people often obsess over their flaws, and for people whocan afford this trend, they indulge. They sometimes becomeexcessive with the number of procedures because they are nevercontent with themselves after correcting one flaw.

In 2003, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons,another non-profit organization supporting cosmetic surgeryeducation and research,  reported that the 19-34 age group hadalmost two million cosmetic procedures, which made up 24 percent ofall procedures.

Increased media attention from reality makeover television showshas encouraged this statistic. Reality shows, such as FOX’s”The Swan”, depict women transforming from the uglyduckling to the gracious swan simply by cosmetic surgicalprocedures.

Annalise Ghiz, a sophomore journalism major, believes that thereality makeover shows lead people to focus more on their flaws nowthan if the television shows had not existed.

“The media continues to dwell on perfection and makeeveryone think that they have flaws,” Ghiz said.

Many young women strive to have bodies like young stars, such asBritney Spears or Jessica Simpson. Celebrities are oftenoverexposed through television and magazines, which drives manywomen to the plastic surgeon with a request to mock a star’sbody.

“The media makes us believe that we should look like[celebrities] because the media continually emphasizes howbeautiful they are,” says Ghiz.

Celebrities, such as Melanie Griffith and Queen Latifah, havecomfortably talked about their cosmetic procedures. This has led toa more general acceptance for plastic surgery and allowed people tobe less ashamed of having cosmetic procedures.

“Since people have been coming out about [plasticsurgery], including famous people, it is causing more people toaccept it and want to do it,” says Katie Beerling, asophomore business major.

The increased media attention through television shows andcelebrities has created more of an acceptance for cosmeticprocedures, but self-esteem is also an issue that causes people togo under the knife. Women are willing to invest time and money intotheir appearance to make themselves happier and enhance theirlives. So, if plastic surgery is the key this happiness, women willtake that step.

According to the ASAPS, women made up 87 percent of the cosmeticprocedures in 2003, and the top five surgical procedures womenasked for were liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid

“If [plastic surgery] is what people want to do, theyshould. If they think they will be happier with the surgery, thengo ahead, but they should research the procedure fully beforecommitting to it,” Ghiz says.

However, some people may argue that people considering cosmeticsurgery should be content with the bodies they have and embracetheir flaws as beautiful. Many believe that plastic surgery cannotalways cure people’s unhappiness with their exterior.

“Plastic surgery is unnecessary because people should behappy with the way they were made and focus less on theirflaws,” Beerling argues.

Plastic surgeons often hesitate when young people ask forcosmetic surgeries because their bodies may not be finisheddeveloping, and performing a cosmetic procedure can disrupt aperson’s growth process.

Plastic surgeons are apprehensive about performing a cosmeticprocedure on patients with skewed motivations. Many people seekplastic surgery in search for a cure to a personal problem, butdoctors can usually see a person’s intentions after aconsultation.

Sophomore journalism major Brooke Truesdale agrees that doctorsshould be cautious with younger patients and their intentions forplastic surgery.

“I think it is too young for college-age students to wantplastic surgery because many are not done growing yet,” saysTruesdale.

However, some doctors often take advantage of younger patientsbecause of their lack of knowledge and fulfill the patient’srequest to make money easily.

“Doctors are cashing in on younger patients,” saysTruesdale.

Also, the issue of patient health can go the opposite direction.Many young people opt for cosmetic surgery to prevent future damageto other parts of the body.

Also, many young people must have reconstructive surgery, suchas tumor removal, to ensure better health throughout the course oftheir life.

Truesdale only agrees with plastic surgery “if it [is] forhealth reasons, not a cosmetic procedure, or if it [is]reconstructive.”

With the plethora of weight-loss and exercise programs, peopleturn to plastic surgery for the areas that cannot be alteredthrough diet and exercise.

The ASAPS reported a tremendous growth in body contouringprocedures following weight loss between 1992 and 2003. Accordingto the ASAPS, the breast lift increased 704 percent and the buttocklift increased 526 percent.

Besides appearance motivating people, the lower cost of plasticsurgery has made it more accessible, thus increasing the number ofcosmetic procedures. Many people can also travel abroad tocountries, such as Brazil, and have surgery for an affordablecost.

“Plastic surgery cases have increased because it is lessexpensive now so more and more people are having proceduresdone,” says Truesdale.

As for the future, young people who disagree with cosmeticsurgery may have a different perspective when they are 70 years oldwith wrinkles.

“Right now I would not get [plastic surgery]. I do notthink I would get it in the future, but it is possible,” saysBeerling.

So, when does plastic surgery stop? How young will patients get?Will this trend continue to escalate? These questions are worriesmany people have about the increase of cosmetic surgery among youngpeople. Some say cosmetic surgery is rapidly becoming an activitylike buying a new pair of shoes.

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