[Opinion] Plastic surgery creates false standards and harms teenagers’ self image


Natalie Nguyen

Beauty standards set by celebrities drive young adults to plastic surgery.

Mariana Neri Sapori, Writer

For many years, people have been attempting to alter their appearance to satisfy society’s beliefs that flaws need to be corrected in order to be considered “attractive.” With improved medical technology, plastic surgery has created false expectations and competition among specific groups, such as teenagers.

When someone is conflicted with their body image, they may look at websites or advertisements focused on how to fix that empty feeling they get when thinking they are not enough. The obsessive cycle of perfection begins by going to the surgeon’s office and scheduling an appointment.

If the financial costs were not enough, consider how denying having an operation done when you have had one can harm teenagers. Many celebrities on Instagram, such as Kylie Jenner and Madison Beer, have denied having plastic surgery done while continuing to post on social media platforms. This creates false expectations for how a young adult naturally develops and could create a toxic, or false comparison between themselves and their favorite idols.

Many reasons why plastic surgery has negative effects are because it can lead to emotional damage and can also harm one’s physical health. There is always a risk of infection, scarring or the procedure not going how the patient wanted it to. Some may be unsatisfied with their results, or even regret it after another beauty trend rises on social media. For example, in the 2000s the beauty standard for women were small hips and a small chest. Now, having a curvier figure is the beauty trend.

The idea of plastic surgery comes with its consequences. According to a plastic surgery organization called CocoRuby, some believe that these procedures cause an increase in their confidence levels. While this can apply to some, it is not guaranteed that one will maintain that confidence throughout their lifespan.

Another factor that supports the negative impact of plastic surgery is the impossible “picture-perfect” look it portrays. The ideology that one must be perfect in order to be successful leaves people unaware that things are not always what they seem, possibly projecting insecurities to those who lack self-esteem.

Thousands of dollars can be quickly spent when someone obsessively schedules appointments to the surgeon’s office. As mentioned earlier, competition plays a big role in today’s society. Many people, especially women, will turn against themselves and continue to get operations done in order to one-up other women in society and become “the beauty standard.”

For example, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS), the popularization and overall spread of plastic surgery has made the U.S. the country with the most plastic surgery operations. This country has reguralized the idea that in order to fulfill their emotions, they need to be the best version of themselves physically. Often enough, this belief can impact people’s mental health and their own self image.

Overall, plastic surgery comes with benefits for some, but issues for others. Youth groups specifically struggle with self-esteem and the pressure to fit in to those around them. Either mentally or physically, serious health issues can follow along with the operations. These surgeries may also impact easily influenced individuals. Despite the normalization of plastic surgery on people who wish to fit beauty standards, it can be incredibly harmful to the younger communities around them, such as easily-influenced adolescents.