Smoking Mirrors: Glorifying Vanity Above All and Cosmetic Surgery becomes a Religion

I do clarify this article is not intended to shame plastic surgery. I’m writing this article to caution the public that if one desires to go under the knife; it is crucial to go to a certified doctor. Beware of malpractice.

“Like an apple is my face!” the Korean sensation, Kwang Hee gleefully promotes in a 30 second commercial for the Special One: Korean Plastic Surgery. The idealism of a flawless body has blended into Korean culture quickly. In fact, Korea surpassed Brazil as the new heaven of cosmetic procedures. The surprising factor is what Dr. Anthony Youn for CNN points out. Youn claims that younger generations are going under the knife. He explains,

Plastic surgery is hot in Asia. One in five South Korean women from 19 to 49 have undergone cosmetic surgery, according to a 2009 survey from market-research firm Trend Monitor. That’s reportedly compared to about one in 20 in the United States.

Females and men in South Korea have one goal in mind: the absolute beauty.  But, what is this ideal? Commonly, Korean Pop stars are open about their cosmetic procedures. And, their looks are influential because it is not a taboo topic. For example, shows like Let Me In focuses in transforming ugly ducklings into beautiful men and women. (Not so different from the early 2000s American show called, The Swan.) Yet, there is a staggering effect because this obsession may lead to dire consequences.

For instance, some experts have said that many patients have Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). An example of BDD appears in the reality show called Botched. Doctor Nassif and Doctor Dubrow have rejected patients with this condition because they explain the patient may never be satisfied with the result and they need to seek therapy.

Yet in the opposite spectrum, there are millions of people who feel accomplished with their many surgeries like Justin Jedlica. In the last 15 years, he has gone under the knife more than 150 times. On his recent quest, Jedlica wanted to remove the veins from his forehead. Although this surgery may lead to blindness, he wants to become one-hundred percent plastic (Huffington Post). People like Justin may call BDD rubbish, but when will his Human Ken goal end?

Whether cosmetic surgery is for vanity or for medical reasons – The fact that in South Korea alone, plastic surgery is a 33 billion dollar business; this also shows that a large amount of the population  (foreigners and locals) are unhappy with their natural features. An extreme case is the 2012 lawsuit in China: Feng vs. Feng.

Mr. Feng married a beautiful woman (which he claims he married her out of love in his interview for the Irish Times) and their fairytale marriage started to end with the birth of their daughter. He suspected his wife had an affair because their daughter is “extremely ugly.” The result of this saga is the controversial decision of the judge favoring the husband because she omitted that she had cosmetic surgery before meeting him. Sadly, their children will learn sooner or later that their father rejected them because they are “unattractive”. As a result, more adults would like for their children to go under the knife, Dr. Youn found this reality very disturbing after he read an email from a possible patient. He reads,

I received a request from a mom to perform an Asian eyelid surgery on her son. “He really wants the surgery done,” the mother said. “He wants to look handsome.” Then I found out her son was only 8 (CNN).

How influential is plastic surgery? Extremely, but Eunjeong, a Korean artist claims that people are not obsessed by the actual surgery; people are obsessing with their looks (SBS). This effect is not entirely different of women wanting to look like Pamela Anderson back in her Baywatch era. Still, it seems that in every country, their definition of beauty varies; however, in this variation a drastic outcome catches the press attention like the recent case of the Brazilian model, Andressa Urach.

Back in November, she was in life-support fighting for her life. The model and reality-television star was an advocate of plastic surgery. In People Magazine, Urach  survived a deadly malpractice. The article reveals,

Brazil’s Plastic Surgery Society claimed that Urach was given a dose of silicone gel 200 times the amount that the government permits and that doctors allegedly used a hydrogel not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the AP.

Urach regrets her poor judgment and glorifying vanity above all. She risked her life for a contest called, Miss Bum Bum. After her surgical disaster, she’s not fully recovered. Now, she speaks against this fixation and warns the public based on her experience. Recently, she protested in RedeTV! about the cultural view of beauty in Brazil. She said, “Society, which unfortunately holds a standard of beauty in which you have to be perfect.” At the age of 27 years-old, Urach is aware she’ll never be the woman she was once before. Nonetheless, she made a promise to herself to never treat her body like a product.

Her promise made a resounding effect in my mind because it made me wonder. Are people losing their identity through surgery because they see their bodies as a product? Taking in consideration the K-Pop Effect, are men and women viewing surgery as a religion? It has been proven that when an individual has a goal in mind – he or she might take dangerous measures to meet his or her ambitions. Such as Lance Armstrong, all he wanted to become the number one cyclist and he achieved it. He fooled everyone for several years and dodged previous accusations successfully. Then, in 2011, the USADA accused him of using drugs to enhance his performance and the lawsuit proceeded. Finally, in 2013, Lance publicly acknowledges during an interview with Oprah Winfrey his side of the story (Armchair Spectator). Armstrong decisions were dangerous like excessive surgery – the ending result will have one outcome. Sometimes, the finish line is a deadly one.

In the end, if one decides to go under knife for vanity or for medical reasons –it is up to the individual’s judgment. Regardless of what I’ve written here, I am not demonizing cosmetic procedures. Take in consideration, the pros and cons of each procedure and the reason behind this decision. The worst case scenario is getting cosmetic surgery to satisfy somebody else’s desire or based on a criticism. Another advice I want to give is be careful of a fake prophet. There a billions of surgeons illegally operating worldwide. When surgeries are inexpensive, be wary of this offer because it is likely the doctor is an unlicensed surgeon. Even if the procedure is within the USA or overseas, it is imperative to know who the doctor is and if their record is clean. Even if it’s a Botox shot, be sure it is the real thing and not a substitution like cooking oil. Above all, be sure to take the route that is best for you without compromising your identity, your dignity, and above all your life.

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Sources                Full Transcript: Lance Armstrong on Oprah By Denis Mahon                                                                              Asia’s ideal beauty: Looking Caucasian By Dr. Anthony Youn                                                                                                                                 Botched Before and After: Breasts, Noses and Even a Butt—See the Recap! By Carrie Dilluvio                            Man sues wife; claims ‘ugly’ baby born horrifies him By Bruce Baker                                              Brazilian Model Andressa Urach Opens Up About Her Plastic Surgery Disaster By Jacqueline Andriakos                                                                             The K-Pop Effect By Jeannette Francis


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