More than ever, millions of young adolescents are seeking out plastic surgery because the influence of the media. Teenagers are finding more imperfections with their body and are less and less satisfied with their appearance. President Scott Spear, MD, chief of plastic surgery says, “There’s a common belief among the public that a large percentage of young adults and teens are having cosmetic surgery” (Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week). Despite the low percentage, young adults are considering getting face-lifts, breast implants, nose jobs, and liposuction.
Advancements in technology have made it possible to receive these kinds of cosmetic procedures. Studies have shown that the media’s influence has made it seem more acceptable within society. The pressure of being good-looking and maintaining a presentable look comes mainly from the media; television shows such as, I Want a Famous Face and The Swan attract individuals’ vanity and desire to look perfect. MTV’s I Want a Famous Face documents several young adults as they endure plastic surgery to look like their favorite celebrity.
The show also makes a participants dream come true. A few of the contestants on the show want to be the next Julia Roberts or Britney Spears, but feel as if their physical appearance is holding back their stardom. The young adults will stop at nothing to look like their favorite superstar. The show documents the journey of twenty two-year old twins from Arizona, Mike and Matt. Their dream is to become a famous actor and attract women. Mike and Matt believe cosmetic surgery will help them boost their career.
Looking far from Brad Pitt, “Mike opted for a nose job, jaw implants, cheek implants, and a chin implant, setting him back twelve thousand dollars. Matt needed less work; a nose job and chin implant, at a cost of nine thousand dollars. Both also had the appearance of several teeth improved with pricey porcelain veneers” (Martin 1). After the surgery, the twins were ebullient with their end results. Although, Mike and Matt do not look like their idol, their physical appearance has improved.
They are out more frequently because they have confidence and feel good about themselves. Another episode involved a young girl named Jeannette, who wanted to look like Kate Winslet. Jeannette already had some surgery done prior to the taping of the show. She had gastric bypass operation which helped her lose over one hundred pounds. However, Jeannette was still not satisfied with her appearance and wanted more done. To look like her idol, Jeannette underwent breast implants and a tummy tuck. I Want a Famous Face documented the surgery and her recovery.
Before the surgery, Jeannette was insecure and had low self-esteem. After her recovery, Jeannette was satisfied with her new look and had no regrets about going through with the procedure. The show is disturbing and truly appalling. The vast majority of its viewers are young adolescents, the show is sending out the wrong message by promoting plastic surgery to their viewers. Although, Mike, Matt, and Jeannette were happy with their results, other people with similar goals did not have a positive experience.
An individual going into surgery must remember, “plastic surgery is an imperfect medical art and somewhat more complicated than one might assume, given its growing status” (Martin 2). Plastic surgeries can go wrong, for instance, “the story of one young man who, in an effort to resemble actor Ryan Philippe, borrowed five thousand dollars, chose the surgeon in the yellow pages who was closest to his home and had a nose job. He ended up with serious debt, a crooked nose, strange looking nostrils, low self-esteem and perpetual “squishy sounds” in his head” (Martin 2).
It is outrageous that several individuals feel as if undergoing plastic surgery will help his/her chances of becoming a star. Another television show entitled, The Swan, revolves around seventeen unattractive women. Viewers watch as the women go through massive amounts of surgery, therapy, and an image transformation. Kristy Garza says, “I wanted to look more like a woman. Now I turn heads. It feels so good” (Shute 52). “Kristy endured nine hours of surgery that included a nose job, brow-lift, mid-face-lift, breast augmentation, and liposuction” (Shute 52).
Throughout the procedure, the women were not allowed to look at any mirrors until they were turned into a swan. At the end of each episode, the women were finally allowed to look at themselves and be reunited with their family. However, it did not stop there, the women must now compete in a beauty pageant and one winner will be crowned Mrs. Swan. Obviously, shows such as The Swan and I Want a Famous Face aim for high ratings, however, the media is teaching young adults that changing their physical appearance is acceptable and it is more important to be happy with your looks.
Basically, if an individual does not look like the next Tyra Banks, it is acceptable to spend hundreds of dollars to look like a swan. Most of the participants on The Swan feel as if by going through cosmetic surgery it will make them feel better about themselves. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “more than eight million people underwent cosmetic surgery in 2003, up thirty three percent from the year before” (Shute 52). Cosmetic surgery is available to just about anyone that is willing to be in debt and has some free time for recovery.
For instance, Phyllis Bradshaw decided she wanted to look better after her children moved out, “she went in for surgery to remove excess skin from her upper eyelids” (Shute 53). After the surgery, “she liked the results so much that she decided to have her neck and stomach done, too” (Shute 53). Bradshaw stated, “I’m not trying to look gorgeous, I’m just trying to get rid of the things that are hanging” (Shute 54). Bradshaw became addicted to cosmetic surgery and even borrowed twenty thousand dollars from the bank.
Bradshaw says, “I never thought much about plastic surgery before, but it is amazing how many people are doing it now” (Shute 54). It is astonishing that Americans are in a hurry to get plastic surgery. With more and more people wanting plastic surgery, there are still many risks to consider. Rod Rohrich, a plastic surgeon states, “The public is being lulled into the sense that there are no real risks or complications. We’re already seeing the impact. I have patients saying they want all these things done in one operation, and you can’t safely do it.
It’s not like buying groceries or shoes. You can take those back. You can’t take your face back” (Shute 54). Even though the media does not always show the negative aspects of plastic surgery, it does not mean it is not out there. Plastic surgery has killed a few people, for instance, “on May 14 2004, the state of New York fined Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital twenty thousand dollars for “egregious violations” in safety procedures that led to the death of two women following plastic surgery, including Olivia Goldsmith, author of The First Wives’ Club.
In Florida, the deaths of eight patients in the past 18 months prompted officials to impose a three-month ban on combined tummy tucks and liposuction. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating eleven cases of rare, life-threatening infections after people traveled to the Dominican Republic for cut-rate cosmetic surgery” (Shute 54). The risks of surgery are dangerous. Studies have shown that “liposuction is also the most dangerous cosmetic procedure out there. Complications include clots that travel to the lungs, organ puncture, and infection, all of which can be fatal.
No national tally of liposuction complications exists, but data gathered in the 1990s put the death rate as high as twenty per one hundred thousand” (Shute 55). An individual can go to the best doctor in the country and something can still go wrong, for instance, “anesthesia always poses some danger and people with health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure are more at risk” (Shute 55). Accidents do happen and it is unfortunate that the media does not show what can go wrong with plastic surgery. Society is obsessed with good looking people.
For example, in the workplace such as sales, managers will most likely hire a handsome young man or a gorgeous young lady because people are more likely to buy from a good looking person. Therefore, older individuals are also going under the knife to bring back their youth, however, that is not always the case. Studies show that, “last year twenty four percent of those getting plastic surgery were under thirty five years of age” (Shute 56). Women under the age of thirty five are getting minor work done such as nose jobs. They want to feel good about themselves and not be insecure about their looks.
The media has influenced us in more ways than one. For years, covers of magazines have shown models, actresses, and singers showing off their gorgeous bodies. The images of the models and actresses have the average woman wanting plastic surgery. Due to the large impact of the media, Americans are running left and right to get that perfect body or face. It is sad to see that society has come to this, to go as far as spending thousands of dollars to have that famous face. The demand for the surgeries will only increase. Men are also joining the millions of women who undergo plastic surgery.
Hopefully, individuals will soon realize that plastic surgery is unnecessary; however, the media will always influence our perceptions and revolve around our lives. Works Cited “Cosmetic Surgery; Epidemic of cosmetic procedures among young adults a myth. ” Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week. 26 Mar. 2004: ProQuest. FDU Lib. , Madison, NJ. 19 Mar. 2005 . Shute, Nancy. “Makeover Nation; Americans are opting for cosmetic surgery in record numbers. But do they know the risks? ” The U. S. News and World Report. 31 May 2004: Vol. 136, Iss. 19. ProQuest. FDU Lib. , Madison, NJ. 19 Mar. 2005. .