I often wonder what happened to the days when society was not so fixated on outward appearance. Our teenagers today are growing up in world in which there is enormous pressure to look a certain way and conform to an ideal set forth by others. In 2009 alone, teenagers 18 years and younger accounted for 2% or 203,308 surgeries of the almost 10 million performed nationwide (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2009). Teenagers have an unrealistic view of the ideal body and undergo cosmetic surgery because of influence from personal relationships, media, and their mental health.
Family should be a main source of strength and guidance for teenagers; however sometimes this relationship may not be so picture-perfect. Teenagers seek parental approval and attention, but if what they receive is criticism and neglect, this will definitely have a negative influence on the way they view themselves (Zuckerman, 2005). According to WebMD (2001), “More teens may be undergoing cosmetic surgery today because their parents have undergone it…” (Is Your Teen Right for Plastic Surgery? , para. 8).
Parents need to be aware of their actions as well as verbal and nonverbal cues as this may provide a factor in their teenager undergoing cosmetic surgery. Acceptance and approval by their peers is very important to teenagers (Henrie, 2010). With this knowledge, people may find an understanding of how peers may provide an influence on why a teenager wants cosmetic surgery. If their peers believed a thin body was the ideal, then teenagers would adopt this ideal for themselves as well (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006).
Another factor that may contribute to a teenager considering cosmetic surgery is the bullying or harassment they endure by peers both in school and out of school. According to the Cosmetic Surgeon (2008), “Children are very cruel and there’s a lot of stigma attached to appearance. ” This statement may be true; however for a child to consider cosmetic surgery because of bullying or harassment endured by one’s peers is absurd. In reality, it is the person or people doing the bullying who need to change, not vice versa.
Today’s teenagers are very much into popular culture and keeping up with the latest trends; whether it is clothing, music, or the hair styles. Teenagers are also very susceptible of idolizing celebrities and wanting to be just like them. Young women who watch television shows that feature women with “curvaceously thin” bodies are likely to accept this as their personal ideal body type (Zuckerman & Abraham, 2008). Woinarowicz (2007), “Teenagers idolize celebrities and want their perfect bodies but do not always realize that celebrities go through many cosmetic surgeries to look like “Barbie” and they used to be imperfect just like them.
Perfection is costly and risky” (para. 11). Not only does idolizing celebrities play a factor, but the media does as well. Cosmetic surgery has been the subject of previously on-air television shows such as “The Swan”, “Extreme Makeover” and MTV’s documentary “I Want a Famous Face. ” Reality shows such as these seem to glamorize cosmetic surgery and give the wrong message to teenagers. “The media is only making teenagers more self-conscious, than they already are, of their bodies and having them wish for a body that is fake and impossible to obtain without having numerous cosmetic surgeries done” (Woinarowicz, 2007, p.3).
When a teenager considers cosmetic surgery and seeks a consultation with a doctor, the doctor should always take into account the teenager’s mental health state. Cosmetic surgery is certainly not the answer to cure mental health problems. Henrie (2008), “Those affected by body image disorders or depression may be particularly vulnerable” (What Are the Risks of Child Plastic Surgery? , para. 6). Because of this vulnerability in our teenagers, parents should seek treatment of counseling with a mental health professional instead of cosmetic surgery to cure their child.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a disorder that may not be familiar to many people. By definition, the term body dysmorphic disorder usually means “A psychiatric disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with imagined defects in physical appearance. People with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are obsessed by the idea that some part of their body — their hair, nose, skin, hips, whatever — is ugly or deformed, when in truth it looks normal” MedicineNet (2003). People who have BDD want cosmetic surgery to fix their imperfections; in reality, they are making their problem worse.
Once they correct one “defect,” they will be fixated on what to correct next (Palkhivala, 2001). Although experts are not sure of the exact cause of BDD, they believe it is linked to problems with serotonin (Nemours, 2010). To treat body dysmorphic disorder properly, a person may need cognitive behavioral therapy or medication (Palkhivala, 2001). According to WebMD (2001), “Our society places a high premium on physical attractiveness and rewards those who are slender, youthful and handsome” (Why Teens Turn to Plastic Surgery, para. 2).
Growing up in today’s society, the last thing a teenager should be concerned about is their outward appearance. Though there are numerous contributing factors to why a teenager may contemplate cosmetic surgery, we should do our part as a society to ensure that we are not a contributing factor. Next time one senses a teenager has issues with their appearance, be pro-active and take action so we may prevent the course of action a teenager may take, which may be cosmetic surgery. References Body dysmorphic disorder. (2003). In MedicineNet. Retrieved from http://www. medterms. com/script/main/art. asp? articlekey=11060 Cosmetic Surgeon. (2008).
Children turn to plastic surgery to avoid bullying, revealed by doctor. Retrieved from http://www. cosmeticsurgeon. co. uk/blog/children-turn-to-plastic-surgery-to-avoid-bullying-revealed-by-doctor/ Dohnt, H. , & Tiggemann, M. (2006). Body Image Concerns in Young Girls: The Role of Peers and Media Prior to Adolescence. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 35(2), 135-145. doi:10. 1007/s10964-005-9020-7. Henrie, J. (2008). What Parents Must Know About Children’s Cosmetic Surgery Read more: http://www. articlesbase. com/health-articles/what-parents-must-know-about-childrens- cosmeticsurgery-306654. html#ixzz0msnnyPTC Under Creative Commons License:
Attribution. Free Articles. Retrieved from http://www. articlesbase. com/health-articles/ What-parents-must-know-about-childrens-cosmetic-surgery-306654. html Nemours. (2010). TeensHealth. Retrieved from http://kidshealth. org/teen/your_mind/body_image/body_image_problem. html# Palkhivala, A. (2001). When surgery can’t make you pretty. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www. webmd. com/news/20010711/when-surgery-cant-make-you-pretty The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. (2009). The mark of distinction is cosmetic plastic surgery. Retrieved from http://www. surgery. org/ WebMD. (2001).