Under My Skin

I haven’t posted in more than a few days, for which I feel quite lazy. I certainly have many, many ideas to write about but things like earning a living tend to get in the way and I can end up mentally exhausted.

Any ways… I’ve recently ‘discovered’ ABC iview. I love being able to catch up with TV shows online. I can watch episodes in bed at any time of the night (or day!). Last night, I had a look at Louis Theroux’s documentary Under the Knife. As the title suggests, it’s about surgery i.e. plastic surgery. Crikey! If you’re at all squeamish, beware that this doco contains plenty of scenes in which women’s breasts are sliced, diced and then sewn up again much like a chicken or turkey breast on Christmas Day. I’ve never had a problem with watching footage of surgery but seeing a person’s nipple being cut open and then ‘rearranged’ leaves me feeling quite unsettled. I suppose it’s because the nipple and aureole are such sensitive and delicate parts of the body and to see a woman with healthy breast tissue choose to have this part of herself cut open leaves me feeling quite cold.

In this documentary, not one of the women who underwent breast surgery and/or augmentation actually needed to have their breasts changed. None had lived through a mastectomy or had particularly sagging breasts. I was  incredulous when one of the plastic surgeons stated that a 30 year old woman (whose breasts in my view did not look at all terribly droopy) had significant ptosis (sagging of the breast). But then of course he would say this as his livelihood is dependent on convincing his clients, most of whom are women, that they need to pay him tens of thousands of dollars in order to ‘improve’ themselves.

This plastic surgeon particularly irritated me. He came across as a ‘nice guy’ but actions speak louder than words. This guy actually air punched after successfully completing another breast augmentation. WTF? He kept talking about creating the ‘perfect breast’. That seemed to be his mission as a plastic surgeon. He truly believes that he creates perfect breasts in his operating room. At the same time, footage was shown of his receptionist having her breast augmentation corrected, a procedure that he had performed the first time around. This woman’s enhanced breasts resembled two basketballs stuffed under her chest. I felt ill just looking at them. Her skin stretched tightly over each breast looked painful and far from natural.

As someone who lost a significant amount of weight as a 19 year old after an adolescence of struggles with my weight, I completely understand why people might look to plastic surgery as an antidote to their body image issues. My body is scarred with stretch marks and the ‘perkiness’ of my breasts suffered from the many weight gains and losses. Over the years, I have often questioned my attractiveness and whether I am truly ‘feminine’ because my body (in my view) never seemed to measure up with what I saw in the media. And yes, I have done the online searches for information on plastic surgery and the names of potential surgeons. I’ve never actually gone as far as to book a consultation. The issue of money has stopped me but also another persistent issue has dogged me. What if the surgeon gets it wrong? How can I possibly trust a fallible human being to ‘redesign’ a part of my body that is intimately and inherently mine? Why would I give that power to any other person on this planet?

So when I watch a documentary on body image and plastic surgery such as Theroux’s (which was quite good and recommended viewing), these questions once again come into my consciousness. The majority of plastic surgeons appear to be men and the majority of clients having surgery appear to be women. Men controlling the bodies (and minds) of women. Men giving women ‘perfect’ breasts. Just what is the ‘perfect’ breast and just who gets to decide? Is the ‘perfect’ breast a pumped up bag of silicone shoved under the skin or is it a little saggy, with some stretch marks but free of hardened and permanent scar tissue from multiple plastic surgeries?

So there you have it, just something that got under my skin this week…

What are your views on plastic surgery?

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/docs

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