Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Going Under the Knife

I have often wondered if one could be a feminist and still undergo cosmetic surgery.

When I was much younger I desperately wanted a nose job. And for pretty good reason. My nose was the second thing on my body to grow. First my feet (a women’s size eight in the third grade) and then my nose; I was all nose until I was about 18 when the rest of my face caught up and I returned to looking normal, even pretty.

But I read somewhere that your nose and ears are the two things that continue to grow as you age and so sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror wondering if my nose has grown since the day before. I am terrified of returning to the days where my face is all nose.

And so I think, maybe I should get a nose job. Shrink it down a bit so that when I am older and it is fully grown, it is still a normal respectable size.

Or would Rhinoplasty halt its growth, in which case could I get a nose job that would just give me my current nose?

In my head, a nose job seems no more dangerous to the feminist movement than stilettos. But what about a boob job? Because I have thought about getting one of those as well. Particularly during bikini season when I look around at all the other girls at the pool and then look down at my barely there chest and wonder what if?

Though, I doubt I would be able to make it through the consultation, however. In addition to a never-stop-growing nose, and way-too-small-to-fill-out-an-unpadded-bikini-top breasts, I have a tragic bite; not an overbite or an under-bite, but a tragic bite. According to my dentist, your lower teeth are suppose to line-up just behind your upper teeth. Mine line-up exactly under, causing tragedy, I suppose. Anyway, he recommended I see an orthodontist about it, and the orthodontist suggested braces. Which was upsetting enough. But then he added that if after my bite was corrected, I was still unhappy with my chin, we could add collagen to fill out my upper lip and balance out my mouth.

Umm, I never said I was unhappy with my chin. Christ, what’s wrong with my chin?

I left the office crying before he could start circling my fat with a black magic marker.

Of course I can rationalize both a boob and nose job (and now a chin job). After all, are the reasons behind it really any different than my reasoning for shaving my legs? Wearing make-up? Getting my hair done? Having my teeth whitened? Spending way too much money on moisturizers that promise to undo the damage years of sun exposure and smoking have already done to my skin (even if I can’t see the damage yet)?

But on the other hand, it is elective surgery. And all surgeries come with risks and am I willing to risk a plastic surgery addiction (because we all know I have a very highly addictive personality) just so I can be happy with myself. And am I really not happy with myself or am I just worried that society (and some stupid doctors) think I should be unhappy with myself.

And now I have a headache. Man, society sucks.


Merideth said...

I feel your pain. I wonder if getting bariatric surgery makes me anti-fat.

However, all this talk about what is and isn't feminist pisses me off. I have a Women's Studies degree and after 4 years of studying feminist theory, I came to the following conclusion: the feminist movement, at it's core, was all about the right to choose. Choose what happens to your body, what happens to your money, what happens to your life. So if you think it through, and you choose to have a nose job? Because it's the right choice for you? Feminist choice.

My definition is probably over simplified, and ignores many nuances. However, I think it works. :)

TheNYCourier said...

I never enjoyed makeup, teeth whitening, or plastic surgery, not that I haven't considered the same procedures as you have (minus the boob job).

I have a very ethnic nose, one I've always despised. But, when I look back on it, I realize it makes me different, which is why I will never have it done. Obviously anyone can do whatever they like, but I always tried to see why I didn't like my nose in particular, and, ultimately, it was because so many people had said something. There's no reason one should be unhappy with his/her body, as, usually, it's other people who pressure you into thinking that. So, I guess it can be construed as anti-feminist to get plastic surgery, as you are forfeiting your right of choice to accept yourself for the way you are.

I mean, even if we corrected the entire world through a combination of cosmetic surgery and eugenics, we'd probably still find something to be unhappy with ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Save your energy for when you need knee replacements and tooth implants. I'm serious. It comes to pass.

Anonymous said...

Dont' do the boobs. You're a runner. Big boobs bounce more. Plus natural boobs are just that, natural.

And if the teeth aren't causing problems, don't worry about them. What a frickin jerk that orthodontist is! Find a different one if you do decide to get braces. Don't give him any of your money.

Love your blog. Thank Tom & Lorenzo.

Tina Marina said...

We are the same person. Not literally, of course, and not even vaguely. I wouldn't give you that disrespect.

But still. I don't see why it's antifeminist to want to look like the best woman possible. Yet I still have such guilt any time I think about putting on eyeliner, let alone going under the knife (points for title mention!).

I'm a bit more on the lazy and vain side - I've always debated getting liposuction since I cannot lose those last five pounds - and I did get braces in middle school. In fact, after I got them off, it permanently made my cheeks look gigantic and chipmunk-y, especially in pictures.

So you made the right choice in avoiding that bullet.