So I’m procrastinating from my work and finding newspaper articles that get me going …
In general, ok: the message is, essentially, surgery is surgery is surgery, and it’s not a great idea to have it unless you need it.
However. Some bits are less-than-impressive.
In the first place, there’s no real analysis of why women (and all the people who are mentioned in the article as dying following cosmetic surgery are women) might want to have cosmetic surgery in the first place.
Well, there’s the obvious:
You’ll never have Miss World legs:
She had fretted over the size of her thighs for years. “She was very slim on top, but always what I would call hippy – that was just the way she was built. All she ever wanted was to wear nice trouser suits or jeans and look a bit better. When Pauline turned 50, we had built the business up, we had built the house up, we had built the family up, and everyone was getting a bit older, so she said, ‘Right, I’m going to do something for me for once – I’m going to have it done.’
“I was a typical man. I said, ‘What are you wasting money for?'” Alan says. … The surgeon told her she would never have “Miss World legs”, but he would be able to trim them a bit, so that she would feel better.
Being ugly prevents careers:
When she was little, she was teased at school because of her chin, so she didn’t want to let it stand in the way of her career.
Post-childbirth “wrongs” need “correcting”:
She wanted to lose the weight she had gained after having children, and to correct loose skin and scarring on her stomach left by a caesarean section. But according to her father, Eddie Fisher, Lorraine didn’t have much weight to lose. “She weighed just nine-and-a-half stone and was a smashing girl.”
“I just wanted a quick fix after having four babies…”
And cosmetic surgery can fix your problems!
“These people have got a problem, in the main. We have things that can be done to improve their problems. At the end of the day, aesthetic surgery is done for improving quality of life.”
Oh, but not if you’ve got “real” problems…
“We’re not operating on obese people, we are not operating on people who have cancer…”
(Oh, and don’t you love the obese=cancer thing?)
Then there’s the sheer brutality of the surgery itself:
“Routine” breaking of bones:
The eight-hour operation to break and reset Alexandra’s jaw was a routine procedure and part of a long-term plan to correct her jawline. Surgeons initially hailed it as a success, but … [a] freak set of post-surgery complications left her with extensive brain damage and Alexandra died four days afterwards.[my emphasis]
But who’s to blame? Not the surgeons:
The surgeon was tops!
“He said there can always be complications with any operation, but he hadn’t lost anyone yet,” Alan remembers. “He’d done a couple of thousand operations. He was a proper cosmetic surgeon, the top man.”
And they’re careful! At least, they’re good at looking after themselves!
“It is, by definition, surgery of choice, and you don’t do it on people who run significant risks.”
Maybe those stupid women are to blame:
These strong, determined, bitchy women!
“Some people were angry when they found out she’d had the surgery. One of her sisters said, ‘Stupid, stupid woman!’ But nobody blamed me for letting her have it done, because they knew she wanted it, and she was a very strong person.”
They just don’t know what’s good for them!
“I have no doubt of the determination of the deceased when she agreed to go through with major surgery…”
They clearly don’t think about what will happen to the ones they leave behind!
Their loved ones had put themselves at risk voluntarily – and often needlessly – for the sake of looking better. In a way, this robs them of the dignity in death that others who have died suddenly can expect, and makes it especially painful for relatives to go over what happened to them.
Oh, after the fact, maybe they do…
“I had done all this out of vanity and put my family through all that worry. I just wanted a quick fix after having four babies,” she said after the surgery. “I felt so bad when I thought Colin could have lost his wife, my children would have lost their mother, my mum and dad lost a daughter and my sister would have lost her sister. I felt overwhelming guilt at how stupid I had been.”
And what can be done?
It’s ok, the bereaved get some compensation:
“This is the end of a terrible episode for my family,” he said after the court ruling. “The money doesn’t ease the pain. The figure is ridiculous and it is not what I hoped for. But I think I would have been disappointed with any amount.”
(anyone else find the first two sentences of that last triad a little incongruous? Ok, ok, so he was really grieved.)
But ultimately, just say no!
“…the point must be made that all surgery could result in complications with devastating effects. There is no safe surgery.”
(So I actually agree with this … but I hate the way it’s lumped in with everything else!)
So, fatties, don’t get surgery:
There are other options to have you looking your pronolicious best!
But these operations are certainly riskier than having counselling,* wearing control pants, buying a padded bra or going on a diet. As cosmetic surgery becomes an increasingly normal part of our culture, we are in danger of forgetting just what makes it different from conventional beauty treatments: when you sign up for surgery, you risk dying to look good.
Just diet! Dieting’s good for you!
I could go on. But if you’re not convinced, go check out those two awesome blogs.
In case you didn’t notice, what really got me going here was the lack of any sort of acknowledgement of why women might feel pressured to get this sort of surgery done. Those stupid, irrational women who feel like society is telling them they’re too fat, too ugly … they’re lazy if they don’t do anything about it … what do you mean the diet doesn’t work … go on, make yourself beauty for me … for society … don’t shame your family … don’t shame your kids … but darling, no, you don’t need to do it for me … and if something goes wrong, remember your poor family and the shame they’ll suffer that you died as a result of cosmetic surgery! It wasn’t anything you needed after all … What do you mean you feel depressed? Honey, just go on a diet, that’ll make you feel better …
* WTF? Sure, counselling is probably better than cosmetic surgery. But since when was it considered a beauty treatment?
For the record: I do think surgeons should generally be able to conduct risky surgery, with full informed consent, if that’s what the patient really wants … so I don’t mean to blame the surgeons here, certainly not without all the facts! What I’m objecting to is the blame that’s being placed on the women.