Plastic surgery and feminism sound like two separate entities that should never meet.
Plastic surgery and feminism sound like two separate entities that should never meet. Certainly, strident feminists would see plastic surgery, especially ops such as boob jobs, as pandering to the male gaze—a product of an image-obsessed culture that dictates that women must look perfect at all times.
I can, of course, see their point. It can sometimes be difficult to reconcile the words “But it’s for myself – honest!” with a new set of bazoomas, or even modified genitals. Many people simply fail to believe that a woman would fork out thousands of pounds for a set of new labia if it were not to benefit some man—after all, who really sees your bits apart from the people you’re screwing? There’s no counterargument, right?
I’m not so sure. While of course, it’s a murky area, a part of me thinks that if something makes you feel good about yourself, then who is anybody to take that away from you? If I look in the mirror every day and despise my tiny boobs (trust me they’re not tiny, I bloody wish they were!), feel that clothes hang awkwardly off them, and feel unfeminine and boyish, would it really be so bad of me to look into getting a boob job?
Deciphering the real reason
For all the rhetoric of “love the skin you’re in” and the like, if you can afford a procedure that will make you love it even more, than why the hell not? Sometimes we can’t love the skin we’re in and no amount of positive thinking will change that. What about the women whose bodies are changed by pregnancy, who just want to feel like themselves again? Is pregnancy not a justifiable excuse for a new set of labia?
If having a baby has just about ruined your sex life and body confidence, who is anybody to condemn that? I’m not saying that people should run to the surgeon for every little imperfection they observe in themselves – I could write a book of all the things that are wrong with my appearance – but if there is one thing that stands out, that makes somebody feel awful every single day and has a huge impact on their confidence and self-esteem, why the hell shouldn’t they be able to change that thing?
Having cosmetic surgery is no different to any other cosmetic procedure. Are we now going to condemn the women that get tattoos, saying that anything a woman does to change her body is somehow unfeminist? As a woman with multiple tattoos, piercings and hair that I’ve bleached the crap out of, surely I would be hypocritical to sit back and say that everything that I’ve done is okay but opting for plastic surgery isn’t?
See, that’s the thing. People tend to assume that if a person gets plastic surgery, then it must somehow be to impress a male, but not since second-wave feminism have we been of the opinion that a woman can’t wear a bit of lipstick of style her hair without being a victim of patriarchal oppression, and so why should plastic surgery be seen any differently? After all, it is, in essence, just another way of changing ones appearance with the intention of looking nicer.
Their own body
What’s more, when we begin to tell women what to do and what not to do with regards to her appearance, we begin to tread on very dangerous territory. The niqab debate, for example. While the jury is still out on whether or not women in the UK should be able to wear the niqab, thousands of outraged women have turned to the internet to vent, saying that banning a certain item of clothing under the pretext of “liberation” is anything but.
If I walk up to a woman on the street and tell her that she is not allowed to wear that skirt, or have that nose job, or wear her niqab, am I not doing exactly the opposite of everything that feminism stands for?
I consider myself to be a feminist. I care about women’s rights and hope that during my lifetime, I am able to campaign and change things for women all over the world. However, if I get rich and one day decide that a facelift or a little lipo would make me happier, then I’ll be damned if I don’t go for it!
Because surely, that is what a financially and socially independent woman would do? Surely we would not begrudge a woman a new pair of knockers if that was what she really wanted?
Plastic surgery is expensive, and permanent, and not without risk. Undergoing plastic surgery is not a decision to be made in haste and definitely should not be the first port of call for anybody experiencing a brief moment of insecurity.
Just like with a tattoo, it should be something that you are absolutely sure you want. However, as far as answering to feminism goes, a true feminist would do whatever the hell she liked with her own body, and anybody waiting to rip the feminist label off somebody who has undergone surgery—shame on you.
What do you think about plastic surgery? Good thing or bad thing? Have your say in the comments section below.