Do mental health issues drive women to cosmetic surgery?

  • MakenzieR
  • Seattle, WA
  • 2 years ago

I read this article about how breast implants are just one big science experiment on female bodies. What really got me though, was this statement:

As the researchers conclude: "A series of mental health symptoms predict cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery does not in turn seem to alleviate such mental health problems." 

Personally, I thought that was a load of hooey and posted this response:

I have been a stable, healthy, happy individual for all my life. Those who know me know I'm happy, outgoing, and not short of self-confidence.

I am appalled that an article like this would run stating these "findings" as fact and present no alternative argument. I got breast implants because I love my body, but there was one part of it that I always wished was different. I knew there was an option out there to do something about it, I did my research for years, and finally decided to make the change.

I'm really curious what others think? Read the article and let's have a discussion here. 

Comments (10)

I think BA and cosmetic surgery is a wonderful tool for recovery, particularly for those that have been scared, disfigured etc in some way.
However as we are constantly bombarded with images of beauty standards, I feel as a rule this industry does prey on women's insecurities. Women's bodies, particularly white women, are used to sale everything from motor oil, tooth paste, guns, cars etc.
Something is going on....have you noticed the increase in drugs to treat a variety of mental illnesses lately? As a minority woman whose beauty standards were largely ignored, it's interesting to see how the standards have shifted from Pam Anderson's body type to that of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. Instead of big boobs, the desire is to have full lips and a big butt.
It seems as though the plastic surgeon all have the same areola template. So by the time a woman goes in for surgery she has had years of indoctrination.
In a matter of a few short years we are bringing home the bacon, frying it up in a pan, sexing our men, and fighting back the signs of aging by freezing our facial expressions. Men don't chase these fictionalized standards and to be honest once the clothes are off it doesn't matter what your body looks like as they will get with anybody!
I've seen tons of beautiful breast on this sight alone become "fixed" to fit in with someone's ideal.
I think with the right motive it's a wonderful tool. I have a horrible classical/vertical c section scar that I would love to have repaired...or even a subtle lift after I complete my weight loss. If I didn't have the scar I probably could deal with the post baby belly with exercise....
All this being said I'm not against cosmetic surgery when it enhances as oppose to overwhelms a person's looks.
Have you every ran into a complete stranger and checked off the procedures they've had done?
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Sorry for the typos.
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I grew up with a lot of exposure to British culture and so I've come across a mentality such as this author’s more often than I cared to. It is so steeped in socialistic premises (e.g., that such activities are to be barely tolerated by the government if at all) that it requires much clean-up so as to map it back to liberty-based, individual-based reasoning, which is where individual A (patient) chooses to spend her own money paying individual B (doctor) to get a procedure performed, and by which it's fundamentally a transaction between them, with each of them being 100% within their rights and nobody having any right to stop them. Whether the rest of society approves is irrelevant.

One hopes that the patient is making an informed decision but then again, people are always free to make bad decisions (such as choosing a lousy doctor, or a flawed idea set, such as the author of that article did).

As long as nobody else's rights are violated in the process, one is also totally within one's own rights to act on one's bad ideas (whether it's getting breast implants from a lousy doctor, or writing a negative article in a British magazine).

Choosing to spend one’s own money on breast implants for oneself is something that is fundamentally within one’s rights to do. Of course it should be fundamentally legal, but there’s more to it: it is also ethically a good use of one’s money if the value attained is more than the price paid, just as when paying for a good haircut or good dental care. Life properly involves the pursuit of one’s own happiness, which means: the pursuit of one’s own values: rationally chosen, internally consistent, long-range-integrated-with-short-range values. If there is value in having a more curvy figure, then it is a good and proper thing to pursue. I’m all for rational self-interest. It is the only logically defensible set of ethics I’ve found.

If you’re still personally struggling with the personal ethics of getting breast implants and you’re trapped within a personal or family sub-culture of general disapproval, it might be highly empowering to first go empower yourself by buying and reading “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Virtue of Selfishness,” both by Ayn Rand. After that, you should have no doubt that your life belongs to you and that the right thing to do is to live it, ideally with the sort of benevolence that characterizes this website.

* * *

However, there's more confusion in the British article to unravel. How we deal with it is crucially important. It involves the burden of proof. To paraphrase Dr. Leonard Peikoff, there either is or isn't a Coca-Cola factory on Mars. I have no absolute, conclusive proof either way. But, the better logic is to work on the assumption that there is no such factory until someone has proven that there is one.

Similarly, the better logic is to work on the assumption that there is no causal link between breast implants and mental health issues until someone has proven that there is one, and by proof I mean “scientific proof” -- not a few loose notions such as offered in the British article.

It might be tempting, out of a simple sense of justice, to go oppose the notions such as uttered in the British article, but that gives the author more credence than he deserves. He has made only vague references and has done nothing to actually substantiate his points. Until he has substantiated what he said, then cognitively, it's like nothing has been said. It’s just someone’s opinion -- evidently, someone with an ax to grind.

The phrase "do I even need to dignify these accusations with a reply" fits well here.

But, just for the sake of example, let’s dig a bit deeper. One key point is that correlation isn't the same as causality.

As an example: every time I was involved in a violent crime in Los Angeles, the criminal was a white male in his 30s or so. That's a clear correlation. As to causality, it means ... nothing. I could make lots of meaningless social commentary based on this correlation, but it'd be pointless -- not worthy of even being refuted.

On a personal note: I'm bisexual and I used to date a sweet and lovely pole dancer lady who was going through a difficult time. In spite of my general encouragement and friendship, she started having some serious self-confidence issues. Her revenue as a dancer reflected that, and plummeted. She planned to get breast enlargements and the decision seemed to have a tone of panic. I believe that she would have been doing that for unhealthy reasons, and I’m guessing that the downward slide as to her self-confidence would have continued regardless.

Even though I have seen such a situation at close range, it still proves nothing as to the mental health or self-confidence of anyone else making such a decision.
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"although augmentation patients are happier with their body shape, their self-esteem does not increase by anywhere near the same amount." If a woman is getting implants to boost her self esteem I can definitely see how this statement is true. Makenzie, I agree with your statement about loving yourself FIRST, then wanting implants. Low self-esteem can be repaired in many different ways. I do not think that changing the body is on the top of that list. It may help, but self esteem is something to be dealt with on the inside, not on the outside. Because I deal with some mental-health issues myself, I have dug deep inside myself to make absolutely sure I'm getting implants for the right reason. I know that any self-esteem issues I have, or could have in the future, will not be corrected by my BA. My PS is a surgeon, not a psychologist. That being said, there is a big difference between confidence and self- esteem. EVERYONE has certain things that help them feel more confident. It doesn't make us all cracked in the head. As for the experimentation angle, what?! That's so far out there it doesn't even deserve my thoughts on it. Procedures aren't invented out of the blue, there has to be a need first or it would be a waste of time.
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Thanks for your open and honest response, LL.

You make an excellent point about the difference between confidence and self-esteem.

Now that I think about it, I've always had high self-esteem because I like(d) who I was/am on the inside, but did NOT always have confidence (I was overweight and unattractive in most of my youth and adolescence). The way I felt about my outward appearance made it difficult to be confident even though I loved myself internally. It wasn't until I really realized that others valued what I had to offer, too, that I felt truly confident to show it off more (and I don't mean physically). 



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This is such a great topic. Thanks for bringing it up. Women should love themselves no matter what! We are all very beautiful in our own unique and special way. I like to think my BA is like putting icing on an already fantastic cake!!
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Wow really? Well I had my surgery October 20. I am an educated, 40 year old, happily married to a wonderful man, self confident, loving mother. I decided to have BA for ME. I workout 4 to 5 days a week and overall happy with ME. However, I always wanted breast. I now have them, I love them, and I continue on with my happy life. Could there be women out there that may have self esteem issue and think breast will the fix... maybe. I cannot speak to that as I am not one of them. All I know is that I had my surgery for ME. I like MeKenzie (as she stated) am happy, outgoing and not short of self-confidence.
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I am glad others see the holes in this as I did, but also curious to see if anyone ends up agreeing with him... I'm open to hearing all thoughts! 

And Go You, Hyatts! I hope women like us can take the forefront and show people that being slutty or having low self-esteem are NOT pre-requisites for breast implants or any cosmetic procedure. 

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In fact I love myself so much that I wanted to give myself a gift that I knew would make me even happier :)

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This article presents a bias point of view. There are many healthy women who get cosmetic surgery and there are normal people who have anxiety too. I don't know, I just disagree with this article. To each his own. This wife/mom/stepmom/hospicenurse/awesomeperson, is buying herself some boobs.
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