Liposuction Sucks!

The San Francisco Chronicle recently published an article about the growing number of “mommies” turning to cosmetic surgery to get rid of unwanted fat, cellulite, and saggy breasts. I have so many comments, I don’t even know where to begin–but they all revolve around this narrow standard of beauty women feel pressured to live up to.

“Mommy Makeovers” used to be thought of as a new hairdo, some additions to the wardrobe, and perhaps a visit to the spa. Now it means cosmetic surgery??!!


“Many other Bay Area moms interviewed about their plastic surgeries said they did it for self-esteem rather than for their husbands or to compete with other women. These same women also are very reluctant to let anyone know they did it.”

As much as I want to believe that these women are undergoing cosmetic surgery of their own volition, I can’t help but wonder whether societal pressures to maintain youth-like beauty and taut skin influenced their decision-making process. According to the article, “More than 325,000 tummy tucks, breast augmentations and breast lifts were performed on women ages 20-39 in 2006. That’s an increase of about 11 percent from 2005, according to data released Thursday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.” How much of a “choice” is cosmetic surgery and how much of it is pressure from media?equalpay.jpg

One woman says that her procedure was the “cost of an economy car.” That’s what? $10,000? Women make 77 cents on a man’s dollar; our basic financial rights haven’t been met, yet the pressure to remain beautiful is prioritized over equal pay or equal rights in general. Why aren’t women pressured to focus on saving money or learning more about financial investments for future security? I wonder if our obsession with appearence is yet another way to keep women from gaining equality?

And how does this affect the children of these women, particularly her daughters? Do spouses encourage them? Or do they support their partners in whichever decision she makes?

How would it make you feel if your mother had cosmetic surgery? If she has, did that affect your thoughts about your own body?

— A.J.

8 thoughts on “Liposuction Sucks!

  1. I just wonder what that even means.

    “Many other Bay Area moms interviewed about their plastic surgeries said they did it for self-esteem rather than for their husbands or to compete with other women.”

    What are they basing thier self-esteem on? Clearly it isn’t on raising a kick ass kid. Self-esteem is how you regard yourself. But if you base how you regard yourself on how you think you appear to other people, then doing something based on self-esteem is the same thing as doing it for someone else.

    I don’t think you can really get high self-esteem by altering your body. You have to get it through accepting and loving your body and no amount of plastic surgery will give you that.

  2. The ‘for my own self-esteem’ thing is a distraction. Nobody ever said it was ‘for your/their husband’ or ‘to compete with other women’. Of course it is for self-esteem. That changes nothing. Society tells us (over and over and over) that women don’t look right (whatever they look like). Cosmetic surgery (as a profession) says that ‘we’ll make you look more right’. Many people are convinced. End of story. Or at least end of argument – the story is deep and complicated and full of deep hurt, spent money, wasted time, and ultimate failure.

  3. My mother has had plastic surgery.. She had breast implants done 35 years ago, after the birth of my youngest sister.. She had no boobs, and wanted boobs.. Then about 5 years ago she had to remove the origingal implants and have them replaced, due to silicone leaking.. She also had a full laser peel / surgery on her face 8 years ago.. people tell me my mother is so pretty, and that I look like her.. But what worries me, do I need to do that in order to also look “pretty” in 20 years? I am almost 39 years old now – mom with 2 boys ages 6 and 3. I have wrinkles, I have sun damaged skin, I have my original saggy boobs after 2 pregnancies and nursing.. I am resisting the go to response of some mommies to get these flaws “fixed” because it just scares the crap out of me.. I want to look like i have lived – I want to look like myself.. I dont want my boobs cut open!

  4. So what we know is that the pressure on women to have plastic surgery is both huge and increasing. Guess what – the money to be made from it is both huge and increasing. I know which of these things I think is leading the other – money first, pressure second.

    But…think of how we find the messages to buy silly things powerful – new mobile (cell) phones for example. The message that a new phone will make our life perfect is hard to resist – or if you don’t go for mobile phones, perhaps it’s the message that a particular drink will be good for you that gets you. And the mobile phone/drink advertisement isn’t even backed up by years of myths and lies.

    The thing is – it isn’t true. The message is very very powerful and it can feel like it is the truth, but it’s entirely false. Buying a new mobile doesn’t make life better. Drinking a new drink doesn’t make us better people. Cosmetic surgery no more makes life better than does a new mobile.

    Of course, increasing your confidence can make life much better – but there are much more effective ways of achieving this than pointless (and often ugly) surgery.

  5. My mother had liposuction on her butt and thighs 20 years ago. The surgery was horrendously painful for her, and altered her body shape from a pear to an apple.

    I’m still a pear, and it looks as if my daughter is, too. I wear clothes that enhance my big butt, and I do so because I love the shape of my body as it is. You will never catch me wearing “butt cover.”

    I breast fed my daughter for almost 4 years. My breasts are non-symetrical and very well used (notice, I didn’t say “saggy”). I think I am beautful. But better than that – I am free.

    It takes character to develop self esteem – not surgery.
    So let’s start with having the character to call cosmetic surgery what it is: a socially acceptable form of self-mutilation.

  6. It’s kinda sad. maybe this is caused by
    (or connected to) the lack of respect that the elderly recieve from our media. maybe it’s just me, but pretty much every senior woman I’ve seen on TV lately has been either cranky or insane. unlike in other cultures, where growing old is a sign of good fortune and wisdom, here it is a necessary evil, something feared in our futures. Are we so scared of letting go of our “primes” that we can’t appreciate the beauty of a wrinkled face, a rounded lap? And it makes perfect sense that the ads we see and the shows we watch reinforce these fears. we are becoming terrified, insecure and unhappy. and cosmetics companies, sunscreen companies, liposuction and cosmetic surgerie corperations? they’re getting rich.

  7. My mom got a nose job shortly after I was born, and now her nose is perfectly small and straight. My sister and I, however, both bear that same exact larger, curved nose that she had “fixed.” As a girl, I asked my mother why she got a nose job and she told me that when I was born she just couldn’t stand how “huge” her nose looked in photos, especially next to me, her newborn daughter. I was confused: She was comparing her nose with a newborn’s?

    Now her daughters are in their early twenties. We spent our teenage years hating our noses and wondering if rhinoplasty was “in store for us” (as though it were a medical need). Fortunately, we’ve come to accept our noses as they are and swear that we will never change them. For me especially, I never want my own daughter to think that her nose is anything but perfectly fine as is.

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