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??!!

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“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.