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Friday, October 5, 2007

The Seductive Pull of Plastic Surgery or Look At the Person Who Lives Behind Your Eyes

Rio de Janeiro
Plastic surgery is on the rise more than ever before. Everyone seems to be doing it, it's more affordable than ever, and any stigma it may have had in the past seems to be waning. Put your implants on your Visa card. Pay for your liposuction in three easy monthly installments. Get an easy pay loan for your laser treatment to get rid of that hair you shave off every day (both men and women are doing it) or do vaginal reconstructive surgery on a no-interest installment plan. Just make certain you look no older than 40, that you show no hair in inappropriate places, and that nothing droops. Isn't it amazing what can now be done with plastic surgery?

I've noticed an inordinate number of articles lately about the subject; articles that make my blood run cold because of the underlying issues. This is not just a question of women (and more and more men) wanting to look young and fit and healthy (as most of us do), but of human beings who are unable to look the spectre of aging in the face. You might ask: Why should I have to look it in the face if there are so many things I can do to avoid aging? and my first answer might be that if, in order to avoid it, you are nearly bankrupt, or you've headed well into the land of credit card debt, and if, in order to avoid it, you spend much of your free time doing things that ensure your somewhat younger looks than your biological age might warrant, then perhaps your quest of eternal youth is bringing a great lack of balance into your life. And then I might say that the same quest is keeping you from something much more important, which is the quest of the inner you, that you probably have no or little time - or inclination - to discover and become acquainted with. And that is just for starters.

What happens - if you start this quest at the tender age of 20, as some of the articles below indicate, and then continue stridently whenever necessary throughout the years - when you reach an age where it is simply no longer possible to hide the onset of time? How will you deal with this? How will you live with the aging self that you will eventually see in the mirror, if you have never given time to getting to know the one who lives behind your eyes?
Don't misunderstand: this is not a diatribe against plastic surgery. There are wonderful results to be derived from it. But the trend in our society seems to be, as evidenced by these articles, that we are no longer able to face aging. Here we are in the 21st Century, with so much more knowledge than ever before, with quantum physics and the new medicine telling us things that are absolutely mind-boggling (see also my March 2007 Newsletter: Create a New Life: One Intention at a Time and my May 2006 Newsletter: Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct), because we are being shown, more than ever before, that we could, indeed, play a much greater role in the changes that take place in our own bodies (literally: in our cells, in our DNA) in all senses of the word, if only we would bother to a) become informed, and b) use the information we get, and yet we appear to refuse to go down that road because that road that plastic surgery offers, appears - at first glance - to be so much easier, not to mention so much quicker.

I've excerpted some of the more interesting pieces I've seen recently below:

We are beginning to expect to see bodies that have been modified in significant ways, and we are less surprised by bodies that look explicitly manufactured," said Dr. Victoria Pitts-Taylor, associate professor of sociology at City University of New York and author of Surgery Junkies: Wellness and Pathology in Cosmetic Culture. According to Pitts-Taylor, over the past twenty odd years, Western notions of beauty have made a decisive shift toward a new "technological aesthetic." read more

Dr. David Stoker, a plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif., has a surgical cure for the ravages of motherhood. He, like many plastic surgeons nationwide, calls it a “mommy makeover.”

Aimed at mothers, it usually involves a trifecta: a breast lift with or without breast implants, a tummy tuck and some liposuction. The procedures are intended to hoist slackened skin as well as reduce stretch marks and pregnancy fat. read more

In the back pages of New York magazine last month, among the promotions for mini face-lifts, were two advertisements for cosmetic surgery of the genitalia.

One ad, headlined “Feminine Reconstructive Surgery,” promotes “postpartum recontouring.” Another ad, offering “labioplasty” to reduce the labia and “vaginoplasty” to tighten the vagina, promises an improvement in “sexual satisfaction, cosmetic appearance, and self-esteem.” read more.

Another article comments on that one:

Just how big is the vaginal surgery trend? The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has downplayed the popularity of these procedures as media hype that began in large part after an article appeared in The New York Times in 2004. I checked with the society for the latest numbers, and only 1,030 women had so-called vaginal rejuvenation in 2006. That was a 30 percent increase from the year earlier, but only a small fraction of the 1.2 million procedures performed by plastic surgeons that year. There were also 3,369 buttock lifts and 639 buttock implants. read more

The death of a Toronto real estate agent following a liposuction operation at a clinic is raising concerns about doctors who perform cosmetic surgery despite the fact they are not plastic surgeons. read more

Click here (on this blog) for more posts about conscious aging.
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